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?”
I’ve already spoken about the grade of oil drivers should choose for their cars. But once you’ve decided on that, what are the benefits of synthetic oil?
What is synthetic oil?
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.
What are emissions standards?
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.
What is making people complain?
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.
Electric cars: are they more expensive to insure? Continue reading
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.
What are the changes to the MOT 2018?
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
A car’s service history is important but it could be missing for perfectly legitimate reasons (Picture © Mercedes)
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.