Sep 302015
 

Aiming to inform all the Reliability Index, made possible by Warranty Direct, helps car owners find out how reliable their vehicle will be in the years to come after their car falls out of the standard manufacturer’s warranty.

Taking factors into account include breakdowns, age, mileage and car efficiency, the results help inform motorists what to possibly expect with their cars.

This week’s car:  Toyota Corolla (2001-2006)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reliabilty Index Score:  Good

It’s the car that had a charisma bypass while it was on the drawing board, but with one of the highest levels of reliability around, you could be forgiven for overlooking the Corolla’s unexciting design. After more than three decades the Corolla is an icon – just a rather less exciting one than the 911. Don’t let that put you off though – if economy and reliability are your key requirements, you won’t go far wrong with a Corolla. It’s also better to drive than you might think – but it’s no Focus.

Written by Richard Dredge

What’s great about this car?

Reliability / Practicality / Affordability

What’s not so great?

Dull design inside and out / Smaller engines struggle

Things to keep an eye on

  • Electrical faults aren’t common, but have been known – so check everything works as it should.
  • Petrol engines can use oil at an alarming rate once they’ve covered 40,000 miles – as much as a litre every 600 miles.
  • If you’re buying a Verso, check its luggage cover is intact. It’s fiddly and can get broken through ham-fisted use.
  • Brake pedal sinks to the floor on 1.4 D-4D cars with the MMT gearbox, if engine is running but car is stationary.
  • Faulty fuel cut-off switch leads to car cutting out intermittently; diagnostics won’t show this though.

For more in-depth details of this car, visit the page at the Reliability Index.

Sep 282015
 

It’s Monday morning and another week has begun here at Warranty Direct. Time for a roundup of the latest motor news we’ve noticed over the last seven days.

The Volkswagen Emissions Scandal – BBC News

 

 

 

 

 

Dominating the main news last week was the shock revelation that car manufacturer Volkswagen had cheated emissions tests in the US on purpose. The cheat occurring thanks to a device installed in diesel engines that could detect if they were being tested or not, changing the performance to improve results. Since the news broke, chief executive Martin Winterkorn had stepped down and Volkswagen have begun internal inquiries. For more details and up to date tracking of the scandal, take a look at the BBC news guide above.

Bloodhound SSC – 1000mph challenger revealed – AutoCar

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audiences in London were invited this past week to see The Bloodhound; a Super-Sonic Car that will attempt to break the world land speed record next year.  The AutoCar news story provides more detail in the engine components that make up this beast and explains how the car will attempt the land speed record.

0 to 500,000 in 21 Months – The Telegraph

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was recently great news for Nissan as the Japanese car maker only took just 21 months to produce 500,000 models of the Nissan Qashqai. The production of the cross-over car smashed records for its Sunderland car factory.

And finally…..

Cake Morning 2

 

 

 

 

 

Warranty Direct took part in Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event this past Friday. Staff either donated or baked their own cakes for a fundraising cake sale in our offices. We’re pleased to report that these delicious cakes helped us to raise £277.35 for Macmillan Cancer Research. Well done to all involved in organising this great event.

Don’t forget we share more motoring news through our social media feeds so follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to be up to date with the motoring world as well as the latest news from Warranty Direct.

Have a great week!

Sep 252015
 

Skoda RoomsterVauxhall Meriva

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skoda Roomster vs Vauxhall Meriva

Small, practical and slightly funky cars are all the rage and perfect for equally funky families.

Why Buy?

We buy cars on looks and when we do that we end up with a Roomster. Cheaper to buy and run than the Yeti, with a less odd name but bags of space. The Meriva is good to drive and has groovy doors as the rear ones hinge the other way. Lots of space inside of course.

Which models?

The Skoda Roomster dates from 2005. There is a Scout model which made it look a lot more like an off roader, so its all for show and no 4 x 4 go. 2010 is when the Meriva became really interesting with those hand clap style doors. Also more refined and better to drive too.

Are they reliable?

On the whole both vehicles are pretty reliable and the Skoda seems to have faults spread around the fewest components. Both the Vauxhall and the Skoda suffer from the modern malady which is electrical issues. Both though rate above average according to Warranty Direct.

How much do they cost?

The Roomster can now be bought below £2000 and at the other end of the scale a two year old example is just over £12,000. You might get a 2010 Meriva with high mileage for £3300 rising to £13,500.

