May 042017
 

Warranty Direct is delighted to announce that it will sponsor the Used Car Hero category at the Autocar Awards 2017.

The Autocar Awards are recognised by the car industry and car-buying public as the premier enthusiast awards ceremony, with only the very best cars of the past year and industry personalities winning trophies.

The event will be held in Silverstone’s Wing complex on 23rd May and will begin after the Car Dealer Expo (CDX) – the largest automotive retail conference of its kind in the UK.

Autocar is the world’s oldest car publication and is regarded as one of the most trusted titles for new car advice. It was launched 122 years ago in 1895, and continues to be the pre-eminent source of automotive test verdicts, news, opinion, features, video and photography today.

The Awards are influential not only because they honour the accomplishments of individual manufacturers, but also as they acknowledge the industry’s ability to continuously innovate and create vehicles to suit a wide range of preferences for today’s modern, tech-savvy consumer.

When deciding the annual short list for what makes a great used car, Autocar’s expert judges scrutinise reams of facts, figures and data generated by its road testing team. Vehicles are put through a rigorous series of tests at professional facilities to evaluate various parameters, including affordability, reliability, design, performance and driver satisfaction.

Contenders for the Warranty Direct Sponsored Used Car Hero Award have been chosen by Autocar’s used car expert James Ruppert and its readers, who nominated cars that they felt were worthy of consideration. The shortlist of six will be revealed in an Autocar magazine feature in the May 17 issue.

Other highlights of the evening include the awarding of the Issigonis Trophy, which honours the individual who has contributed the most to the health, excellence and competitiveness of the European motor industry. Previous winners include McLaren’s Ron Dennis, Porsche’s Wolfgang Hatz and PSA Peugeot Citroen’s Carlos Tavares.

The Sturmey Award, named after Autocar’s founder and recognising innovation and achievement across the automotive sector, will also be given. Previous winners include Tesla’s Elon Musk, Citroen’s Mark Lloyd and Ariel’s Simon Saunders.

Warranty Direct’s CEO Simon Ackers said:

“The Autocar Awards are one of the most anticipated events in the motoring calendar. Not only do they celebrate the highest achievers in the industry over the past 12 months, but they provide invaluable insight to consumers on the best vehicles currently on the market. We are proud to be sponsoring an award in partnership with one of Britain’s longest-established and most trusted enthusiast brands.

“Everyone at Warranty Direct HQ is currently on tenterhooks and keen to hear the latest automotive champions announced!”

Readers should continue to visit our blog page and social feeds where we will share news about the Award winners as soon as they’re presented.

With the ceremony mere weeks away, Warranty Direct will ensure its customers are kept up to speed with all the latest from the Autocar Awards ceremony.

May 042017
 

Motorway driving is often part and parcel of an everyday commute in the UK. However, research has shown the amount of careless, poor or even reckless driving on British motorways is too high, with 66,900 reported accidents* occurring on major roads in the UK from October 2015 to September 2016.

Driving on motorways can be stressful at the best of times, which is why we’ve put together some of our top tips to help our readers feel more confident whilst out on the open road.

Safety, Discipline & Etiquette

You often hear complaints of ‘middle-lane hoggers’, which is typical of people not adhering to Highway Code guidelines. If the road ahead is clear, you should always drive in the left-hand lane and when overtaking you should return back to the left as soon as you’re safely past. Contrary to popular belief, the left-hand lane is not simply for HGVs and coaches – everyone should use it. Make sure to indicate and check your mirrors and blind spots when overtaking.

While a hard shoulder might seem like a suitable place to stop, it shouldn’t be used as a rest spot on your journey. You should not use it unless in an event of a breakdown or directed to do so by police, uniformed officers, or by signs. Using this part of the motorway should be an absolute last resort, for a breakdown or emergency.

Common bad practices such as tailgating, undertaking and cutting up other drivers are ill-advised. Tailgating* has been shown to cause one third of all crashes on the road. Such accidents could be easily prevented if enough room was left between cars. The ideal way to judge this is to allow 10 feet of distance between the car in front for every 10mph you are driving.

Fuel efficiency

Motorway driving is the perfect opportunity to operate a vehicle more economically. Not only does it save you money, but you are also helping the environment by reducing emissions. Aggressive braking, accelerating, and frequent gear shifting are all ways to use up fuel unnecessarily. You should maintain a consistent speed for optimum fuel efficiency. If you have an MPG consumption display, pay close attention to it – target your ideal MPG and adjust your speed accordingly to make long-term fuel savings.

Reducing weight by removing roof racks or unnecessary luggage makes a big difference to the amount of fuel used throughout a journey, as does improving aerodynamics by keeping windows and sunroofs closed. By adopting Eco-driving practices in general, you can help reduce wear and tear on your car.

Know your motorway signs

There are certain signs you may be more likely to see on a motorway and it’s worth making sure you remind yourself of these before a journey. For example: amber flashing lights are a warning for a hazard of some kind on the road. If you’re confronted by amber lights, you need to adjust your speed and look out for the hazard until you pass a signal that gives the ‘all clear’ sign.

