Aug 022018
 

Tips For New Drivers Buying A First CarBuying your first car is a rite of passage every driver remembers; that first exciting taste of true
independence.

Every first-time motorist wants something that expresses their personality and suits their needs, but that doesn’t mean your vehicle choice will be the most practical or easy to find within your budget.

To guide you through the complex world of car-buying, Warranty Direct has put together some advice on essential considerations for first-time buyers.

Consider running costs

Buying and running a car is expensive for anyone but especially so for new drivers, who will have to shell out for a suite of essentials all in one go. Look at your monthly income, consider your current outgoings and then plan what you can afford.

You need to account for unavoidable costs, such as car insurance, Tax, MOT, fuel and tyres. Services such as the Money Advice Service Car Costs Calculator can give you an average running cost of a car so you can see roughly if you’ll be able to afford the overall spend.

Insurance for first-time drivers can be expensive as you’re among the least experienced drivers on the road. To find out which cars have a low insurance rating, use online tools such as Money Supermarket’s car insurance group checker.

Think about how you use it

When weighing up your options, you need to see which car best matches your lifestyle.

Is it a simple A-B run-around you’re after? If so, you may want to think about getting a small car with an engine size of about 1L. Or will you need a vehicle for regular, long journeys? Then a car with good fuel economy and a slightly larger engine would be better, especially if you’ll be driving on motorways.

However, make sure to do your research as similar cars can often have very different insurance groups, which can increase overall costs.

New or Used?

Although initially more expensive, newer cars are normally more advanced in terms of safety, technology and fuel efficiency in comparison to older cars. This could save you money in the long-term.

While low-rate finance schemes with modest monthly payments have brought new cars within reach of younger people, you need to be sure you can keep up with the monthly payments as missing any can affect your credit rating and your car could be repossessed.

In addition, a new car can lose around 40% of its value in the first year, so you may be left out of pocket when you go to sell it later.

Used cars are cheaper initially and you could get more for your money, buying a top of the range older model for a similar price as a basic spec new car.

Safety Matters

Accidents do happen and one in four 18-24 year-olds crash within two years of passing their practical driving test, so picking a vehicle that’s both safe and practical is important.

Look out for characteristics such as light steering, a responsive engine and brakes and user-friendly controls. These will help all new drivers build confidence behind the wheel.

Once you have a vehicle shortlist, use tools such as our Reliability Index to see which are the most reliable. This will help you to avoid expensive maintenance issues further down the line.

Jul 312018
 

Road TripThe sun is finally here and what better way to celebrate than with a road trip through the beautiful British countryside?

To give you a taste of what the UK has to offer, Warranty Direct shares its top picks for a memorable road trip.

1. Slither through the Snake Pass in the Peak District

While most of the roads in the Peak District will give you spectacular views, the Snake Pass which crosses the Pennines and Ladybower Reservoir is an unmissable addition to your trip.

Expect roads winding up and down hills, rewarding you with magnificent sights of the National Trust’s High Peak Estate.

While you are here, take a break from the car and have an adventure up Kinder Scout, the highest mountain in the Peak District.

There’s a path from Snake Pass, starting at the Birchen Clough car park which involves a pretty woodland walk before the ascent, so don’t worry if you’re not up for climbing any great heights!

2. Watch out for dragons on the Welsh Black Mountain Pass

This epic mountain road will make you believe you could really see a dragon coming over the next hill.

The Brecon Beacons offer unrivalled views of the Tywi Valley and the kind of hairpin bends and switchbacks that a true petrol head could only dream of. Cross the dragon’s humps of Pont Aber, which lead onto Herbert’s Pass for more unsurpassable scenery.

Make the most of the mountain scenery and ride the Trails on the Black Mountains and experience the best mountain riding Wales has to offer with Tregoyd Mountain Riders.

3. Head for the Highlands

Step back in time with the 74km route from Fort William to Mallaig. Begin with Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest peak, then meander along to the whiskey distillery at Fort William to sample some of the Uisge Beatha, the ‘water of life’ (just make sure you draw straws to decide who the designated driver will be in advance of your trip!)

If you are a movie buff, then this is the area for you. Just to the west of Fort William, you will find the Glenfinnan Viaduct, made famous by Harry Potter films and Camusdarach Beach at Arisaig, the filming location of Local Hero.

