While COVID-19 vaccinations are generally very welcome, one of the less pleasing side-effects is likely to be an increase in the price of fuel.
But if the price at the pumps does go up, you can offset some of it by watching how you drive, how you look after your car and where you fill up. Here we look at six simple steps that will save fuel and therefore money.
A new report reveals that the time could be right for drivers to start buying electric cars. Currently, sales of battery powered motors are tiny compared with conventionally fuelled vehicles. That will eventually change with the government demanding all new cars sold from 2040 are electric. But drivers who switch now could reap significant rewards immediately.
Emergency stops can be frightening enough without having dodgy brakes too (Picture iStock/RapidEye)
Braking and brake pads are vitally important when it comes to road safety. We’re frequently so consumed with how fast cars can go or the economy they return that we forget how important stopping is. And anyone who’s had any kind of brake failure will testify to what a terrifying experience it can be.
But some recent research revealed that the confusing way garages measure brake pads isn’t helping. It could mean drivers are leaving it too long to have their pads changed. Or they might even be changing them too soon, without getting the full amount of wear out of them.
If you’re not sure about repairs, ask the technician to point them out to you. (Picture iStock/Sturti)
Has a garage recently suggested you need new brake fluid, an anti-freeze drain and refill or a fuel and oil flush? If so, how do you know whether it had to be done or was unnecessary work? Research by Green Flag has revealed that UK drivers spend £3.4billion every year on work by garages to their cars that doesn’t need doing. That’s around £90 per car per annum.
The problem stems from drivers not having the knowledge about their cars to question whether work recommended by garages is really required. More than a third of drivers (39 per cent) say they have no idea what’s checked when their car has its annual MOT roadworthiness check. But this is when garages often say jobs need doing.
Read on to discover which 10 jobs Green Flag believes should ring alarm bells if they’re suggested by a garage. And find handy hints on how to check whether the work really should be done.
They might both be talking English but does what he’s saying make sense? (Picture: iStock/photo_concepts)
Every industry has its own language; jargon that only the people working in the business understand. The car industry is no different. We’ve all had a mechanic take one look at our car, shake their head, suck air through their teeth and mutter something using words that might as well be in another language.
The result is people don’t trust garages. One study found that nearly half of drivers think technicians hiding behind confusing car jargon have ripped them off. According to property company Pentific, mechanics rank alongside politicians, car sales execs, journalists, estate agents and builders for being untrustworthy. But you need never be baffled again. Here we explain six pieces of commonly-used car jargon.
Companies that fill you up at home are a frequent sight in the US. Now you can do it in the UK too (Picture Booster)
Drivers of electric cars know all about the convenience of home refuelling. Now, going out of their way to stand on a blustery garage forecourt could become a thing of the past for drivers of diesel cars.
Currently one of the big benefits electric cars have is that drivers with home or workplace charging never need to visit a fuel station. But a new service is promising the same feature for drivers of conventionally fuelled motors. It currently operates in London where its bosses claim it saves drivers 100 hours a month by taking away the need to go to a filling station.
Do you know your catalytic converter from air-con compressor and your spark plugs from your shock absorbers? You don’t have to be a mechanic to know the most basic car parts. But if you give a motor more than a cursory glance over, which components can you identify? Take our cunning quiz to find out how much you really know.
How old is your car? If it’s getting on for the best part of 10-years old, don’t feel any shame in not keeping up with the Joneses: the average age of motors on UK roads is rising.
The typical vehicle is now 8.1 years, the oldest since 2000. The figures for all cars and light vans licensed in 2017 suggest that more drivers and businesses are holding on to their vehicle to help make ends meet.
Analysis by The Times shows that over the past two decades, the proportion of the very oldest cars on Britain’s roads – those more than 13-years old – has almost tripled in the last two decades.
So what’s causing more drivers to keep their car for longer?
We all know running a car is an expensive business. But exactly how costly is it? Over an average driver’s lifetime, do you think motoring will cost tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of pounds?
Now we’ve got some answers. Two lots of research have come up with figures. While neither agrees with the other, both concur: running a car is more costly than many of us think. According to finance company MyJar, people will start forking out for motoring aged 17 and go on until they’re 80. MoneySuperMarket meanwhile looks at the cost over a car’s lifetime. Read on to find out what they think you’ll spend.
There are certain car faults you associate with cold weather and brake trouble probably isn’t one of them. But in the recent spell of extreme cold weather Green Flag saw a dramatic increase in call outs to do with braking systems.
The number of cars experiencing calliper problems increased by 52 per cent. And drivers having trouble with handbrake cables was up by 77 per cent. Read on to find out how brake faults happen and what you can do to rectify them.
Back in the day, oil was oil. It came out of the ground and as long as it was the right viscosity for the engine, we’d trust it to do the job. Now there are effectively three kinds of oil: mineral, synthetic and semi-synthetic. And I’m frequently asked: “Should I use synthetic oil for my car?”