A potential hazard could be temporary maximum speed limits, lane closures or the need to exit the motorway at the next exit, when accompanied by an arrow pointing to the left.

When following temporary signage on the motorway, signs which have a yellow background and either a hollow black square or circle, or a solid black triangle or diamond shape are symbols which show emergency diversion routes for motorway and other main road traffic.

Adjusting to conditions

Whilst heavy rain and fog are known to create more difficult conditions on roads, some motorists do not always adapt their driving style accordingly. In heavy rain, you must slow your vehicle down and leave more room between the car in front as your stopping distance can increased your control is reduced. At 70mph in good conditions, a car’s stopping distance is 96 metres, or 24 car lengths. In wet conditions this will be at least double, and in icy conditions the overall stopping distance will be at least ten times this.

When it comes to diminished visibility, your fog lights should only be turned on when visibility is below 100 metres. For the benefit of other drivers, it is better not to use rear fog lights, as they can mask your brake lights and dazzle other drivers.

In case of a breakdown

In the event of a breakdown, it’s important to try and get off the motorway if possible. If you can’t, make sure you stop as far left as you can, with the wheels turned left.

Turn your hazards on immediately and if it’s dark or foggy, keep your side lights on. You and any passengers should leave the vehicle using the doors on the left-hand side and stand behind the barrier. You should keep any animals you have with you in the car – even if you have them on a lead there’s a chance they could run off, which could be disastrous for your pet and other traffic.

Don’t attempt to make a repair yourself, but simply call your breakdown provider and request assistance. BreakdownCare Plus from Warranty Direct will provide you with benefits such as roadside assistance and nationwide recovery in the UK, to legal advice and uninsured loss recovery.

* – Based on statistics available at Gov.uk

** – SeriousAccidents.com

Motorway sign examples taken from Highway Code UK Know Your Road Traffic Signs Guide

Apr 042017
 

Whilst the majority of car dealerships are very reputable and have high professional standards, there are some dealers who prioritise meeting sales targets over the individual needs of a customer. Sometimes, it’s difficult for consumers not to feel  baffled by the array of motoring  terms and acronyms, predominantly only used by car salespeople.

To prepare you for the onslaught of potential motoring jargon you may potentially experience when buying a car, Warranty Direct has decoded key terms to put you on a level playing field with a dealer and ensure you come out with the right car, at no unnecessary extra expense.

Terms

A Wooden Duck: This term would be used by salesman to colleagues and typically refers to a customer who does not haggle or negotiate. Whilst not necessarily derogatory, it could mean that a dealership is more focused on looking to sell to an ‘easy target’, rather than considering the individual needs of a customer.

Whopper with Cheese: Another one from the dealer when they’re trying to dupe a customer. This is a deal that has an exorbitant profit. A salesperson using this sort of language should be avoided, as it shows they have no qualms with ripping off a buyer.

Grinder: Also used to describe a customer, but this time one that drives a hard bargain. This is when it takes a long time to negotiate a deal with a strong customer, intent on negotiating for a discounted price.

FDSH: This is a Full Dealer Service History. This is essentially the same as a Full Service History (FSH) but service stamps have been acquired by a registered dealer as opposed to the owner of the car.

HPI check: An important used vehicle check history which determines if a car is stolen, accident damaged, written off or clocked. If a car is listed as any of these things, then it is highly advisable not to buy! (Or if stolen, please do alert the police.)

List price: You may hear a salesman talking about a car’s ‘list price’. This is simply the cost of a car as it’s driven off the forecourt. There may be room for manoeuvre or deals to be done on this price, so it is worth negotiating.

NVH: When discussing the quality of a car, its NVH may be discussed. This is referred to the vehicle’s noise, vibration and harshness and is used as a subjective measure for the quality of vehicle

Q-plate: Registration plates starting with a Q mean a car was either not originally registered in the UK, it was built using off-the-shelf parts (e.g. a kit car), or its origins are unknown. A car’s original number plate can be reapplied if the proper documentation for it is recovered.

VIN: This is the vehicle identification number – a unique number, normally 17 digits, given to each vehicle during manufacturing. This is to help track vehicles that are defective or have been written off, as license plates can be easily changed.

Tactics

Loss-leader advertising: The dealership sells a couple of unwanted cars at an unrealistically low price to attract buyers, then sells them a pricier vehicle.

Low balling: The salesman tells the customer an unrealistically low price that they should aim to pay for a new car. When they come back because they could not get it for that price elsewhere, they are convinced to buy it for more.

Cut and shut: Readers beware! This is a car damaged in an accident which has been repaired by fusing one or more vehicles together. While a dealership should not be selling this type of car, if you are buying privately then this is something that you should watch out for as the vehicle may not reach recommended safety levels. Checking the car’s VIN number, complete service history and MOT certificates can be the best ways of finding out if a car is ‘cut and shut’.

Limited-time deals: The phrase ‘for a limited time only’ has entered popular usage – and for good reason: it’s an effective sales tactic. Finance with 0% interest, discounted models and free extra equipment are often touted, creating a palpable sense of urgency. Be aware though, while the duration of such offers may well be limited, they occur so frequently that another one will come along sooner than you think.

