Car ownership

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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Car crime: where your motor’s at risk and which cars are in danger

Car crime is still a real problem in the UK (Picture iStock/D-Keine)

Car theft has risen by a half over the last five years. That means every nine minutes in 2019 a car was stolen in the UK, official figures say. One organisation even estimates vehicle-related crime costs the UK £2.7m per day. But which models were most sought after by thieves? And where should you park if you don’t want your car to be stolen? Read on to find out.

Where are the UK’s car theft hotspots?

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Expert advice: how to tell if your car has suspension trouble

suspension trouble
Car suspension is complicated and hard-wearing (Picture iStock/kvsan)

The suspension on our cars is a very hard-working piece of kit. And it’s one we take for granted – until we experience suspension trouble. While we’re driving forwards, the suspension is constantly in motion too, coping with undulations in the road surface and other forces on the car.

It’s the suspension that keeps the car’s road wheels in touch with the ground when we go round corners. And it’s the suspension that helps to insulate the driver and passengers from the outside.

Unsurprisingly with something that’s so busy, cars can suffer suspension trouble. And the number of potholes on our roads seem to be making suspension trouble more likely. Read on to discover how to diagnose it.

Signs of suspension damage

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Car washing in hot weather: our dos and don’ts for the best results

car washing in hot weather
Try to wash your car one panel at a time when the weather’s hot (Picture iStock/rclassenlayouts)

Car washing in hot weather, or even on a warm sunny day for that matter, can become a long, drawn out and frustrating process. Even sunshine on a relatively cool day can cause trouble when you want to clean your car.

Cars heat up astonishingly quickly in the sun. According to researchers at Stanford University in the US, on a day when the temperature is just 20 degrees C, a car’s interior will get to 38.9 degrees C within 30 minutes. If the outside temperature is 24 degrees C, it will reach 42.9 degrees C in 30 minutes.

The car’s mainly metal bodywork soaks up heat just as effectively, causing water to evaporate quickly as soon as it’s spread over your motor. The result will leave a dirty tide mark of combined shampoo and dirt. And when you do manage to rinse that off, it’ll dry quickly again, leaving spots on your paintwork from impurities in the water.

How to wash a car on a hot day

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Have you given away your personal data when selling your car?

personal data
Cars are increasingly data hubs. But how do you keep control of personal info? (Picture iStock/oonal)

Modern motors are technical marvels that are more than capable of storing our personal data. And new research has revealed that when they sell their car, thousands of drivers are giving away potentially delicate information such as friends’ and relatives’ names and addresses. Read on to find out if you’re in danger of doing that or have perhaps already done it.

How do cars store personal data?

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