Apr 282016
 

In a UK first, a simple smart plug-in connects and protects millions of unconnected drivers. There are 37 million vehicles on the UK’s roads, 30 million of which have none of the accident alert, fault warnings and theft tracking capabilities of newer cars.  But now, motorists can ‘get connected’ without having to wait to upgrade their car with Smartdriverclub.

Smartdriverclub is a completely unique membership service that offers motorists greater protection both on the road and when managing their car’s running costs, through the connectivity that comes as standard in new cars but without the heavy ‘new car’ price tag.   Available to consumers driving vehicles that have been registered since 2010, it costs just £6.60* per month.

It works like this, once a customer joins the club, as a member, they will be sent a small device – the Smartplug – which they insert in an easily accessed socket, normally underneath the steering column.  They can then view all of their Smartdriverclub services via their smartphone using the free Smartdriverclub app called ‘Viewpoint’ or online via their laptop or tablet device.

Benefits include essential safety features like automatic emergency assistance, breakdown help that can see the driver’s location to find them faster, theft tracking that can speed up Police recovery and a digital mechanic that can identify faults to help motorists avoid worsening the damage or even prevent a breakdown.  It can even provide in-car wifi for those challenging ‘kiddie’ car journeys and a valuation service is included for when a motorist is ready to sell their car, from Cap Hpi.

Motor industry expert, Penny Searles, the brainchild behind Smartdriverclub, says: “I have elderly parents who make long journeys quite regularly, and it bothered me that I had no idea if they were OK until they reached their destination.  If they were in an accident, I wanted to know that there would be no delay in emergency services being informed.  If they broke down, I wanted to know that they’d be located by roadside recovery without unnecessary delay.   They don’t drive a new car and whilst, of course, they have mobile phones, it’s not always easy to know exactly where you are if you’ve broken down.

“Parents with teenagers who have recently taken to the roads will also value the peace of mind of the services they get with Smartdriverclub, like being able to see where their car is at any time, or being immediately informed in the case of a serious accident.

“But these benefits are just the tip of the iceberg – the money saving features put motorists in control. We have deliberately priced the service to be as accessible as possible to motorists.  For example, the theft tracking alone if purchased separately could be from £300 per year.

“It’s easy for motorists to get this level of protection in the US, without having to buy a new car, so I wanted to bring the same concept to the UK.  Why should UK motorists have to wait to get the advantages of new car connectivity?  Now with Smartdriverclub they don’t have to.  We are anticipating a huge amount of interest – not only from motorist themselves but from motor dealers and brands looking to find ways to offer greater protection to their customers.”

SmartDriverClub comprises the following services in one package:

  • My Mechanic – This will alert a motorist if a car problem crops up, suggest what they can do about it and find a local dealer they can talk to.
  • Crash Assistance – If the customer is in a collision and Smartdriverclub can’t reach the customer on their mobile phone, they will contact the emergency services and direct them to the location.
  • Stolen Car – An in-car tracker activated by the customer means that if it’s stolen, the Police should know exactly where to look.
  • Breakdown Help – Smartdriverclub will inform roadside assistance so they know where the customer is and have useful information about their car.
  • My Driving – Motorists can save money on fuel costs by seeing how efficiently their car performs on each journey with a smart driving history that helps them manage fuel use.
  • My Deals – Customers can save money on everything from servicing to new tyres. Just tap through the app for the latest deal from their dealership.
  • Value My Car – Smartdriverclub provides a valuation of the customer’s car that’s actually based on their car so that they can use this instant price for better deals and finance.
  • Where Did I Park? – A handy little map is provided to those that have forgotten where they parked
  • Club Insurance – from May –  Cover for good drivers based on their driving behaviour, to ensure customers are not paying for the poor behaviour of others.
  • Car Wi-Fi optional – Family car journeys are always a challenge especially with teenagers in the back seat desperate to upload the latest selfie or to connect with their friends on chat. A connected road trip could also mean a blissful journey with everyone occupied in the car.
Apr 272016
 

Used cars that have covered ‘starship mileages’ of 150,000 or more are no longer off-putting to buyers if the condition and the badge is right, reports car price guide specialist Glass’s Guide. They also believe that a healthy market has developed for prestige cars that would once have been considered almost unsaleable.

Rupert Pontin, head of valuations, said: “A high-level Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi or Jaguar that has covered 100,000-150,000 miles at five to eight years old is probably worth at least 10% less than identical models that have only done an average of 10,000 miles per year.

“However, if it has been properly maintained, the starship car probably looks every bit as good and, thanks to good build quality, is probably not much less reliable or much more expensive to run.

“It’s a cost effective way of getting behind the wheel of a nice car that will impress the neighbours.

“Buyers are waking up to the fact that these vehicles represent something of a bargain and we are seeing an increase in demand. There are also a number of specialist dealers that specifically supply this sector.”

Pontin said the market was catching on to the fact that modern cars were capable of much higher mileages than even just a few years ago.

“Even at the turn of the century, 100,000 miles meant that a car was nearing the end of its useful life. Nowadays, cars at that mileage are just getting into their stride. If properly maintained, most modern models are capable of 250,000 miles and even more.