‘Free’ extras: Be careful of free gifts the salesperson throws into a deal. They’re only trying to slow down negotiations and make you pay a higher price for the actual car. Try to stay focused on getting the best possible value.

Sucking back: This refers to the technique of giving you a very low sum for your part-exchange car, and then compensating by giving you a fantastic price on your new one. Sales people hope the true profit will be hidden in the intricacies of the deal, and aim to make you think you’ve got an amazing deal.

The maze of buying a new car can be full of challenges and difficult decisions, but decoding what a salesperson is saying shouldn’t be one of them. If you already know the tricks of the trade, you’re far less likely to fall for them and more likely to get a good deal.

At Warranty Direct we pride ourselves on being clear and transparent about our products. We don’t want customers to be confused by the meanings of our terms and policies, so we’ve gone the extra mile and compiled detailed policy guides – so every customer understands exactly what they are paying for.

Apr 032017
 

Tips on getting the best sale price for your motor

A car is one of the biggest financial investments that many of us will make and it can be an important part of everyday travel. However, there may come a time where you and your beloved motor must part ways. You may have a desire to upgrade to a newer and/or a more economical model. You may have to change your vehicle type to be more accommodating for business or family life. Your income from selling your current motor should help contribute to your next purchase, so it pays to have made the effort to keep your car in good condition. Not only will this help you get the best possible price when you’re ready to sell but it will also be safe and reliable for its new owner as well.

Warranty Direct has complied some straight forward tips that can help you with selling your motor.

First impressions count

When selling your car, make sure that it is clean and tidy inside and out. A buyer will want to visualise themselves in your vehicle, and that will be a lot harder to do if the vehicle doesn’t look appealing.

A grubby, unwashed vehicle exterior may also give the impression your car hasn’t been looked after properly to a buyer. As well as giving the car a good wash, it’s worth paying attention to the condition of the car’s body. Any scratches that can be buffed out, small chips filled in and dents removed will make your vehicle instantly more desirable and add value.

On the inside, the interior should be as equally appealing. A floor littered with old receipts, sweet wrappers, CDs and empty water bottles for example will not help you sell. Another cost-effective tip is to change any worn interiors, such as old floor mats – you will be surprised at how small tweaks can smarten up your car’s overall appearance.

Provide a valid MOT, service & warranty

A valid MOT is essential for any car on the road. If it is close to running out, it should be renewed before selling. No one wants to purchase a vehicle and then immediately have to shell out for unknown faults, due to poor maintenance. A recent MOT will give the buyer more confidence in the vehicle, as opposed to a car which may not have been professionally checked for a while.

Arranging a complete service history will also help give any potential buyers a full informed background into how your vehicle has been maintained throughout your ownership. It’s important to make sure you have the vehicle’s V5 or Logbook documentation as it will also show the necessary information. You’ll also need it if you do complete a sale as the V5 / Logbook will need updating to reflect the new owner’s details.

It is also useful to check the status of your warranty, whether it is a manufacture’s or an extended one, as selling with one that is still valid could allow you to get more money for your vehicle. For a car’s warranty to be binding it will need to have been serviced in the last 12 months and any issues fixed prior to sale.

An added benefit of most extended warranties is that they are often transferable (for a small fee) if you sell before your policy expires. This can add value and make your car more attractive to buyers, but make sure you check with your provider if there are any reasons why transferring may not be possible.

Ensure the price is right

Once you have checked on the warranty status and MOT, you will need to decide how much you want to list your car for. Online research through car buying websites such as Auto Trader can provide a good indication of price by allowing you to see how much similar cars have been selling for.

It might also be worth checking your car’s depreciation from the original purchase value. This can help give you an idea of a realistic expectation of value from any potential buyers.

List your vehicle correctly

When listing your vehicle, it is essential to describe it as accurately as possible. The car make, model and year the car was first registered is vital. It also helps to inform any potential buyers looking at your listing about any faults that may currently exist with the vehicle – even if they’re small and not necessarily required following the last service or MOT.

The more informative and accurate your listing is, the better the chance of being able to attract the right buyer. A lack of information or exaggeration of facts can hinder any potential sales. The buyer knows exactly what they are getting for their cash and letting them know clearly with your listing is the best way to do that.

You must detail the year the car was registered and ensure all its documents are up-to-date and passed onto the new owner.

Completing the sale

If you’ve managed to sell your car, it is important and a legal requirement that you let the DVLA know you no longer own the vehicle and it has a new owner. Updating and sending the vehicle’s V5 documentation will allow the DVLA to update its records accordingly. You must also make sure you cancel your current vehicle tax. The new owner of the car will have to tax the vehicle themselves.

Informing the DVLA and making the required changes to documentation and tax can protect you from any parking tickets, speeding fines, tax or SORN fines that may happen with the new owner. So, make sure the DVLA are informed of the sale as soon as possible otherwise you may be handed any future offences of the new owner.

If applicable, your warranty company will need to know about the sale as well. Whilst most providers are more than happy to swap a warranty, the new owner’s details will still need to be checked and logged. Failure to do so will make the warranty void.