Oct 132016

The latest results from Warranty Direct reveal the Mitsubishi Lancer is the most reliable family car according to the latest data from their Reliability Index website.

The Reliability Index analyses all the vehicle data on live Warranty Direct and collates it into creating a reliability rating. The lower the rating, the better the reliability. As well as finding out the overall reliability of a car, the index offers information on which car parts fail most often  such as air conditioning, axle & suspension, braking, cooling, electrical components, engines and fuel.

Family cars are usually chosen for being specifically good at daily domestic work, which means considering a certain set of parameters rather than just an outright type of model. Many couples are more likely to choose a vehicle based on its ability to meet family needs. Practicality, running costs and price all score high on the hit list, though some want style and something fun to drive, too.

Top ten most reliable family cars

Position Model Sector
1 Mitsubishi Lancer Small Family
2 Honda Insight Small Family
3 Mercedes-Benz CLC Small Family
4 Honda Accord (08-) Family Car
5 Honda Civic (00-06) Small Family
6 Toyota Prius (03-09) Family Car
7 Hyundai i30 Small Family
8 Nissan Almera Small Family
9 Honda Civic (06-) Small Family
10 Toyota Prius (09-) Family Car

The Mitsubishi Lancer, is the most reliable family car with the time spent off the road for repairs typically less than an hour and the average repair cost only £69. The Honda Insight came in at second place, but due to a high number of reported issues occurring with its axle suspension, the costs of repairs are over double that of Mitsubishi’s averaging at around £137. This lowered its position in the rankings.

Both cars received good family car reviews with the Mitsubishi Lancer being praised for its practicality spaciousness and superb value and the Honda Insight deemed a good choice for those who need more space than you find in a small hatchback, but who still want a town-friendly, smooth and fuel-efficient car.

80% of the top ten most reliable cars were Japanese models and Honda did particularly well with 4 of its models making the top ten. The only non-Japanese cars to enter the top ten were the Mercedes-Benz CLC which came in at position number three and the Hyundai i30 which came in at position number seven.

The reliability of Japanese vehicles is believed to stem from Japan’s superior production processes and more meticulous testing regimes. Japanese brands also tend to be more conservative when it comes to adopting complex new technologies – though hybrid technology is an obvious exception to this trend.

The least reliable family car is the Skoda Superb, due in part to the large number of reported issues occurring in its engine (30%) and repair time averaging at around 3 hours. Costs of repairs were also particularly high averaging around £578. Results such as this are an example of how typically reliable cars can be pulled down in the rankings by unreliable parts.

Speaking about the latest results Philip Ward, COO of Warranty Direct commented:

 “Families demand a lot from their cars and need vehicles that won’t let them down. Mitsubishi’s success in the reliability rankings is chiefly down to low failure rates and when things go wrong, they are cheaper to fix. It’s imperative for buyers to consider reliability when purchasing a used family car. Manufacturers demonstrating their cars are durable and cheaper to maintain will continue to be the most popular choices amongst buyers.”

A more extensive list of vehicle information is available on the Reliability Index website.

Oct 062016

When it comes to buying a car there are numerous factors to consider, and ultimately we all want to get good value for the money we put into a purchase. Value for money when buying a car doesn’t just involve the price you pay when you buy it though – more often than not we need to consider the value we’ll get from re-selling it in the future.

Depreciation is one of the biggest factors to be assessed when making this decision, but it can frequently be overlooked in favour of style and desirability at the time.

Most cars depreciate at a rate of around 20% per year over the first three years of ownership, but there are a number of things to take into consideration which could help you retain as much value as possible thereafter.

The Key Factors:

The general reliability of your car is crucial in reducing depreciation – certain manufacturers have a reputation for unreliability so a bit of brand research is a must. The less you have to spend after services and MOTs, the better it is at the time and in the long run. In terms of MOTs and services, it is key to maintain a full service history to illustrate reliability as well.

Fuel type and MPG can have a significant impact on depreciation. Typically, diesel cars are more economical but the gap is closing as petrol engine efficiency improves, so newer petrol models should maintain value well. Looking ahead, hybrid and alternative energy vehicles will be a good option as, due to increasing demand, value will be more solidified. In addition to economy, overall mileage has a huge effect on value as the higher the mileage, the lower the value.

