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.

Warranty Direct is a trading style of BNP Paribas Cardif Limited. BNP Paribas Cardif Limited is a company, registered in England and Wales No. 3233010 at Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 2XX and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Register No.309075.

 

Jun 222018
 

For many, going on holiday means hopping on a plane and jetting off to the sunshine.

However, with regular ferries and the Channel Tunnel, it’s never been easier to escape the UK by car. If you need some extra convincing, Warranty Direct has put together eight fool-proof reasons why driving is better than flying…

1. Take charge

If the thought of flying makes your palms sweaty, forget the plane; sit back and enjoy the feeling of being behind the wheel in your own car.

Many phobias of flying stem from the fear of not being in control, so keeping your feet firmly on the pedals could be the best choice if being air bound is not your favourite pastime.

2. Forget baggage allowances

Driving allows you a lot more flexibility with luggage, so load up the boot and be on your way.

Just make sure you’re within the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) or Maximum Permitted Weight (MPW) for your car, which can be found in your handbook. Always load responsibly, with heavier items at the bottom for added stability.

3. It’s all about the food

While in recent years plane food may have improved, it’s still not going to be your first-choice cuisine.

When driving, not only can you stock up on your favourite snacks, you could even stop at some gastronomically fantastic cafes or restaurants. Check sites such as Trip Adviser before you leave, so you won’t be disappointed.

4. You can have ‘fun stops’

You can also visit sights on your journey. Plan your route and put in some cities or attractions you’ve always wanted to see to make travelling part of the holiday. This is also a great way to keep kids entertained along the way!

However, with driving you run the risk of the less-fun stops; breakdowns. To get you on the road again as quickly as possible, make sure you’re covered in case of emergencies.

5. You can control the temperature

One of the worst things about being on a plane is temperature control. Sure, you have an individual air vent, but there’s very little you can do if you find yourself too hot or too cold.

In your own temperature-controlled car, you get to be in charge of the in-car environment. That is until the children have their way with the dial.

6. Think about the children

Flights with children can be stressful. With the extra baggage, the early morning start and the queue for security, you may find yourself needing a holiday before you’ve even taken off.

When driving, you can avoid airport queues, stop whenever is needed and even put children in the car in pyjamas, so they continue to sleep while en route.

7. Your wallet will thank you

Plane tickets can be pricey, even short-haul ones. If you calculate the cost of flights for the whole family, the price can quickly mount up.

Driving can often work out much better economically, even when accounting for fuel, ferry or channel crossing costs. If you have a car full of friends you can split the fuel costs, which will make the journey even more affordable and potentially a lot more fun.

8. Leave no one behind

If you’re a pet owner, you will know the pain of leaving your furry friend behind and also the hassle of finding a good quality pet sitter, kennel or cattery while you’re away.

If you’re driving, it’s easy to make your pet part of your holiday. Install either a pet seatbelt to clip into your car or a travel cage in the boot, as a loose pet could be distracting for a driver. If you’re going abroad, pets will still need passports, so make sure you’re covered.

Warranty Direct is a trading style of BNP Paribas Cardif Limited. BNP Paribas Cardif Limited is a company, registered in England and Wales No. 3233010 at Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 2XX and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Register No.309075.

Jun 042018
 

MOT’s are something we all dread as there always seems to be an issue which needs fixing. To try to lighten up this sore point for many motorists, we wanted to look at how our favourite fictional cars would fair against today’s MOT regulations.

We will be looking at vehicles such as Fred Flintstone’s foot mobile. While it may work well in the animated series, we can see some serious issues. Whether it’s the huge hole in the floor or the lack of tread on the tyres, Fred’s going to find himself without a car unless he gets those issues fixed!

May 312018
 

Over half of UK roads are classified as ‘rural’ and are also statistically among the most hazardous, with 68% of fatalities occurring on them every year.

Quiet rural roads often lure drivers into a false sense of security, when they need to be at their most alert. To keep you – and others – safe, Warranty Direct has put together its top tips for rural driving.

 

Watch your speed

Many drivers assume they can drive quicker on rural roads because they’re typically quiet. However, obscured entrances, high trees and hedges, narrow bends and blind corners will restrict your view so it’s essential to keep your speed down to avoid potential hazards. Take notice of all the signs on the road to give you advance warnings, so you can adjust your speed accordingly.

At 60mph, a driver’s stopping distance is 73 metres and if a hazard suddenly appears, you may not be able to stop in time. Speed limits shouldn’t be seen as a target, so keep assessing whether you’re at the right speed for the conditions and you feel in control of the vehicle.

Be patient

Tractors, combines and other large agricultural vehicles are a common sight on country roads. While you may find getting stuck behind one of them annoying, you need to be patient as they’ve as much right to be on the road as you do.

