Buying a car can be a large investment so making sure you get it right and keep good care of it is vital. A lot of the time the reasoning behind a car not lasting as long as it should is due to the care the owner takes. Following these simple tips will help increase its lifespan.
1. Drive Carefully and smoothly
Accelerating and slowing down on a regular basis can have a negative impact on your car. Different driving conditions can damage your car if you do not change the way you drive in a bid to adapt to these conditions. Make sure you try and stay at a regular speed for most of the journey with no sudden inclines or declines in speed.
2. Keep on top of things
Making sure you know when you car needs serviced, the last time the oil was checked and when you last changed your tyres will all help. Never leave it to the last minute, get your car checked regularly and ensure that its never left to just before the MOT.
3. If you’re not a mechanic do not try fix it.
Videos on the internet will not make you a professional mechanic. If you think there is a problem with your car then take it to a professional. Trying to fix it yourself will only make it worse and cost you more money. Taking it to a repair shop means that you will know exactly what is wrong with the car and you can be sure that it will be dealt with properly.
4. Park in a garage or shaded area
Fading in colour and cracking paint can be caused from changing weather conditions. Keeping your car parked inside a garage, in a sheltered area or under a protective cover will keep your car looking aesthetically pleasing for longer.
5. Check your tyres
Make sure your tyres are aligned, balanced and have not worn way. The weight of the car differs at each point of the car meaning that each tyre needs different support. Making sure your tyres have correct alignment means that your tyres will last longer, handle better and driver smoother.
Whether you are a small two man garage or a huge multinational chain, the image that you project is incredibly important. But what if your branding is considered dull, uninspiring or just plain forgotten about. In the automotive world, one sure fire way to inject a bit of excitement in to your marque is to go racing!
There was a time when Subaru was largely unknown in the UK, considered an obscure Japanese brand loved by farmers for their rugged 4×4 estates. Then they went rallying, and the brand was reborn. Thanks to their bold paint scheme and even bolder driving thanks to the sideways heroics of legendary drivers like Colin McRae and Richard Burns, the Subaru Impreza became the dream car for teenage boys everywhere. And whilst they might have retired the Impreza in the UK, just the name Subaru still conjours up images of a bright blue saloon sitting on gold wheels and sporting a large rear wing. Preferably covered in mud.
Volvo is a brand that has long traded on it’s safety. So quite what made them think that competing in the panel banging world of touring car racing would be a good idea is something of a mystery. Even more suprising was that they decided to race an estate car. Although it was a marketing gimmick, it paid off and the 850 estate was surprisingly successful in the British Touring Car Championship. Coupled with the fire spitting 850 T5 sitting in their dealerships, which could hit 60 in 6s and go on to 145mph, impressive performance in the 90s, Volvo suddenly became a brand with a bit of edge. After a couple of years in the BTCC, they retired the programme, but have had recent success in both the Swedish Touring Car Championship and the Australian V8 Supercar Championship with their new Polestar model.
When Seat first started selling cars in the UK, they were cheap stripped down versions of Fiats and the general public did pay particular attention to them. Through a committed motorsports program across rallying, touring cars, GT racing and supporting their on track action with the sporty models in the showroom, they have managed to turn the brand into a youthful exciting one. A successful one too, with multiple championship titles in the rallying and World Touring Cars, where they dominated for several years.
Sensible, affordable, reliable cars – Nissan have built a strong international brand on these values. But on the side, they were working on their Skyline brand. And 1989 R32 edition was a game changer. With the top of the line GTR model packing a then staggering 275bhp through it’s 4WD system, as well as a trick 4 wheel steering set up, it was a car well ahead of it’s time, and turned plenty of heads. With each subsequent iteration, the car has become faster and more complex, with the current model boasting an incredible 530bhp and a 0-60 time of just 2.9 seconds. Boasting incredible success on track and also featuring heavily in the Fast and the Furious film franchises, the Skyline has become an iconic Japanese muscle car and a firm fan favourite. Building on their increased popularity on track, Nissan teamed up with Sony and their hugely popular Gran Turismo game to launch the GT Academy, which takes top gamers and puts them behind the wheel of real race cars. The drivers have gone on to be incredibly successful, winning races around the world, and making Nissan a motorsport brand to be reckoned with. And then there is their crazy Deltawing race car…
Audi is one of the biggest car brands in the world, and their models are highly sought with our roads packed with their various models. This hasn’t always been the case. Despite having their roots in Auto Union, a dominant racing team from the 1930s, Audi’s were previously considered dull cars for quiet, conservative types. Like Subaru, their image was given a dramatic make over when they started to take their cars to play in the muddy world of rallying. Entering the 4 wheel drive turbocharged Quattro in to the WRC in 1980, it made an impact from the off, leading it’s first rally before retiring in an accident. The car continued to dominate, winning multiple titles and setting records as it went. In many peoples eyes, the Audi Quattro is the definitive rally car. Audi’s success has continued in other forms of Motorsport, from touring car racing, GT sports racing and their continued dominance in the world famous Le Mans 24 Hour where they have won the race an unprecedented 13 times in the last 16 years. In terms of public profile, it has lifted Audi to one of the biggest luxury brands on the market today.
