Sep 042017
 

When choosing a new car, it’s easy to spend as much on optional extras as it is on the car itself. From being seduced by the latest mod-cons to the occasional, dodgy dealer trying to promote unnecessary extras, consumers are inundated with options.

While some extras won’t add value, not having certain options on a modern car can make it almost impossible to sell. Choosing which to purchase can be confusing, so we’ve put together our top tips on what’s really worth it…

Built-in sat nav

Traditionally, integrated sat nav units were an expensive luxury. However, they are increasingly being offered as standard, and even optional or upgraded units can be cheaper than what you’d have paid a few years ago.

A built-in sat nav can help a car retain value, especially in executive models where it’s often considered an essential. It’s worth knowing it can be more expensive to update maps than with standalone GPS, but lots of manufacturers are now offering free updates with their integrated systems for fixed periods. Keep an eye out for these deals to save on future costs.

Air conditioning/climate control

Very few cars are sold without air con. However, several smaller city and supermini cars may not include air conditioning, or only make it available as an extra.

It’s worth adding air conditioning if you have the option, as you’ll be thankful for it on warm days and it can keep your windows frost and mist-free in cold weather.

Not only this, but air conditioning and climate control are among the handful of optional extras that help to boost cars’ resale value. Some compact hatchbacks can even be worth a few hundred pounds more with it fitted.

It’s worth bearing in mind problems with A/C can sometimes occur in built-in systems. Make sure your warranty covers air-conditioning to avoid unplanned costs.

Parking sensors

Parking sensors have been widely used for some time now and are the most common parking device on the market. They not only help to improve resale values, but some models come with both front and rear sensors, which give an audible/visual warning of approaching objects. Not only does this help to make parking easier (especially for larger cars), vehicles with parking sensors can see the average insurance premium fall by 13 percent.

Which aren’t worth it?

Personalised or statement colours

While you might adore your bright pink Fiat 500, there is a chance not all would be as bold in their colour choice. Silver, black and blue are the most common car colours in the UK – while not the most exciting, personalising your car colour to something more flamboyant could limit the number of potential buyers for your car.

Gaudy body kits

If you’re looking to fit a full body kit, a bigger exhaust, or alloy wheels you may wish to reconsider. Just as with personalised colour, these options are very much down to personal taste. You could find it harder to sell and some modifications can raise insurance prices by up to 66 percent and even invalidate your car warranty.

Adaptive suspension

Usually an option on premium or performance vehicles, adaptive suspension constantly adjusts in response to changing road conditions to ensure a continuously smooth drive. While this is a great perk, it typically raises the cost of a car by nearly £1,000, without necessarily adding enough value for it to be worth the cost when it comes to selling your car on.

Sep 032017
 

The prospect of buying a brand-new car is an exciting one, especially as some of the newest models give access to the latest features in terms of safety, performance and comfort.

It’s vital you give your decision careful consideration though, as different needs, budgets and features, means finding the right option can be confusing.

That is why we’ve put together our Warranty Direct guide on what to look for when buying a new car.

Budget

Before you start looking at favoured options, you should finalise a budget and know how to maximise it. Some will be able to buy a new car outright, but many of us will need to consider finance options. Some of the most cost-effective finance deals are available with 0% APR and if size is not an issue smaller models can be a good option as many are available from as little as £150 per month.

How much your loan costs will depend on your credit history, and knowing this can be useful as it will give a better idea of what to expect from lenders. The Consumer Credit Act allows consumer access to credit reports by post or online.

Longevity

Taking a more practical view when it comes to vehicle choice is a good way to pick a car that’s best for the long-term. Whilst a small sports car may retain its value well and be suitable for your current lifestyle, it might be completely inappropriate for your needs a few years down the line.

Economy, in terms of MPG and fuel type, will also be important with the new diesel tax on the horizon. Smaller petrol cars will be good to consider after this change, as they will most likely retain their value better and have lower road tax.