By-and-large, the bigger the car the higher the running and maintenance costs will be, so the resale value for superminis and hatchbacks is usually very good. Buying a car with lower running costs, including fuel, will in turn lead to a lower road tax which is highly desirable in a second-hand car.

A car’s value also affects insurance – for a lower value car an owner could consider third party or third party fire and theft policies to reduce their premiums. Insurers also study information on estimated cost of repairs and potential repair time, so reliability and depreciation has a major bearing on the overall cost of insurance.

The original cost of the car is worth bearing in mind, as if you take into account 20% depreciation per year during the first three years, a car worth £60,000 will depreciate by £12,000 per year as opposed to a £20,000 car retaining far more of its value by losing £4,000 per year.

Minimising Depreciation / Maximising Value

  • Maintenance – taking good care of your car on and off the read is key. Damaged bodywork and interiors will decrease value, as will worn out engines that have been aggressively driven. Buying a Haynes manual for your car is a great way of helping to reduce running costs too.
  • Don’t buy brand new – buying a ‘nearly-new’ or a five-year-old car will help you avoid the stage where the most depreciation occurs. Buying an eight to ten-year-old car is also an option, as this won’t depreciate any more than it already has, but this needs to be weighed up against potentially higher repair costs.
  • Don’t modify, choose extras wisely – ‘boy racer’ modifications such as spoilers, noisy split exhausts and flared wheel arches tend not to be desirable in the second-hand car market. However, options such as sat-nav, leather seats and air con are highly desirable and will be valuable additions.
  • Consider GAP insurance – because your car starts losing value the moment you drive off the forecourt, a GAP insurance policy is worth investing in if you’re paying for the car on finance. So, if you’ve bought a relatively new car and anything unforeseen happens to it the GAP insurance will cover the value lost by depreciation.
  • Leasing – this can be a good option in terms of keeping the running costs and repairs down, as they are generally included in your fixed monthly payments. Particularly useful for those that will have high mileage, but keep an eye out for mileage limits in the contract as they can be very costly.

Depreciation is something we all have to tackle if we’re buying a car, but hopefully with these tips you can make the most out of what is for many people, not just a means of getting around, but a great way of having fun and extension of their personality.

Oct 062016

10 Top Tips for buying Used Cars

If you choose to buy a used car the obvious benefits can include making significant savings without having to compromise too much on quality. Whether you’re after a dream machine or a cheap run-around to get you from A to B, there’s plenty of choice on the second-hand market. However, the Citizens Advice and Trading Standards claims second-hand cars are one of the most protested issues; complaints are often about a fault, but sometimes the problems are so bad the car is scrapped. With murky histories and hard-nosed salesmen, purchasing a used car can be a minefield to a potential buyer. Here are our top tips to minimise the chance of any nasty surprises.

Timing is key

One way to reduce costs is to buy at the right time. Dealers have targets to meet and bonuses to compete for. These are usually based on quarterly sales at the end of March, June, September and December. They need to shift cars, so will be more willing to negotiate and offer appealing finance packages at the end of these months. Private sellers don’t have set targets, so keep an eye on their prices a few months before you actually buy – if they’re decreasing, you may want to wait. Increasing and it’s sensible to buy sooner.

Prioritise what you need, not what you want

Before you begin perusing for the ‘one’, consider realistically what you really need from a car. There’s no point buying a two-seater convertible if you’re about to start a family. Ask specific questions to boost decision-making such as ‘what are my essential requirements?’ and ‘will I be using it for short drives or longer motorway journeys?’ Fuel choice can also make a big difference to running costs, so consider whether you need diesel or petrol.

Shop around and negotiate

Ask dealers for their best price on your second-hand car of choice. Make a note of the best price, and then ask others to beat it. You can expand your radius, if you’re happy to travel to find the lowest price. Never sign on the day- walk away and you will be pleasantly surprised with the number of sales calls you receive offering even better discounts than discussed previously.

Inspect the vehicle thoroughly

As the old saying goes, it’s not enough to go by good looks alone and this is most certainly the case when buying a used car. You need to look at everything, from the seatbelts, headlights to the paintwork and tyres. Check the car’s mileage. The average covered is around 10,000 miles a year, so if the odometer’s figure seems strangely out considering age, ask why. Service history is crucial as you don’t want to purchase a car which may be subject to immediate repairs. Also check for any signs of poor repair and oil or water leaks in the engine which could lead to serious problems.

