Feb 292016
 

 

 

 

 

 

Which Supermini is better? The stylish French C3 or the Brit built Japanese tiddler?

Why Buy?

The C3 has always been well equipped, and in more recent years it has become much more like a tiny people carrier than a small hatch. By contrast the Micra is a traditional, hardworking small car beloved of first time drivers and older motorists who want a car that won’t let them down.

Which models?

There are two distinct C3 models, the one built from 2002 to 2010 and the revised people carrier style one from 2010 onwards. Buy the most recent. Micras, also from 2002

Are they reliable?

The older C3s seem cheaply built inside and it is electrical issues that give owners the most trouble. Warranty Direct’s figures bear this out. It is a similar story with the Micra, electricals are again the problem even if the price of fixing a Nissan is fractionally cheaper.

How much do they cost?

Safer to pay around £950 for a 2003 example. £3000 a tidy 2006 example and £8000 for a 2012 Picasso model if you want a small van. Again, £1000 is the lowest price to buy at, a £3000 Micra is a 1.2 2009 3 door model. The restyled 2012 five door from 2012 from a dealer is £6000.

Sum Up

It comes down to style and the Citroen looks funkier, whilst the Micra is just odd to some. Regardless, Nissan’s reputation for reliability is strong.

Citroen C3

Average Repair Cost: £280.43

Axle and Suspension: 23.61%*

Gearbox: 13.89%*

Electrical: 25.00%*

Warranty Direct Rating: Above Average

* failure rate

Nissan Micra

Average Repair Cost: £272.82

Axle & Suspension: 29.85*

Electrical: 32.84%*

Steering: 17.91*

Warranty Direct Rating: Above Average to Good

* failure rate

Feb 282016
 

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has come up with some easy ways to increase your car’s chances of passing its MOT test. Many people don’t prepare their car for an MOT at all, when a set of simple checks could save you time, money and inconvenience.

Many cars fail the MOT on the basic items we’re about to highlight, leaving you rushing around attempting to fix them at late notice and possibly great expense.

Mark Lewis, IAM director of standards, says start on the outside:

  • Wash your car. This will allow you to see any damage, especially to wheels
  • Check tyres. Make sure there is no damage and there is there is a tread depth of at least 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre width and around the whole circumference of the tyre
  • Clean your windscreen so you can see any cracks
  • Make sure all lights are working and get someone to help with brake lights or look at a reflection in a shop window or garage door
  • Lift the wipers and check the feathered edge (the thin part of the blade that touches the screen) for any damage. Then wipe them with a damp cloth
  • Look under the car to see if there are any fluid leaks

Now let’s talk fluids!

  • Make sure all fluids under the bonnet are topped up – these areas are often marked in yellow
  • Make sure the windscreen washer nozzles are working and aim at the windscreen
  • Don’t forget about the rear wash-wipe if your car has one

Moving inside

  • Make sure the horn works
  • Does the parking brake hold the car?
  • Pull all the seat belts out the entire way and make sure they retract.
  • Unwind if necessary

Mark said: “These basic checks will help make your chances of passing an MOT much greater. So many fails are as a result of these issues.

“But what I have suggested should not just be a once-a-year activity – these are checks that should be part of a weekly routine to ensure your car is safe to be driven day in, day out.”

Feb 272016
 

There will be more flood damaged vehicles on the used car market as a result of the treacherous weather conditions recently seen in the UK. So private buyers need to be on their guard and to know exactly what to look out for.

If a vehicle has been driven into a serious flood or submerged for a period of time, water can overcome the intake manifold, causing the engine to hydraulic lock and this may require total replacement. So, if a replacement engine or new steel wheels have been fitted are signs they have been flooded.

Other tell-tale signs of a potentially flood-damaged vehicle are random or strangely placed scrapes and dents to the bodywork, which may have resulted from debris carried by fast running water.

To help spot potentially flood-damaged vehicles, Manheim Auctions has developed a ten point inspection plan:

  1. Lift the flooring – rust, mould, dampness and/or silt under all carpets and mats are a sign that a vehicle may have taken an early bath.
  2. Open the doors – tide marks staining upholstery in a vehicle are possible warning signs.
  3. Sitting comfortably – rust on all seat-retaining bolts and seat frames could indicate that a vehicle has been in prolonged contact with water
  4. Lift the bonnet – silt and mud deposits on the engine and associated components is a possible danger sign
  5. Get on your knees – pay attention to any recent surface corrosion and body damage on lower sills and floorpan, including axles and component brackets
  6. Exhausting checks – look at the full exhaust system, sometimes the rear box is changed to disguise flood damage
  7. Time to dash – a combination of intermittent electrical problems, dash warning lights and inoperative electrical components could spell major repair bills for flooded vehicles
  8. In recession – take a good look at internal recesses, including cup holders, ashtrays, cubby holes and door pockets for signs of silt and mud
  9. Fits like a glove – check the glovebox manuals, paperwork and information packs – they may show signs of water damage
  10. Sense of smell – while some cars smell damp if they have been deep cleaned, be aware of the ‘atmosphere’ in the car as it could alert you to a flood-damaged vehicle.
Feb 262016
 

A survey carried out by the Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU), of over 30,000 European drivers focusing on the reliability of over 178 different models has found that customers rate Honda as the most reliable car brand.

Overall, Honda ranked top of the survey, receiving a reliability rating of 93/100 and with further 79% of survey respondents saying that they would recommend a Honda vehicle. The Honda Jazz was rated as the top car in terms of reliability in the “utility” vehicles category. Other Honda models were also highly rated with the Civic, CR-V and Insight placing in the top 10 of most reliable cars in their respective categories.

Price, fuel consumption, practicality and reliability are key considerations for consumers when buying a car. The OCU survey focused on reliability to find out if owners had experienced breakdowns in the past year and to find out the type of problems drivers had experienced. From this data they established a reliability index which can be used to compare the likelihood of a breakdown between different makes and models on the market.

“Reliability and quality are synonymous with the Honda brand,” says Honda Motor Europe’s senior vice president, Philip Ross. “The results of the survey highlight the importance of the quality commitments Honda has made to its customers. It is important for Honda to ensure that customers can experience the joy of owning a Honda vehicle and enjoy driving them with the peace of mind that the cars are among the least likely to experience breakdowns.”