Near the end of your Scottish road trip, get your fill of Loch Morar, the deepest freshwater lake in the UK to visit Nessie’s cousin, Morag.

4. Meander through the wild moors

One of the wildest areas of Britain, Dartmouth has long been the inspiration for some of the great literature of the country, from Arthur Conan Doyle to Michael Morpurgo.

Dartmoor offers a unique mix of rolling moorlands, rushing river valleys and fabulous wildlife, including the well-known wild horses.

To see the best Dartmoor has to offer, begin by driving from Torquay to historic Bovey Tracey and stop here for a coffee. After this, take the B3387 to Parke for stunning walks along the River Bovey.

Dartmouth is famous for its moors, so no road trip would be complete without a visit. Head to Widecombe in the Moor which is a must-see.

5. Ride from Glastonbury to Cheddar Gorge

Begin your trip on the outskirts of the infamous town of Glastonbury, with a visit to the tor over the lush, green mounds. Then head towards the cathedral city of Wells. After a spot of lunch you can hit the driver’s paradise of ‘Cheddar Gorge‘.

For the driving enthusiast, the real fun begins here, with dramatic sheer cliffs enclosing you as you descend into the gorge. Park up and take a walk through an underground world, with a walk in Gough’s or Cox’s caves or take the 274 steps up to the cliff-tops for breath-taking views. (Trust us, it’s worth the climb!)

Stop off at one of the many quintessentially English villages to snack and refuel after your walk.

To avoid any unexpected stops, don’t forget to check you’re covered for breakdowns before you go!

Jun 222018
 

 

With environmental concerns at the forefront of news stories, documentaries and media campaigns, it’s not surprising many people are now considering whether to ‘go green’ with their next vehicle.

However, if you have your eye on a certain non-eco model or are in the market for a higher performance vehicle, there are still ways you can be economical and as environmentally friendly as possible. Once you have a shortlist, make sure you check out the Reliability Index to compare models.

Here are Warranty Direct’s tips on how to make sure you’re efficient, without sacrificing the enjoyment of driving a performance vehicle.

What are you looking for?

Whether price, fuel efficiency, practicality or enjoyment is your priority when buying a car, you need to weigh up your options and see which vehicle matches your lifestyle.

If you are mainly going to be using the car for city driving, which doesn’t require high speeds or fast acceleration, look at smaller vehicles with an engine size of around 1L. This will not only be a practical size for urban driving, it should work out to be more economical than a larger engine.

If a small engine is constantly used at high speed, it’ll need to work much harder than a large engine to keep the car moving at 70mph. This will increase fuel consumption and could lead to greater long-term wear and tear as the engine’s components are put under strain.

So, if you do a lot of long distance or motorway driving, choose a car with a larger engine, which provides a good mpg.

Eco-driving

If you can’t help but go for a high-performance or sports car, there are still ways you can limit your fuel consumption to save money and cut pollution.

Get your car serviced regularly to make sure it’s running well and always use the right specification of engine oil, which you will find in your handbook. Check your tyre pressures at least once a month and before any long journeys, as under-inflated tyres will cause your car to use more fuel to overcome the added resistance.

Driving smoothly, accelerating gently and reading the road ahead to avoid breaking unnecessarily will all reduce fuel consumption. Stick to the speed limit, as not only is speeding dangerous it also uses more fuel.

Technological advances

Due to advances in engine technology, some of today’s smaller engines are able to produce more power than some bigger, older engines due to turbocharging. When looking at buying a new car, research into models such as Suzuki’s BoosterJet or Ford’s EcoBoost, where there is little or no sacrifice in power or style.

Some manufacturers now include a ‘sports’ mode or a ‘4WD’ mode in their cars. This means you can have all the fun of a high-performance car when you want it, but the practicality of a more economic drive for everyday use.

It’s all about the extras

Many cars now incorporate eco features, so you can get the style of car you want, but with the benefits of efficiency too. For instance, some modern cars now have LED head-lights and can even incorporate emissions sensors to help keep our air clean.

Extras which aim to improve your in-car experience can also help to improve driving economy. Many cars – even on the more affordable end – now come with cruise control and using this will not only give you a more comfortable ride, it could even save you up to six percent in fuel costs during motorway driving.

For extra savings, adaptive cruise control will speed up or slow down based on the position of cars in front. It uses either a radar or camera system to track the vehicles ahead and adjusts speed accordingly, alleviating the need for sharp braking and accelerating.

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