Jan 062017
 

Warranty Direct are delighted to announce that they will reprise their role as the headline sponsor of the What Car? Car of the Year Awards for the fifth year running. The event will be held at a prestigious ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House in Park Lane on Wednesday 11 January, 2017 and we are already counting down the days until the event!

The What Car? Car of the Year Awards, in association with Warranty Direct, are the accolades every manufacturer wants to win. Only the cars setting the standards for their respective class are nominated, with various manufacturers competing for the top prize in motoring – the What Car? Car of the Year Award.

What Car? is the UK’s biggest car-buying brand and has been helping Britain’s car buyers make purchasing decisions for more than 40 years. Their tests are widely regarded as the most trusted source of new car advice. In addition to being one of the headline sponsors, Warranty Direct will also sponsor the individual City Car Award category, revealing the best new city car currently on the market.

Current long-list contenders for the Warranty Direct sponsored City Car Award are the Hyundai i10, Skoda Citigo, Suzuki Celerio and Volkswagen Up.

When considering the nominations for what makes a great city car, the judges have strict criteria, considering a number of key factors such as:

  • A keen list price with low running costs
  • Ease of use. The best urban run-arounds should be effortless to drive and compact enough to fit into tight spaces and easy to see out of as well
  • Low prices should not entail poorly finished interiors or mean skimping on vehicle equipment lists
  • The best city cars should feel safe and composed on the motorway, so longer trips don’t become stressful or tiring

Speaking about the impending awards, our Chief Operating Officer, Philip Ward is full of enthusiasm in the build-up to the event:

“The What Car? Awards epitomise one of the most celebrated events in the motoring calendar. The Awards recognise the achievements of individual car manufacturers, creating results from which expert advice can be offered to consumers considering their next purchase. We are proud to be sponsoring the awards again, for the fifth year running and for continuing to work with such a strong partner.”

Other categories at the awards will include: Best small car, Family car, Convertible, Electric car, Sports car, to name but a few.

One thing’s for sure, we are all incredibly excited about the What Car? Awards, which not only honour the accomplishments of individual car manufacturers, but also the industry’s ability to revive and improve their products every year. There’s always a real sense of team spirit and support at the awards, which you don’t always experience across other industries.

With the awards mere days away, Warranty Direct will make sure our customers are some of the first to know about the results! Keep visiting our blog page and social feeds where we will share news about the awards as soon as they’re presented.

Warranty Direct provides extended motor warranty cover and can supply GAP Cover Insurance for brand new or used cars as well. For more information, visit us at www.warrantydirect.co.uk.

Dec 012016
 

Ever since the development of the very first automobile, the Benz Patent Motor Car in 1885, the motoring industry has been a constant cycle of new intelligence and innovation. From the Ford Model T to the Bugatti Veyron, each year sees a range of technology released that is taking the car to places we never thought it could go. These developments are something we’re constantly bearing in mind at Warranty Direct as our policies will need to reflect the changes in car safety and reliability.

We’re now reaching a particularly important stage in the evolution of the motorcar, with environmental concerns being the most pressing issue, so it will be fascinating to see what features come as standard in the average car in ten years’ time. Find out more about what you can expect to see in your car in years to come with Warranty Direct’s look into the potential Future Features of Motoring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alternative Fuels

Given carbon emissions from vehicles is a huge talking point, and will continue to be for some time, the possibilities that alternative fuels give to the motoring industry are crucial. As the world’s top selling hybrid vehicle, the Toyota Prius set the standard in terms of quality and availability at the beginning of the alternative energy era. However, in recent years Renault Zoe and the Nissan Leaf have provided genuinely affordable, all-electric options, leading the way in sustainable transport for the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Live’ Satellite Navigation

Satellite navigation has been a part motoring technology for some time now, but we’re about to reach a new stage of capability. Nokia-owned company, HERE, have developed a dynamically updating Live Map, which is essential to autonomous cars, and plots every lane marker, guard rail, and speed limit change to an accuracy of ten centimetres – this is three to five times better than the current GPS systems.

 

 

 

 

 

V2V Communication

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication will mean that cars are able to share alerts, such as traffic delays, accidents, and warnings, over encrypted radio signals. This will make driving far safer, as it will allow other cars to develop a picture of what’s unfolding around them and the driver, based on the speed, position and braking status of other cars on the road. This technology is already available in the Mercedes Benz E-Class, but is currently only a Benz network feature – however, this may not be the case for long.

 

 

 

 

 

Head-up Displays

Another development which could significantly improve the safety of driving. Head-up displays project details crucial to a driver, such as speed, fuel projections, and GPS directions, onto the windscreen, meaning the driver never has to look away from their main focus – the road. In terms of satellite navigation, we may even start seeing ‘active glass’, capable of displaying vibrant images and upcoming corners in the road.