There are no end of motoring myths. Most drivers will know at least a handful: sometimes they’re true, but often they’re stories that need to be shown the red light.
From the speed limit on a dual carriageway, to sounding a car’s horn in the small hours of the morning, driving in flip-flops to using an egg to repair an engine’s radiator, they can seem as confusing as the Spaghetti Junction.
To help sort the facts from fiction, we’ve pulled together 10 tricky questions for a motoring myths quiz. Which is driving delusion and which is as factual as the Highway Code?
If there were no emissions standards, pollution would still be this bad
Whether you’re looking to buy a new car or you’re working out where you can use your existing model, it won’t be long before you have to know its emissions standard.
This will tell you whether you have to pay the Toxicity Charge before driving into central London. It is also useful for knowing whether you can take advantage of one of the many car maker scrappage schemes around. And it’ll even help you convince the doubting Thomas next door that your new diesel could well be cleaner than their old petrol.
Read on to find out more about emissions standards and how you tell what your car’s is.
Dealing with complaints for an entire year probably won’t seem like anyone’s idea of a good time. But that is exactly what the Motor Ombudsman was set up for. And after a year of resolving disputes between drivers and garages, the organisation says complaints remain high.
Founded last November, the Motor Ombudsman is a voluntary and fully impartial private sector organisation to regulate the motor industry. With a code of practice set out by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, it offers drivers a free dispute resolution service. This covers areas including car sales, servicing, repair, and warranty problems. Read on to find out what’s been driving motorists round the bend in 2017.
By 2040 the government expects all new cars on sale in Britain to be either electric or hybrid. But drivers who want to embrace these cars for their low emissions had better prepare themselves for an electric shock with a difference: high insurance bills.
A study of electric cars currently on sale has shown that drivers who want to ‘go green’ will have to pay 45 per cent more for insurance than the average motorist.
It means the rising number of drivers buying electric cars could see any potential savings, such as lower ‘fuel’ bills, wiped out by costly cover. So far this year, sales of electric vehicles (EVs) have risen by 37 per cent over 2016. Here’s what drivers need to know before switching to an electric car.
Next year the UK government is planning to bring in MOT changes. The tweaks to the annual vehicle roadworthiness test have been designed to make life easier for drivers preserving historically interesting ‘classic’ cars.
But critics say they will increase the number of unsafe cars on the country’s roads. Further changes are afoot too. The Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is currently considering the results of a consultation paper on the age that cars first take their MOT. Read on to find out more about the changes.
Going off to college can be a great adventure. Our tips will help ensure your car doesn’t spoil it
I’m sure there are some exceptions to every rule, but I’ve never yet met a student who’s rolling in money. And running a car that keeps on conking out can be like having a hole in your pocket. The key with cars is prevention rather than cure. Keeping on top of regular maintenance will prevent all manner of mechanical mishaps.
But more than that, a regular maintenance routine will actually help save you money. Tyres that are properly inflated don’t wear out as quickly and mean your motor won’t use as much fuel. And having the oil and filters changed when the maker suggests will guarantee your car performs as economically as possible. Read on to see my top car care tips.
New tech is designed to let mechanics show you what needs fixing without you being there
A virtual revolution is taking place in the UK’s garages with video becoming a workshop must have. Garages film what needs repairing. They can then show this to customers and seek approval before doing the work. The idea is to give car owners more control over repairs and reassure them that they’re not being ripped off. Here’s how it works.
Why video technology is needed
For most drivers, the dodgy reputation garages have is a worry. Recent research by online garage booking service BookMyGarage found that three quarters (74 per cent) of drivers felt hidden costs or paying too much for extra work were the biggest concerns when taking their car to a garage for its regular service. Drivers fear that unscrupulous operators can use superior mechanical knowledge to bamboozle them into repairs that don’t need doing. Continue reading →
No matter what shape and size, or how cheap or expensive the brand, every car needs to be maintained according to a service schedule that is set out by the vehicle manufacturer.
Often, however, the paperwork associated with the servicing of a car can be missing. That can be for all sorts of legitimate reasons, such as losing it during a house move or being mislaid by an elderly relative who is no longer driving.
Thankfully, recovering a missing service record is possible – and pleasingly straightforward. But it’s important to understand the significance of a service record. Continue reading →
Most drivers appreciate the need to have their car serviced on a regular basis. They will follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended service intervals, or with modern digital systems, keep an eye on a display in the dashboard which counts down the miles or days until a car next needs servicing. But when the time comes to have the job done, how many of us shop around to save money and get the best standard of work?
The answer is probably not many. It’s all too easy to go with convenience, such as a local garage. And with younger cars, drivers are often swayed by sticking with franchised dealers.
However, the hourly labour rates that greatly influence how expensive a car’s servicing bill vary greatly.