Jul 312016
 

The race is currently on to create the next breakthrough in driving – autonomous cars. With technology companies and car manufacturers rigorously testing their own take on the driverless car, how far are we from the new future of motoring?

The support for autonomous / driverless cars was front and centre of recent new government backed legislation in early 2016. The overall aim was to have motorists buying and using self-driving cars by 2020. Chances are, if you’ve followed news within the motoring world, you’ve likely been hearing a lot recently about plans for driverless cars and many are keen to jump on the bandwagon.

Partially autonomous cars are already available now to motorists; with the ‘Parking Assist’ feature widely embodied in a variety of car makes and models.  Furthermore, some cars on the market are already experimenting with the technology themselves such as the high profile Tesla Model S “Autopilot” feature. But this has only been an indication of what a fully driverless car could potentially achieve.

Plans for full autonomous cars have been frequently announced across manufacturers and mainstream companies. Volvo laid down plans earlier in the year regarding their ambitious trial of recruiting members of the British public to test their autonomous technology on a public highway. This particular test will see a limited number of semi-AD cars running in London early next year.  Similarly, The GATEway project has also opened their doors to the public to participate in similar trials – conducted at the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab in Greenwich.

Search engine giants Google have also been flying their flag for driverless cars for a considerable amount of time. They’ve been constantly in the spotlight with their own vehicle throughout its testing phase. However, early reviews from journalists were not thrilled by the car’s performance. This hasn’t been helped by some additional public testing hiccups along the way with the occasional crash and police pulling a test model over for being too slow. It seems Google’s advantage in the race to create the first driverless car has faded. With other companies like Uber and possibilities surrounding Apple’s involvement in the motor industry, it’s clear that this method of transport seems high on agenda’s for the manufacturer and technology companies.

As it stands it’s too early to see who will launch their driverless vehicle first, so don’t expect them to appear on driveways near you just yet. There are still many other areas to address before driverless cars can be properly inducted onto our roads. Motor insurance guidelines, driving tests and other areas of established road rules and regulations also need to be prepared for the dawn of the driverless motor. Despite the backing of UK legislation, the autonomous future seems to be coming though at a cautious pace.

Jul 302016
 

Electrical gremlins are the faults most likely to provide motorists with an unwanted repair bill just as their car exits the standard three-year manufacturer’s warranty period, according to Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index.

While some car makers offer longer new car warranties, sometimes of up to seven years, most still offer the typical three years’ worth of cover.

Just over a quarter of cars suffer an electrical breakdown in their fourth year on the road, but axle and suspension faults have the sharpest increase between a car’s third and fourth year, jumping up nearly 4% to just over one in five (22%).

Engine failures are the third most likely thing to go wrong as a car comes out of the protective umbrella offered by a three-year manufacturer warranty, with 17% suffering a fault.

Over the last five years, air con and electrical faults are the failures that have consistently increased as soon as a car enters its fourth year.

Data analysed from the 30,000 Warranty Direct policies that were live in 2015 showed that electrical and engine faults are actually more likely in a three-year old car. But the repair bill for an engine failure on a four-year old car is considerably more expensive, at an average of £740.76 as opposed to £692.26 on a three-year old vehicle.

Gearbox faults are the most expensive to fix on a four-year old car, with an average repair bill of £896.22, more than a hundred pounds more than on a three-year old car.

The cost of fixing steering system woes also jumps between a car’s third and fourth years, again by more than £100, to an average of £532.37.

Overall, the average repair cost for a four-year old car is £480.74.

Jul 292016
 

The sleek, Japanese-built, Mazda MX-5 (05-15) has been named the most reliable* used convertible for summer driving, in a new study of 3-8 year old** cars by the industry’s leading provider of direct consumer warranties, Warranty Direct.

The company analysed its database of 50,000 live policies to reveal that Mazda’s classic and recently-revived roadster is the least likely of all convertibles on Warranty Direct books to leave you stranded with pricey, undesirable repairs.

The Vauxhall’s Tigra (04-09) is the next best car on the list, boasting the second lowest maximum repair cost in the top 10 convertibles table at £663.74; the Tigra however, is more than twice as likely than the MX-5 to suffer a fault, with 18 in every 100 expected to break down each year.

The Peugeot 206 CC (98-09), Mercedes-Benz SLK (04-11) and Volvo C70 (06-13) complete the top five, with both the Mercedes-Benz and the Volvo racking up wallet wilting maximum repair costs of £2695.02 and £2086.51 respectively, more than three times that of the Mazda in the most expensive case.

Top 10 Most Reliable Convertibles

Make Model Year Reliability Index Maximum Repair Cost
1 Mazda MX-5 (05-15) 16 £501.4
2 Vauxhall Tigra (04-09) 36 £663.74
3 Peugeot 206 CC (98-09) 72 £1701.37
4 Mercedes-Benz SLK (04-11) 92 £2695.02
5 Volvo C70 (06-13) 101 £2086.51
6 Volkswagen Eos (06-14) 126 £5864.46
7 Audi TT Roadster (06-14) 132 £4408.37
8 BMW Z4 (09-16) 136 £2152.4
9 Audi A3 Cabriolet (03-13) 145 £4373.11
10 BMW 3 Series (07-13) 204 £5958.06

Warranty Direct’s Chief Operating Officer, Philip Ward, said: “With the summer holidays upon us and the recent heatwave, many drivers might just be thinking about finally dropping the top.