If you do find yourself behind one, keep a safe distance as these types of vehicles often have limited visibility. If you attempt to overtake, make sure you’ve plenty of time and space to make the manoeuvre safely. Look for a long straight stretch and start to overtake from further behind than you would with a normal car, to give the driver more opportunity to see you.

Beware: animals crossing

Whether it’s a herd of cows being moved from one field to another or a rabbit just wandering across the road, you need to be more alert for wildlife during rural driving. Watch out for wild animal warning signs, which give you an indication of areas more prone to animals.

While it’s normally an instinctual movement, it’s important you don’t swerve to avoid small wildlife. This can be very dangerous for you, your passengers and the person who might be coming towards you on the other side of the road.

Instead, try to brake as soon as possible to minimise impact and beep your horn while slowing. Often this will startle wildlife into running out of your path.

However, larger animals like cattle, horses, and dogs are considered big enough to justify an emergency stop, because their size means, if hit at speed, they could cause a lot of damage to vehicles or injuries to passengers. For example; accidents involving deer are estimated to cost £17 million in vehicle damage every year.

If you are unlucky enough to hit a larger animal, you must stop by law and report the accident to the police immediately.

Think of others

Many people will be out on the country roads enjoying the scenery and leisure activities, so expect to see plenty of cyclists and horse riders. If you come across a horse and rider, it’s essential you slow down and pass with plenty of room to avoid spooking the horse. A scared horse can be a danger to itself and to its rider.

You should approach passing cyclists in the same way you would another vehicle. Make sure you wait for a straight stretch of road and give them as much room as possible. The Highway Code actually encourages cyclists to stay in the middle of the road for safety, so be patient and wait until it’s completely safe for you to pass.

You may also encounter walkers, so always corner slowly as there could be a pedestrian on the other side.

May 312018
 

Leading car warranty provider, Warranty Direct analysed its Reliability Index and SMMT data to reveal which of the bestselling UK hatchbacks were most reliable.

The Reliability Index collates and analyses 50,000 live Warranty Direct policies to rate vehicles in order of reliability. As well as finding out the overall reliability of a car, the index offers information on which parts fail most often such as air conditioning, axle & suspension, braking, cooling, electrical components and engines.

Top ten most popular hatchbacks ranked in order of reliability:

Reliability position

Model Popularity position *

1

Volkswagen Polo 6

2

Ford Fiesta 1

3

Ford Focus 3

4

Volkswagen Golf 2

5

Vauxhall Corsa

4

6 Mini Cooper

7

7 Mercedes Benz A-Class

8

8 BMW 1 Series

10

9 Vauxhall Astra

5

10 Audi A3

9

 

Recently plagued by problems owing to the diesel emission scandal, Volkswagen showed it’s still a strong contender in the hatchback market. According to the Reliability Index the Polo and Golf models came in at 1st and 4th place for overall reliability.

While it was only the 6th bestselling hatchback of last year, the Polo actually beat competitors to be crowned the most reliable, spending just 1.46 hours off the road for repairs, which cost an average of just £184.

This is because less than 10% of problems recorded in the Reliability Index for both Polo and Golf models stemmed from more expensive issues such as brakes or gearbox problems.

Following the Polo closely in second place was the Ford Fiesta, which according to SMMT was also the bestselling car of 2017. Low cost and easy to repair faults helped the Fiesta retain its top spot and it needed an average of only 1.51 hours off the road. It narrowly missed out on first position due to slightly higher repair times and costs compared to the Volkswagen Polo.

Coming in a respectable 3rd for reliability is family favourite, the Ford Focus. The average costs of repairs were a little higher though at £283 and so was the average time off the road for repairs at 2.05 hours. This could be down to the model experiencing trickier electrical faults, which made up nearly 30% of all its claims.

In last place for reliability and second to last for popularity, the Audi A3 had a staggering average repair cost of £439, stemming from expensive engine issues, which made up 27% of all claims.

Surprisingly, some of the most expensive, popular models scored more poorly for reliability, with the A-Class in 7th place, the 1 Series in 8th and the A3 rounding out the table in position ten. All took around three hours for the average time off the road for repairs, which may be down to the more complex makeup of these premium vehicles.

The Mercedes A-Class in particular was a good example, as 40% of its claims came from electrical issues, which are common for a growing number of luxury cars, as they contain more parts dependent upon automated technology

Simon Ackers, CEO of Warranty Direct commented on the findings:

“When buying a new car, motorists should look beyond the initial purchase price and examine resources such as the Reliability Index to get a better indication of whether a particular model is suited to their individual needs.

“According to sales, the Polo was only the 6th bestselling hatchback of last year, but it’s actually the most reliable model according to our Reliability Index. In addition to this, the most expensive model may not actually be the most reliable, so it’s always worth doing your research before purchasing your next vehicle.”

*Popularity position based on 2017 SMMT data on the UK’s best-selling vehicles