Jul 112017
 

At Warranty Direct we know a car can be a big, financial investment. That is why we started the Reliability Index in 2005 to give consumers insight into some of the best performing models and manufacturers. However, even the most reliable manufacturers can sometimes discover faults with certain vehicles.

Earlier this year, the DVSA revealed 2.2 million models were affected by recalls involving faulty airbags, fire risks and steering failures, but just 47.7 % went back for repairs. This suggests there could be potentially dangerous models still operating on UK roads.

Whilst these figures do seem worrying – how concerned should consumers really be and what can we do to ensure we comply with car recall procedures?

So, what exactly is a car recall?

Even after a car model has launched, manufacturers make continual tweaks to new releases. If a problem is identified, a recall could be issued if it’s serious enough. Recalls can also be triggered by customers experiencing issues caused by a car defect. These include problems such as brake or airbag faults, which compromise safety –  but they can be for less worrying concerns like faulty sunroofs.Recalls are issued by ‘service measures,’ which means work is carried out when a customer next brings their car in for a routine service. Alternatively, if a manufacturer recognises a fault posing safety risks, the brand will attempt to contact owners of every affected vehicle to arrange repairs.

Recalls are issued by ‘service measures,’ which means work is carried out when a customer next brings their car in for a routine service. Alternatively, if a manufacturer recognises a fault posing safety risks, the brand will attempt to contact owners of every affected vehicle to arrange repairs.

Do I have to pay if my car is recalled?

You should never be asked to pay if your car is affected by an active safety recall. These are put in place by manufacturers and if your car is confirmed as affected, the workshop carrying out the repair will be paid directly by the brand.

However, if problems are found during the recall process, like an unrelated item suffering wear and tear, additional chargeable work may be reported.

If your vehicle is outside a manufacturer warranty it’s always a good idea to purchase a used car warranty, to help safeguard you against such additional costs.

Will my car lose value if I don’t observe a recall?

Quite possibly – yes. More importantly, ignoring safety recalls could be dangerous, particularly if concerning fire risks and problems with brakes, steering or air bags. Vauxhall had to issue a second recall for its Zafira family car’s electrical components earlier this year after fires due to the first fix proved ineffective.

It’s essential any recall work is completed. Aside from possible safety implications, a missed recall could reduce a car’s value, make it harder to sell or even invalidate your warranty and insurance.

How worried should I be?

You don’t necessarily need to be unnerved if you read a dramatic media headline about your car – recalls are often precautionary. Only in very rare cases are owners instructed not to drive their cars until recall work has been completed.

The majority of manufacturers say investigations are triggered when just a single digit number of cases of specific faults appear. Whilst this often results in recalling many cars for precautionary fixes, this means not all vehicles will necessarily be faulty.

These actions also show manufacturers are taking all precautions to protect customers – which should help reduce concerns, as the majority of issues are not life-threateningly serious and if they were, your manufacturer would be certain to make you aware immediately. However, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and if unsure, you should get in touch with your vehicle manufacturer with any questions as soon as possible.

How can I find out whether a recall notice has been issued on my car?

 A manufacturer must notify the DVSA of a recall and complete the below actions:

  • Write to every registered keeper notifying them of defects
  • Spell out the fix required and consequences if the problem isn’t remedied
  • Tell the owner how to proceed after receiving the notification

You can also see if your vehicle is on a manufacturer’s recall list by checking its website or by searching DVSA’s online records.

It’s vital to notify the DVSA if you’ve bought or sold a second-hand vehicle, as if your contact details aren’t up-to-date you won’t receive this important information. The next steps for owners are usually as simple as contacting your local franchised dealer and arranging a free repair or replacement parts.

Warranty Direct offers warranties for most cars and vans up to 12 years of age along with motorbikes up to 10 years of age. Policies include cover for Wear & Tear*, failure caused by non-insured parts and failures discovered during routine Service and MOTs.

* – Covered from day 1 on renewals or continuing a manufacturer’s policy. Otherwise a 90-day exclusion period applies.

Warranty Cover is arranged and administered by Warranty Direct Limited. Warranty Direct 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

Jul 112017
 

Buying a used car at an official dealership normally guarantees the car you have chosen is being sold as described. However, many cars are bought and sold through private sellers.

With a survey revealing 45% of those buying privately felt ‘deceived’ after their transaction, we’ve looked into how consumers can avoid potential financial shortfalls due to previous vehicle owners.

‘One previous owner’

While consumer protection laws stipulate used car dealers cannot create ‘a misleading impression about previous vehicle usage’, some sellers are failing to highlight if a car was previously used by a hire firm, or for fleet purposes.

This can be problematic because a fleet or rental car will have been driven by multiple people, all of whom have different driving styles and attitudes. Unfortunately, some people treat rentals with less care, which means a new buyer may have to pay for unexpected repairs sooner than they anticipate.

Having a car warranty can be beneficial when purchasing a used vehicle because if you experience unexpected issues, failing parts due to wear and tear can be covered. You can contact Warranty Direct for more information on this and to receive a quote.

Make the necessary checks

The best way to find out information on a previous owner is to have a HPI check performed on the car before purchase. This will tell you about any outstanding finance, logbook loans, write-offs and mileage. Don’t rely on the vendor showing you their HPI report though, as fake checks can be produced for this very reason.

Before making any commitment to buy, you should also ask to see the V5 document which, validates the ‘one previous owner’ claim and names the registered keeper or business.

Ensuring reliable repairs documentation

Some may want to hide the number of repairs their vehicle has had and this is potentially one of the reasons it’s estimated there are currently more than 200,000 stolen V5C registration documents, or logbooks, in circulation.

 Discrepancies in repairs documents could leave new owners with problems, because when previous, unknown repairs are discovered, this could increase insurance costs. If you find out the vehicle was actually previously written off, many insurers could refuse to cover it at all.

However, there are ways consumers can combat these issues, such as ensuring log book details match what you’ve been given and checking the V5C document has a ‘DVL’ watermark. The serial number should not be between BG8229501 to BG9999030, or BI2305501 to BI2800000. If it is, the V5C might be stolen  and you should call the police as soon as it’s safe to.

Mileage discrepancies

It is estimated  1 in 16 cars have altered mileage, so if you are in the market for a new car, this is something to watch. The amount of miles could affect insurance costs, as higher mileage could mean higher risk of vehicle failure.

Discrepancies could also invalidate your car warranty as many companies won’t cover a car if it has done over the agreed number of miles covered by your warranty. This means if the ‘real’ mileage goes over your agreed provider limit you will not be covered.

However, there are ways to spot mileage alterations. Many manufacturers now programme speed odometers to show an asterisk if mileage is changed. Another way to key the mileage is to look in the service history book, which will have mileage listed at each service.

Security risk

When purchasing a second-hand car, you’re probably not thinking about the security risks due to recent advances in technology.

As most major car manufacturers now allow you to control your car from phone apps, a previous owner could still have access to that app, and your car could be operated by someone other than yourself. The only way to prevent this is by going to a factory-authorised dealership and revoking app access from the previous owner.

Checking a previous owner is vital to ensure you don’t end up paying for unexpected repairs and you’re not unknowingly invalidating your warranty or insurance. With these simple tips, we hope our customers will be able to protect themselves more easily from untrustworthy sellers.