“This is true of nearly all cars but the advantage that higher level, prestige models have is that the quality of their finish is higher than the mass market.

“This is especially true of interiors. A well-cared-for high mileage Audi A6 or A8 will still be a very nice place in which to sit, for example, with little obvious wear.

“If you make the basic checks on condition and ensure that they have a comprehensive service history, these vehicles can make an excellent buy. They are potentially no more than half way through their lives.”

Pontin added that what tended to eventually kill older cars of this type was not the fact that they were no longer viable vehicles but that the repairs needed to keep them on the road were no longer economically sustainable.

“Big prestige cars like Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series can keep going almost forever if properly maintained,” he said.

“However, they reach a point after a decade or so where they are worth just a couple of thousand or few hundred pounds and something breaks that is small but essential and expensive to repair.”

 

Apr 262016
 

potholesA new study of 3-8 year old cars from Warranty Direct reveals the Mercedes Benz R-Class (06-15) and Saab 9-3 (04-12) are the cars most likely to suffer suspension damage. Hyundai’s Santa Fe (06-12) and the Land Rover Discovery 3 (04-10) have the next most susceptible suspension, with 13.9 and 13.3 percent respectively of Warranty Direct customers claiming for axle & suspension damage annually.

Potholes are typically at their most prevalent on Britain’s underinvested road network between January and April, as heavy rainfall undermines the lower structural layers of roads, creating cracks then more potholes, increasing the likelihood of suspension damage.

The recent Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey revealed that local authorities spent a total of £118.4m filling 2,190,026 potholes across England and Wales in the last year, but also paid out an additional £13.5m in compensation claims.

With the average repair bill for pothole damage now £350, Warranty Direct’s database of 50,000 live policies shows that the most vulnerable cars are more than 15 times worse than the most robust models.

At the opposite end of the scale, the Ford S-Max (06-15) and Nissan Qashqai (07-14) share top billing as the cars least likely to be affected by the UK’s pothole-ridden roads; both boast an impressive clean sheet when it comes to model claims relating to axle & suspension damage.

Top 10 cars with the highest % chance of an annual axle & suspension related claim

Number

Make Model Group Year % chance of an axle & suspension related claim annually

1

MERCEDES-BENZ R-Class (06-15) 15.82%

2

SAAB 9-3 (04-12)

15.05%

3

HYUNDAI SANTA FE (06-12) 13.98%

4

LAND ROVER DISCOVERY 3 (04-10)

13.37%

5 MERCEDES-BENZ GL-Class (06-15)

12.61%

6 VAUXHALL ASTRA (04-12)

11.56%

7 LANDROVER RANGE ROVER (02-13)

11.28%

8 BMW X5 (07-13)

11.27%

9 MERCEDES-BENZ E-Class (06-09)

11.17%

10 MERCEDES-BENZ CLS-Class (05-10)

11.15%

 

Warranty Direct managing director, David Gerrans, said: “The variation you see in suspension damage from one model to another is remarkable.”

“Potholes are a major factor in causing axle & suspension failure and any vehicle regularly driven over impaired road surfaces or used for commuting over pothole-strewn routes will ultimately incur damage eventually.

“Components such as bushes, track rod ends, drop links, springs and dampers are all susceptible. Visit our Potholes.co.uk site for detailed advice on how best to make a compensation claim for any vehicle damaged by potholes.”

Apr 252016
 

VW polo

 

 

 

 

 

Volkswagen Polo vs Ford Fiesta

A small hatchback, or supermini is all many of us need to cope with daily commute and a bit of shopping. So which ones are best?

Why Buy?

The Volkswagen Polo is a just a smaller Golf and that’s why people love it. It is a quality product which makes owners feel good. It also feels like a larger car. The Fiesta is a hard working, reliable hatchback, that is cheap to run and easy to drive. A practical good value choice for many.

Which models?

The Volkswagen Polo was revised in 2005 with a fresh front end. There is a choice of excellent engines, small petrols and diesels. The Ford Fiesta stepped up a gear in ’08 and has a great range of 3 and 5 door cars starting with a 1.25 petrol and the very economical ECOnetic diesel.

Are they reliable?

Both cars have a great reputation for not breaking down. The Volkswagen Polo is tough and the Fiesta is just as durable but it is cheaper to fix overall. Mostly it is tyres, brakes and consumable items that fail.

How much do they cost?

Volkswagen Polos from 2008 in tidy condition with low mileage is over £4000. However, £2000 will buy a 2005 1.2E or 1.4S petrol. Fiestas from 2009 are £4700 for a 1.25 Style. £5500 gets the 2011 1.4 TDCi diesel, or a 2013 1.0 petrol. There really are so many to choose from.

Sum Up

There is not much to choose between them in ability. The Fiesta is better value, the Polo offers a slightly more prestigious feel. 

Volkswagen Polo

Average Repair Cost: £253.84

Engine: 18.58%*

Axle/Suspension: 33.63*

Electrical: 21.24*

Warranty Direct Rating: Above average

Ford Fiesta

Average Repair Cost: £202.04

Axle & Suspension: 33.85*

Cooling: 20%*

Electrical: 15.38%*

Cooling & Heating: 20.00*

Warranty Direct Rating: Above Average

* failure rate