Features and extras

Motoring technology is advancing at an unparalleled rate and in-car systems such as WiFi, 4G connectivity and voice control are becoming commonplace. However, technology will continue to develop features such as parking assist, night vision cameras and autonomous safety features, meaning more improved safety and comfort.

Assessing and researching these latest features will allow you to work out which deals are the best value for money when it comes to meeting your own, personal requirements.

Models that hold their value

The biggest issue when buying a new car is they can lose their value quickly. Most cars depreciate at a rate of around 20% per year over the first three years of ownership. Some models shed cash quicker than others, meaning you’ll get a lot less when you come to sell it on.

It’s important to research which vehicles usually retain their value better than others, such as budget SUVs or smaller sports cars.

For more information on depreciation, you can also consult our guide.

You can guard against any potential loss of value by investing in a GAP insurance policy, which is particularly worthwhile if you’re paying for a new motor on finance.

When it comes to a car, assessing your needs, financial situation, and forthcoming industry developments will mean you’re well-placed to get the maximum for your money and your vehicle will retain more value for longer.

Jul 302017
 

Top tips for driving abroad this summer

It’s that wonderful time of year when we begin to count down the days until summer getaways. Whether you’re taking the Eurotunnel to soak up French culture or planning an American road trip, you need to make sure you’re prepared if you are going to drive abroad.

Worryingly, the number of drivers involved in crashes across Europe has risen 160% in five years. To avoid such circumstances, it is essential you know the correct driving regulations and plan for the journey ahead.

Here are Warranty Direct’s top tips to equip you for foreign roads:

Document your journey

If you are renting a car or driving your own car abroad it is essential you take the necessary documentation.Just like at home, you could be pulled over and asked for your documents at any time. Failure to show the right ones could result in a fine or worse – you could be hauled off the road.

You will need the following documents:

  • A valid driving licence (not provisional)
  • The paper part of your driving licence is no longer needed, though a pre-1998 paper license is still valid.
  • The original copy of your vehicle’s registration document (V5C)
  • Your motor insurance certificate (inform your insurer when you’re going abroad to ensure you are covered)
  • Documentation of European cover on your warranty policy 

Know the rules of the road

Don’t assume UK laws and regulations will apply in a foreign country. Every nation has its own set of driving regulations and ignorance won’t cut it with foreign authorities if you are caught breaking their laws! England and Wales have one of the highest drink-driving limits at 80mg of alcohol per 100mg of blood. However, most of Europe is 50 or less. If you are driving it is safest to steer clear of alcohol completely.

Check before you leave home for unexpected necessities. Forward planning could save you a lot of unwanted hassle. For example: did you know it is illegal to drive in France without a high-vis vest and a warning triangle? Not having these things could leave you with a hefty €135 fine. A first aid kit, fire extinguisher, warning triangle, headlamp beam reflectors or spare lamp bulbs are also compulsory in some areas of Europe.

Keep the change

Many European countries operate toll roads, including popular tourist destinations like France and Italy. Make sure you have plenty of loose change in the correct currency to cover toll costs. Urban road tolls like the London congestion charge are also now present in 14 European countries so plan ahead if you want to avoid additional charges!

Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland require a vignette (a form of road tax) sticker to drive on motorways. Costs vary from country to country, but these can be purchased from petrol stations along the route.

Take your time!

 Most European countries drive on the right-hand side of the road (except in the UK, Irish Republic, Cyprus and Malta), meaning you’ll be negotiating roundabouts in the opposite direction.  With such differences, confidence behind the wheel abroad can take time.

Stay in the slow lane until you feel ready to move into one of the faster lanes on a motorway and don’t try to overtake until you feel safe to do so.

Driving abroad can be a fantastic way to explore a foreign country, but in order to enjoy the experience, it’s essential to know the rules of the road in every location you visit and make sure you’re prepared for your journey in every way possible.