Don’t skip the test-drive

Test driving a second hand car is imperative to ensure you’re comfortable driving the vehicle and that you don’t notice any red flags when out on the road. Try different routes and include the motorway to check how the car feels whilst driving it. Check the brakes and clutch function smoothly and effectively, plus experiment with manoeuvres such as a  three-point turn and an emergency stop to check steering and brakes.

Check for outstanding finance

Buying, leasing or hiring a car on finance is increasing in popularity. This means many vehicles on the road are actually owned by finance providers until their customers pay off the finance agreement in full. Make sure you carry out a Car Data Check because if you buy from someone who’s not paid off their finance agreement, the provider could retrieve the car and leave you without a car and out of pocket. Most reputable dealers carry out a vehicle check, but we’d advise you to still liaise with them to ask whether it’s been done on your visit.

Protect your rights

Remember that if you choose to buy through a private sale it is also your responsibility to check the car’s condition and history, and you have far fewer rights if something goes wrong. A private seller must give an accurate description, but it can be hard to prove if you’ve been duped – so keep copies of the original advert. Purchasing a used car warranty can be excellent way to protect yourself from expensive incidents you may experience once you’ve actually bought your vehicle. Many warranties can be bought direct as well –  another bonus as it eliminates additional costs which may incur if buying through another party.

In this case, eBay may not be the best option…

You can buy anything online these days, but is buying a car this way worth the risk? Lots of people seem to think so and eBay is one of the most popular sites for used car purchases. Ensure you’ve done all the necessary checks before you place a bid, as if you pay using PayPal its purchase protection does not apply to cars – and neither does eBay’s own buyer protection. So if anything goes wrong, you cannot turn to either to sort it out.

… although considering your credit card could be wise

Paying even a penny towards your car by credit card, means you get effective, additional protection, as you’re then covered by Section 75. Providing the total cost of the car you’re buying is between £100 and £30,000, paying anything towards it by credit card means the card company is equally as liable as the dealer if anything goes wrong with your vehicle.

Be thorough with paperwork

When you buy a used car check you have all the necessary documents before paying. Most important is the  Logbook, or V5C,  which proves you are the keeper of the vehicle. It should list you as the registered keeper, though you may not be the owner if the car has been bought on finance. The car’s servicing booklet is essential  to check when the car was last serviced, as well as what’s been repaired/replaced. Manuals, spares such as wheels, keys and the sales contract should also be included.

Whether or not you decide to purchase the used car you are considering, it’s imperative to make sure you are well-informed and have researched the market before buying. The more aware you are of common scams and sneaky sales tactics, the less likely you are to be left out of pocket or with a vehicle that won’t stand the test of time.

Aug 292016

Vehicle history check provider, HPI, is urging car buyers to be aware of their rights and remember to check if the vehicle they want to buy is subject to a manufacturer recall.

The warning comes as figures reveal that over six million vehicles have had recalls issued against them in the UK and been returned to dealers since the start of 2011,  affecting manufacturers including Toyota, Honda, Vauxhall, BMW, and Fiat.

Fernando Garcia consumer director at HPI, said: “The problem of recalls just doesn’t seem to be going away. What the high figures demonstrate is just how commonplace recalls are now.”

The number of vehicle recalls rose dramatically in 2014/15 to a total of 39, a 30% increase from the 30 recalled in 2013/14, and with many on a major international scale.

The scandal over General Motors’ failure to promptly recall cars with a potentially faulty ignition switch in the US last year may have prompted other manufacturers to recall more quickly and frequently after identifying any likely faults or problems.

Fernando Garcia continued: “As seen with GM Motors, where 2.6 million cars were recalled,  it can often take an issue of this scale to bring the topic to the public’s attention. Thankfully, the automotive industry is very efficient at repairing faults.

“We’ve launched the HPI Safety Recall Check to give car buyers the ability to identify if the vehicle they are about to purchase has been officially recalled.  Crucially, the HPI Safety Recall Check is the only check that provides recall information on a specific vehicle using the vehicle’s number plate.”

HPI claims the new service adds another layer to the car buyer’s comprehensive vehicle history check, the HPI Check®, further protecting buyers against making a costly mistake.

The HPI Check confirms whether a vehicle is currently recorded as stolen with the police, has outstanding finance against it or has been written off. It also includes as standard, a mileage check against the National Mileage Register, with over 200 million mileage readings.