1. Do you know what you’re looking for?
Make sure you have done your research before you go to the dealership. Ring ahead and book an appointment or enquire as to when the dealership is quiet to ensure you have the full attention of the salesperson.
Have as much information with you as possible, a new model of the car you’re after could be releasing a new model soon meaning you could push for more money off or wait until the new model is released.
2. Is it the correct time?
Sales targets for dealerships are usually at the end of the month, going around this time means that you will get a better deal around then. Also dependent on the time of year, if you are wanting to buy a convertible the best time to buy one is in the winter as dealerships are wanting to sell the cars to make way for new models.
3. Dont back down!
Stand your ground. Be sure you give off the right vibe to the salesperson, not to keen but not too cool. Let them know you want a car for a good deal.
4. Dont give anything away
Dont let them know how much you are willing to spend. You never want to spend the maximum budget you have, play your cards close to your chest and you’ll get a better deal.
5. Visit more than one
Visit a few dealerships for the best deal, shopping about means that you can compare prices and be sure that you have found the best deal. Being able to tell other dealerships what you have been quoted elsewhere means that they may want to beat it.
6. Get what you’re owed
Dont let your trade car go for less than its worth. If your going to buy a new car you need to make sure that you get the best deal on both your old and new purchase.
7. And as much free stuff as possible
Get more than the car. Getting a good deal is one thing however getting free car mats is another. If you don’t ask you will not receive. See what they can throw in for free, even if its just an extra air freshener at least you car will be fresher for longer.
8. Can you afford it?
If you think you can’t afford the car you can always consider finance. The dealership will usually help you with this, or you can go to your bank or high street loan companies.
9. Be able to say NO
Don’t feel pressure to buy the car if you don’t think you need it. if its not for you, walk away.
10. Safety is Key
Don’t buy the car just because its cheap. Safety, resistance and reliability are factors you may need to invest in. Buying a reliable car will benefit you in the future instead of saving you money on that particular purchase.
When enquiring or buying online, customers can be put off by the need to register as they feel like they are asked too many questions.
It was revealed through a survey conducted by digital payment expert Skrill, that 38% of people would not complete the process if a website asked for registration before being able to progress to the site.
This is not aimed at the motoring market however the research does mean that dealerships will need to review the strategy on their website and ensure that they are not driving customers away.
The first point of interaction between a dealership and a customer will usually be the website, so it needs to be customer friendly.
Further research from the survey showed that if a website was too slow or crashed, 43% of people left the site. 25 % of people would leave a website if they felt like it was not safe or secure. 32% did not like being asked too much information and a further 14% said that they left it all together if they realised that the website was not UK based.
Taking these into consideration it is essential for dealerships to ensure that their website is updated regularly and is a welcoming environment for browsers and customers.
Hyundai believe that customers would, as they plan to open a store where you can buy a car without consulting a sales person.
Opening in November the store is to “provide consumers with an all-encompassing online and in-store service that will allow them to research, test-drive, get a price for their old car, choose a payment option, purchase and service their new car all at the touch of a button without ever having to speak to a salesperson if they wish,”
However if you feel like you would prefer to speak to a member of staff ‘Rockar Angels’ will be there to help with any queries.
Hyundai and Rockar have partnered for the launch and they hope that this method of shopping for a car will offer more flexibility and convenience to fit with customers busy lifestyles.
President and chief of Hyundai Motor UK Tony Whitehorn, has said “Rockar Hyundai is a highly innovative and enticing addition to our existing dealer network. It offers the consumers an easy and flexible alternative to buying and owning a car without undermining the strength and infrastructure within our existing sales network. It is unprecedented in the UK automotive industry and is the shape of things to come.”
