Car ownership

Valentine’s Day 2020: great gifts to show your car you care

valentine's day
Do you love your car as much as he does? (Picture iStock/HbrH)

How about giving your loved one something really special this Valentine’s Day? No, we’re not talking about a gift for your partner… We mean a present your trusty (hopefully) companion who’s by your side through thick and thin, come rain or shine.

The best gift you can possibly give a car is to have it serviced. But assuming you’ve already done that and a service isn’t due for a while, we’ve got some more ideas. Read on for six great gifts for your car. In some cases, they’ll pay it back for the sterling work it does on your behalf. Oh and some of them might just come in handy for you too.

New mats

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Drivers warned about using unofficial websites for motoring admin

unofficial websites
Unofficial websites can charge many times what the official sites cost for simple admin tasks (Picture iStock/Rowan Jordan)

Drivers who need to renew their driving licence, tax their car or even book driving tests might be paying way more than they have to because they’re using unofficial websites.

The government is warning drivers that these websites can charge many times the official cost. Even so, the companies running them are doing nothing wrong.

What are the unofficial websites?

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Expert advice: how to get more trouble-free miles from your motor

trouble-free motoring
We can’t guarantee this won’t happen to you but follow our tips and it’ll be a lot less likely (Picture: iStock/Ljubaphoto)

How many trouble-free miles has your car covered? And perhaps more importantly how many more is it good for? Records by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) show there are more high mileage Skoda Octavias in the UK than any other vehicle. That’s currently 1950 UK-registered Octavias with a valid MOT that have done more than quarter of a million miles.

But how do you get that many trouble-free miles out of your car? It certainly doesn’t happen by accident. Here are my tips.

Have your car serviced regularly

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Catalytic converter and premium car thefts help fuel spike in car crime

catalytic converter
If you know what you’re doing it’s easy to steal CATs from exhausts for their valuable metals (Picture iStock/BanksPhotos)

Drivers shouldn’t just be worried about having their car stolen. They’re actually more likely to have something pinched from their car. And that could include the catalytic converter.

Figures from London’s Metropolitan Police reveal that in the first six months of 2019, thefts of this component, which makes up a part of the exhaust system, were nearly double the same period in 2018. We investigate the problem and give tips on how you can avoid being a victim of car (and CAT) crime.

Why are catalytic converters stolen?

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Would you repair your car with second-hand parts? We reveal all

second-hand car parts
Engines can be remanufactured using a mix of existing and new parts (Picture iStock/Vladru)

Would you use recycled or second-hand parts on your car? Online auction platform eBay thinks more of us ought to in order to save the planet. And used parts will be cheaper and save us money too. But what are the risks? We investigate.

What are these second-hand parts?

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Expert advice: all about the airbags in your car

airbags
Airbags are designed to soften the impact for car occupants (Picture iStock/Therry)

One high tech feature of all modern cars that I never hope you see is the airbag. These are designed to inflate milliseconds after an impact and work with the seatbelts to prevent you hitting any hard surfaces in the car.

They can go wrong but thankfully it’s not something we see very often. But it’s still worth knowing a bit about airbags.

Which cars have airbags?

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New MOT test is tougher but more cars pass it

new mot test

The government revamped the MOT test in May 2018 to make it tougher. But its first year in operation has seen a significant decrease in the number of vehicles failing the annual test.

Under the previous rules, around four in 10 cars (about 40 per cent) that took their MOT every year failed it. However, the first year of the new tougher test saw only about one in three cars (33 per cent) declared unroadworthy by testers.

Millions of cars taken off the road

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Car recycling: find out what happens when your car is scrapped

Modern scrap yards don’t look much different to old ones. But they must recycle extensively. (Picture Honda)

Thankfully, we’re becoming more aware of the impact the things we make and use have on the environment. And that includes what we drive. Car recycling is now a vital part of the motoring process. Here’s what it involves and the lengths the industry takes to recycle your car.

Goodbye scrap yard

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Expert advice: what you need to know about new exhaust emissions zones

These signs will be springing up around the country (Picture iStock/ChrisSteer)

Whatever you think about the government and local authorities clamping down on pollution with exhaust emissions zones, we can’t escape them. And as time goes by, restrictions are only going to become tougher. We’ve already heard of some customers being caught out and fined for driving in London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ). Read on to find out what you need to know.

What are exhaust emissions?

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