Sum Up: Both are great small family cars. The Roomster does not look it, but is the more conventional. Most of all both are interesting.

Skoda Roomster

Average Repair Cost: £333.75

Electrical: 45.45*

Axle/Suspension: 18.18%*

Gearbox: 13.64*

Warranty Direct Rating: Above Average to Good

* failure rate

Vauxhall Meriva

Average Repair Cost: £287.23

Electrical: 32.95%*

Steering System: 16.76%*

Transmission: 13.29*

Warranty Direct Rating: Above Average

Sep 242015
 

Pump up your Tyres Photo Motorists in the UK are wasting £246 million a year on fuel  and putting lives at risk by driving on dangerously  underinflated tyres, according to Michelin. The tyre  manufacturer analysed results from more than 23,000 cars  in the UK and found that 37 per cent had at least one tyre  classed as either “dangerously underinflated” or “very  dangerously” underinflated.

In all, 62 per cent of vehicles were found to have underinflated tyres, while five per cent of vehicles had a tyre with a puncture and one per cent had tread depths below the legal minimum of 1.6mm.

The figures come from eight years of Michelin-run events and they suggest attitudes to tyre safety are not improving.

Jamie McWhir, car, van and 4×4 technical manager for Michelin in the UK, said: “The proportion of cars with dangerously underinflated tyres has pretty much stayed the same over the eight years we have been running our Fill Up With Air events.

“That’s pretty depressing when you consider the volume of vehicles and the implications. Seriously underinflated tyres are dangerous, they use more fuel, they wear out quicker and they cause the car to produce more pollutants and greenhouse gases.”

Michelin classifies tyres that are between 7psi and 14psi below the manufacturer’s recommendation as “dangerously underinflated”, while 14 psi or more underinflation is deemed to be “very dangerous.”

Running a car with tyres underinflated by 7psi decreases fuel efficiency by about one mile per gallon. If average fuel consumption is assumed to be 45 miles per gallon on correctly inflated tyres, and average distance driven is 7,900 miles a year, motorists on 7psi underinflated tyres are using on average 18.2 litres of fuel a year unnecessarily.

At an average fuel cost across diesel and unleaded of £1.18 per litre, that means 11.84 million of the UK’s 32 million cars are wasting a total of more than £254 million a year.

In addition, more than 538,000 tonnes of excess CO2 are being emitted by those cars.

Mr McWhir added: “It’s crucial that motorists understand the importance of driving on tyres with the correct pressure, especially as they’re the only point of contact with the road and are therefore critical to the safety of the vehicle, its passengers, other road users and pedestrians.

“Last year the Department for Transport found that dangerous tyres were responsible for more than 40 per cent of vehicle defect related deaths. It is so important to fit tyres of a sufficient quality and then look after them properly.”

Underinflated tyres hamper road-holding, braking, steering and resistance to aquaplaning. Underinflation also reduces tyre life.

Michelin recommends checking tyre pressures – including the spare tyre – at least every month and before every long journey.

Last month industry campaign group TyreSafe and Highways England found that more than 10 million tyres in use on roads in England, Scotland and Wales could be illegal.

Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman, said: “It’s a question of educating motorists to take responsibility for their safety and that of others on the road.

“As vehicles have become increasingly reliable, owners have become less used to performing what were once considered basic precautionary checks before setting off on a journey. Tyres too are much more technologically advanced but they do wear and can get damaged so it is down to the driver to regularly check they’re safe

“Awareness among Britain’s motorists of the importance of tyre safety urgently needs to improve.”

Michelin inspected 23,741 cars over the past eight years as part of its Fill Up With Air roadshow which tours the UK offering free pressure and tyre checks for motorists, as well as tyre maintenance and road safety advice.

Top tips from Michelin for looking after your tyres and staying safe on the road:

 1. Check your tyre pressure every month and before a long journey. Driving a car with the correct tyre pressure increases safety and saves fuel.

  • The recommended tyre pressure levels for front and rear tyres are often different so refer to the vehicle handbook to get these right. Pressures could also be listed on the ledge inside the driver’s door or inside the fuel cap.
  • Don’t forget to check the pressure of the spare tyre if there is one.
  • Buy a pressure gauge so you can take accurate readings.