The concept was developed after research showed customers make 1.3 visits to a dealership before purchasing a car. A further 93% of all new car buyers conduct their research online and the only time they enter a dealership is to sign for and collect the car.
Rockar Hyundai will open their first store in Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.
This concept shows how important the enquiry process of the car purchasing process is, and when customers want to know information they will call to enquire.
Do you think this concept will be successful?
Around 234,000 cars have been recalled due to engine problems that can result in the cars bursting into flames.
The cars which were originally recalled by Vauxhall in December are thought by the manufacturer to have problems with the car’s blower motor resistor. In December, Vauxhall said it was taking “preventative action” after the recall, however with the problem persisting, the cars have been recalled again.
Vauxhall have released a statement regarding the problem;
“While the current action achieves the objective of returning vehicles to their original condition, after extensive investigations we have decided to go further and improve the overall robustness of the system. We will, therefore, be initiating a second recall to replace the current soldered fuse resistor with a wax fuse resistor so reducing the opportunity for manipulation.”When the recalls are complete, all vehicles will have a new wax fuse resistor, a new blower motor and a new moulding at the base of the windscreen to address water ingress.”
Vauxhall urges owners to bring the cars back to the local dealerships so they can carry out the repairs needed.
Unaware by many motorists that there is a Governmental boundary given to garages in regards to how much they can charge for MOTs, a lot of us may be paying over the odds. The maximum that any garage can charge for a car with up to 8 seats is £54.85.
The good news is that there is no minimum charge for MOTs meaning that you must shop around to ensure you find the best deal.
Research carried out by motoring.co.uk has showed that booking and buying your MOT service online can cost as little as £19 with Independent franchised dealers charging the maximum price.
- Online – £19, if bought with a full service
- High street auto – £20, if bought with a full service
- High street auto – £29.95, if bought without a full service
- Main dealer – £39
- Independent franchised dealers group – £54.85
Have a look at the maximum charges for each vehicle here.
One of the main inconveniences with the dreaded test are the results . To ensure you don’t endure further costs if your car fails have a look at a few things you can check yourself before putting your car in for its test.
First of all you should check your lighting system on your car:
- Headlights – check that low and high beam work
- Brake lights
- Left and right, front and rear indicators
- Driver’s side fog light
- Hazard and emergency lights
For the interior of your car, check the following:
- No tears or slices on seats
- All interior and exterior mirrors should be in perfect condition
The exterior of your car should meet the following:
- Doors should all shut correctly, including the boot
- There should be no rust or corrosion
- Should not be any rattles
- Suspension and Steering should be checked
- Emission levels must be 14
- Brakes should be checked with all cables fitted correctly
- Car must not pull to the left or right when the brakes are in use
- Tyres must be checked
- Windscreens should not have any cracks or chips that would obscure the view of the driver
- Wipers and washers should be in perfect working order
As October approaches we bid farewell to warm weather, longer evenings and the most important for drivers, the traditional paper tax disc. The disc will be replaced by an electronic system in a boost to streamline services and apparently save British businesses millions of pounds a year in administrative costs.
New rules mean that for drivers to be taxed on the road they will have to register their vehicle online and pay via direct debit or at the local post office.
If you don’t follow the new guidelines, that will be in place on the 1st of October 2014, your car will not be taxed. Number plate recognition cameras are in place to monitor each number plate on the road.
Saying farewell to the paper disc isn’t the only change that is being made. In the past if a used car is bought and there are still a few months left on the original tax purchase, the tax would be transferred over to the new driver. With the new system this will not happen, the buyer will have to register again and buy new tax to ensure the car is legal on the roads.
It is the sellers responsibility to inform the DVLA of the change in ownership. If this doesn’t happen they could face a fine of £1,000. To inform the DVLA of the change you can fill out a VSC form and send it to your nearest branch. The upside of the change will see the seller receive a refund for any full months left on their previously purchased tax.
The head of road policy at the AA, Paul Watters had this to say about the change, “This is a huge change and vehicle owners and drivers need to be aware of the rules. A driver, not registered owner, can be issued a non-endorsable fixed penalty for driving an untaxed car. An owner can be fined £80 for using an untaxed vehicle (one not registered off the road) and can be charged any back tax.”
Drivers are being told to check if their vehicle was taxed or SORN’d (declared off the road) before driving the car, to do this go here.