Car ownership

Expert advice: how to de-ice your car safely

De-icing a car is something we all have to do at some point in the year. Although it sounds simple and should be relatively straightforward there are still some dos and don’ts. Here are some top tips to make sure you can de-ice your car and get going, even in the toughest conditions.

How to de-ice your car

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Cheap running costs and reliability – why electric car sales are booming

Sales of new electric cars are rising in the UK (Picture iStock/SvenLoeffler)

Electric car sales are booming in the UK. New figures reveal that in the first 10 months of 2020, purchases of new battery-powered motors were up by 195 per cent in the UK on the same period the year before. As well as an ever-expanding choice, much of it is down to a growing number of car buyers waking up to the benefits of electric motoring.

Rather than just being easier and cheaper to fuel – power for electric cars costs about a third of conventional fuels – electric cars are also cheaper to run. Here we look at why they cost so much less than internal combustion models.

Why are electric cars more reliable?

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Mobile phone laws for drivers to change making touching devices illegal

mobile phone laws
Loopholes in the law that let drivers use smartphones will be closed in 2021 (Picture iStock/Mthipsorn)

The government is planning to change mobile phone laws for drivers in the first few months of 2021. It wants to close loopholes in the law. These enable drivers to use their devices at the wheel in ways that might be as dangerous as making a call.

The gaps have come about as phone technology has become more sophisticated with smartphones. To plug the loopholes, the government wants to make it illegal for drivers to touch their phone.

What will the new mobile phone law say?

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Catalytic converter theft Why it’s on the rise and are you at risk?

catalytic converter
Car catalytic converters can be stolen for the precious metals they contain (Picture iStock/BanksPhoto)

The Catalytic converter or ‘cat’ is a standard part of every modern car’s exhaust system. It helps to reduce harmful pollutants in the engine’s fumes. But thefts of catalytic converters are increasing dramatically.

In 2019, reported thefts of cats rose to 13,000 throughout England and Wales – up six times on the previous year. It’s not cheap to put right either. Replacement catalytic converters cost anywhere between £500 and £2500, depending on the car. Read on to find out if you could be at risk.

What is a catalytic converter?

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Expert advice: prepare your car for cold weather this winter

prepare your car for cold weather
Give your battery some TLC before winter sets in and it’ll pay you back in spades (Picture iStock/JoeBelanger)

Summer is well and truly over and it’s sensible to prepare your car for cold weather. If you can, the best way to get your car ready for winter is to take it in for a service. But if your scheduled service isn’t due, here are five very simple tips that should ensure your car won’t let you down when the going gets cold.

Why your battery needs some love

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Insurance premiums may fall in 2021 but fraud is up this year, drivers warned

insurance premiums
Fraudulent crashes seem to be increasing before the government clamps down on whiplash fraud (Picture: iStock/Monkeybusinessimages)

The good news for car drivers is insurance premiums could fall next year. The bad news is this year, the risk of being a victim of insurance fraud could increase. And drivers should be aware they’re being targeted in another scam called ‘click to call’. Read on to find out how motor insurance fraud is changing.

Why may insurance premiums fall?

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2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars. What will it really mean?

ban on new petrol and diesel cars
This is likely to become a completely normal sight on urban roads in the UK (Picture iStock/Phaustov)

The UK government is believed to be ready to say it wants a sales ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2030. This sales ban will include hybrid cars and bring the proposed changes forwards by 10 years.

The government may even consider lowering tax on electric cars after an independent study recently found that ‘some form of financial support to make it easier to afford’ an electric vehicle would be effective and popular.

But assuming this ban does go ahead in 2030, what will it mean to the millions of ordinary drivers out there? We investigate.

How will the ban work?

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Self-driving cars on UK roads in 2021. What’s the latest?

self-driving cars
Drivers could let their cars take the strain as soon as 2021 (Picture iStock/Scharffsinn86)

Not bothering learning to drive because a self-driving car will do the work for you? Looking forward to checking social media on your smartphone or messaging your mates legally while at the wheel?

The time when you’ll be able to do both these is edging nearer but there’s still some way to go. Read on to find out where the UK is at now with autonomous or self-driving cars.

Is the law on self-driving cars changing?

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Taking your car to uni? Read our handy advice for student drivers

student drivers
Every driver should regularly check the oil in their car (Picture iStock/stock-eye)

More than half of younger student drivers are planning to take their car to university this year, research by Green Flag found. The study revealed that 54 per cent of 18-24 year old students hope to have their car with them when the 2020 academic year starts.

If you’re one of those student drivers, there’s plenty to consider. From the type of car you choose, to how you look after it and what you tell your insurer, we investigate what you need to know.

Buy a car that’s cheap to run

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Learning to drive, booking and taking a test: what’s changed

learning to drive
Wearing masks is compulsory for instructors and examiners; it’s also recommended for learner drivers (Picture iStock/Brankokosteski)

If your learning to drive was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ll be relieved to hear things are getting back to normal.

Driving lessons have been held again since the beginning of July. Learners who feel they’re ready have been able to book a test since August 26. However, reserving a test slot has proved difficult because of technical difficulties with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) website. Read on to find out more about learning to drive and taking the test.

If you’re learning to drive

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