2. Regularly check the tread depth of your tyres and replace them when they are worn.

  • Change your tyres before the tread depth is worn to the legal minimum of 1.6mm. The more tread you have on your tyres, the more water they can disperse.
  • A simple way of checking the tread is to perform the ‘20p test’
  • Take a 20p piece and place it between the main grooves of the tyre
  • If the outer strip of the coin can be seen then it’s likely your tyre doesn’t have the legal minimum tread depth.
  • Perform the test on at least three locations on each tyre.
  • Drivers whose tyres fail to comply with the minimum tread depth risk a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre.

3. Inspect the appearance and condition of your tyres on a regular basis for cracks, lumps, bumps, tears and bulges as this could show damage. If you spot any of these, make sure you get them checked by a qualified tyre expert so that it can be repaired or replaced where appropriate.

Sep 232015
 

Your Child will Choose your next car More than three quarters of parents (78%) claim that having  kids forced them to buy a new car. And nearly four in ten  (37%) say that children go on to influence decisions to buy  their next car.

These were the key findings of research carried out for Auto  Trader in August, the UK’s largest digital automotive  marketplace, pooling the views of 1,000 parents and children  aged between 5 and 11.The aims were to look at what parents  and children looked for in their perfect family car – and to what extent children influenced their parents’ buying decision.

Findings pointed to a number of differences in the success of pester power. More than half of Londoners, for example (55%), said they were likely to be influenced by their children, compared with just 24% in the North East. When it comes to the sexes, the research suggests dads should probably be the target of lobbying. 39% of dads said they were open to influence compared with 33% of mums.

“A substantial amount of research has been done looking at how the decision of the car buyer can be influenced and at what stage in the buying journey,” commented Nathan Coe of Auto Trader, “but few have really considered the role that children play, or the influence of pester power. If one of the kids doesn’t like the shape or colour of your next car, or it doesn’t come with plug-in for an i-Pad, then you’d better be prepared for some serious pestering!”

Overall, colour is the most likely area for successful persuasion by children (26% influenced their parents’ choice of colour). Children are most likely to push for red (28%), followed by blue (21%), black (14%) and pink (13%). Perhaps unsurprisingly boys tend to favour red cars (28% v 23%) and girls preferred pink (26% v 1%). However, only 2% said they’d prefer a white car, despite white being the most popular new car colour, according to SMMT new car sales data.

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT): new car registrations by colour 2014

SMMT New Car Reg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children also influenced their parents in terms of the comfort (13%), size (12%), design (12%) and entertainment systems (9%) fitted to their new car. Safety however – top of the list of priorities for parents (27%) – was one area where parents tend to go it alone.

After safety, parents were most concerned with the size and space of the new car they were buying so they could get extra boot space or more seats (25%), how comfortable it would be (23%) and how reliable (19%) – entertainment systems were only considered important by 2% of parents.

For children however, their top ten wish list in a family car included glamour features like turbo buttons, ejector seats and flame filled exhausts, perhaps unsurprisingly alongside entertainment systems.

Coe continues: “Car retailers are becoming more aware of the need to cater for children on the forecourt, both in terms of providing entertainment for them whilst their parents are looking at cars, and actively pointing out features that they would be interested in, like in-car entertainment systems. As the technical specifications on new cars continues to advance, kids will only become more interested in the car they are transported about in.”

Is mum or dad a better driver? Overall, more children in the survey pointed to their dads (54%). However when it comes to dropping off at the school gates, mums rule the playground: 55% voted for them compared to 42% who said they’d prefer their Dad to drop them off.  More than two thirds (79%) of parents would claim they are better drivers compared to their partner.

When asked to consider their favourite superhero car, children went mad for the Batmobile. It topped the chart for all ages from 5 through to 11, other than for kids aged six year – they chose Lightning McQueen from the Cars’ films.

When buying a car, which of these factors might your children influence?

When buying a car, which of these factors might your children influence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the most important feature in a family car?

What is the most important feature in a family car

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The top ten features for your dream car (children aged 5-11):

  1. TV Screens
  2. DVD Players
  3. Internet connection
  4. Video games
  5. Snack dispenser
  6. Toy storage cupboard
  7. Turbo button
  8. Steering wheel in back seat
  9. Ejector seat
  10. Flame emitting exhausts

Better Driver2