“The Mazda MX-5 is head and shoulders above its competition. It’s fun to drive, has long-proven reliability and is surprisingly affordable in terms of convertible ownership.

“Manual folding roofs have fewer parts to go wrong, whereas modern electric roofs include motors and hydraulic pumps, which can cause expensive repairs. This explains why some high-end convertibles appear lower on the list.”

Electrical faults are the most common on the top 10 most reliable drop-tops, with an average repair cost of £349.35.

Nearly two in five (37%) of BMW Z4 garage visits are due to electrical faults, whilst 28% of Audi A3 Cabriolet breakdowns are on account of engine faults.

The BMW 3 Series is the most expensive car in the top 10 to fix if something does go wrong, with repair bills soaring to £5958.06.

At the opposite end of the scale, the Porsche Boxster (04-12) is the least reliable convertible, with 42 in every 100 suffering problems which cost an average of £731.07 to repair.

*- Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index score is calculated on a combination of vehicle criteria from a database of more than 50,000 live policies:

  • Frequency of failure
  • Cost of repair
  • Duration of repairs
  • Average age and mileage

The higher the Reliability Index score, the worse the car is – the lower the score, the better and the average RI number is 100. For more information on Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index, visit; www.reliabilityindex.com/what-is

** – Warranty Direct looked only at 3-8 year old vehicles for which there was a minimum of 100 policies on each vehicle to be robust.

Jul 052016
 

Many motorists are taking up the opportunity to get GAP insurance upon the purchase of a new vehicle; even if it’s a used car. GAP Insurance is a product just as popular and sometimes more desired than a car warranty.  So why should car owners consider this insurance cover?

Nearly half a million cars are written off each year through accidents and around 150,000 cars are stolen*.  For those unfortunate enough to experience this situation, they may find themselves in a tricky situation, finding cash, to replace their lost motor. Motor insurers will commonly not pay out the full original value of the motor and instead only pay out a settlement equal to the value of the car at the time of the accident.

So if a brand new car costing £20,000 depreciates in three years to £10,000 and is then written off due to accident or theft, the motor insurer will only pay out the £10,000. The trouble now is finding the additional £10,000 to purchase a for-like motor and this is where GAP insurance plays its key role.

GAP insurance adds that extra protection to the depreciation of a motorist’s vehicle. As the name indicates, it will cover that missing gap of money to meet the actual value of the car at the time of purchase. So with GAP insurance taken out against the vehicle, that additional £10,000 doesn’t become so hard to find.  That is GAP insurance in its simplest form**.

The appealing factor of GAP insurance is that it available for brand new or used cars brought through dealers and used cars purchased privately in a variety of options.

Return to Value: This GAP insurance option pay the difference between what the motor insurer pays and the value of the car when GAP insurance is taken out.

Return to Invoice:  This GAP insurance option covers the different between what the motor insurer pays and the original invoice price paid for the car.

Vehicle Replacement: Designed for new cars, this option pays the difference between what the road insurer pays and the cost of a brand new car of the same make, model and specification. Even if manufacturer’s prices have increased since your original car was purchased.

Ultimately, having a car written off can be a distressing experience for anyone without having to think about how to replace it. GAP insurance can help bring that extra element of security so if the worse possible scenario with your car happens – getting back on the road will be easier.

Warranty Direct’s GAP Cover Insurance options have been designed to be flexible to motorists’ requirements whether you have a brand new or used car brought from a dealer or privately. With wide claims limit range and a dedicated team, Warranty Direct’s GAP Cover Insurance is designed to protect motorists from the pitfalls of a “total loss.” Call today on 0800 097 8838 or visit gapcoverinsurance.co.uk .

* – Based on stats provided by Honest John and LV=Car Insurance Report 2014

**- Terms and conditions apply.

Warranty Direct is an Insurance Intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our FCA Register Number is 309075. Warranty Direct Limited is a company, registered in England and Wales No. 3233010 at Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 2XX. Policies are subject to English Law. 

Jul 012016
 

 Stop

Three new models recently launched by European manufacturers have been independently tested for safety by Euro NCAP. The Alfa Romeo Giulia, the SEAT Ateca and the VW Tiguan all reached five stars with safety equipment which is fitted as standard throughout the European Union.

From the beginning of this year, Euro NCAP applies a Dual Rating scheme where the default rating issued is based on standard safety equipment available throughout the range. Manufacturers may apply for a second rating, showing the additional safety provided by an optional pack, however, the Giulia, Ateca and Tiguan come with superior standard safety equipment as standard throughout Europe.

All three vehicles offer autonomous emergency braking (AEB) systems that help to avoid or mitigate collisions between cars and with pedestrians. Testing of this important safety technology was introduced by Euro NCAP in 2014 for car crashes and this year for pedestrian crashes. The car industry has responded quickly and is fitting an increasing number of models with these life-saving systems.

Secretary General, Michiel van Ratingen, said: ‘Euro NCAP shows what can be achieved when governments, consumer groups and motoring clubs from across Europe collaborate. Together, we can exert an influence on the car industry that would be hard to achieve otherwise. We are glad to see some of the major manufacturers making safety equipment standard across EU28, although we know that markets outside the Eurozone are sometimes less well served.’