 

 

 

 

 

Active Health Monitoring

This feature would work in conjunction with basic autonomous technology and could be hugely important for the safety of drivers and those around them. With the implementation of seatbelts and/or steering wheels with sensors that track vital statistics, a car could detect any sudden health issues – such as a heart attack – in the driver and could pull itself over and make an emergency services call.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autonomous Vehicles

Within a decade, fully autonomous cars could well be the norm rather than the exception. Tesla, leading innovation again, have already released footage of cars that are equipped with full self-driving hardware – the driver can input their destination into the sat-nav, and the car navigates its way to the destination, stopping for pedestrians and performing a parallel park at the end… So we might expect driving tests to become easier over the next ten years too! Before that however, legislation and regulations regarding the use of autonomous cars as a mode of transport are still to be decided.

These are just a few of the exciting possibilities that await motorists in the future. What will the future of vehicle warranties bring? Time will tell. As always we’ll be keeping an eye out for any motoring news that may be of interest here at the Warranty Direct blog and via our Facebook and Twitter pages. Make sure you like and follow our social channels to stay connected with Warranty Direct.

Nov 302016
 

Regular preventive maintenance is probably the single thing you can do as a car owner to keep your ride happy and save money on repairs in the future. However, not everyone agrees on what preventive maintenance is, what you should do, and when you should do it.

A recent survey has revealed one in 10 motorists* can’t or won’t carry out basic maintenance tasks, putting themselves and others at risk. It’s a well-known fact some basic maintenance tasks are less popular than others. With the help of our qualified engineers from the Warranty Direct claims team we’ve looked into some of the least popular tasks and pulled together a list of recommendations and solutions to make things a little easier…

Changing your windscreen wipers

It’s not always obvious when windscreen wipers need changing – that is until you experience a spell of really bad weather and find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. Changing your wipers yourself is relatively straightforward and can save you a wad of cash if you know how to do it correctly:

  • Before buying new wipers, try simply wiping the dirt and hardened rubber off your blades with a wet rag. Sometimes you can prolong the life of them by doing this.
  • If you do need to change your wipers they will exhibit some of the following symptoms such as streaking water, leaving a milky film when wiping and making a squeaking nose when turned on.
  • Before you buy your wipers, make sure you know the exact model of your car. This includes the year, make, model and further specifications such as ‘type.’ It’s usually a good idea to replace both blades at once if one has gone bad, as the other will soon follow suit.
  • When you begin the process, make sure you pull the entire wiper assembly up, so that they remain vertical. Then turn the blade perpendicular to the arm so that the hinge is visible. You’ll notice a small tab on one side of the hinge. Pull that tab out and then pull the wiper down towards the car, this will enable you to separate the blade from the arm.
  • Be careful not to let the wiper arm snap back without a blade attached as this could crack your car’s windscreen.
  • To determine which hole a new wiper goes through, adjust the hinge to be perpendicular to the wiper and line it up so the arm’s hook will go over the hinge. You’ll feel and hear a click when it’s snapped in.

Tyre maintenance

Apparently when it comes to tyre maintenance, 45% of drivers are not confident** they know how to check their tyres are in safe and legal condition, which is worrying as drivers are recommended to check tyre pressures and conditions every two weeks. Some solutions to help improve tyre maintenance include:

  • Making air pressure adjustments a two-man job. Having a friend or partner with you to hold the tyre caps and check the rising pressure whilst your moving around the car will make the process quicker and more efficient.
  • If you get a flat or punctured tyre on the motorway, you will need to pull into the hard shoulder in a safe manner. The hard shoulder, however, is not a suitable place to change a car tyre. You’ll want to either turn off the motorway first or, if that’s not possible, call for breakdown assistance and get a recovery vehicle to pick you and your car up. Warranty Direct offers two unique breakdown cover products that offer roadside assistance with either local or national recovery included.
  • If you are in a safe place, such as your drive, and want to attempt changing a tyre you’ll need the right equipment. Besides the spare tyre itself of course, you’ll also need a car jack and the correct wheel-nut wrench. It’s always best to keep all of this in your car, in case you need to change a tyre while far away from home.

Changing headlight bulbs

Many non-car enthusiasts are scared of what is under the hood of a car. But whether you want to save money, time, or both, changing your car headlight bulbs can be easy and rewarding.

  • As headlights grow dimmer with age it is often recommended that you replace both headlight lamps at the same time, so as to not make driving difficult due to different brightness on the road.
  • Make sure your car engine is turned off, then open the hood to your car.Usually the hood release is located in the cab of your car, below the steering column
  • Remove the plastic backing.Most modern cars have a plastic bulb cover, which can be removed by either popping off the cap or turning the cap. Remove the electrical connector from your bulb. This piece is usually a plastic plug with a wiring running from the light bulb to the electrical equipment of your car. At this point, the bulb should be ready to pull out of the headlamp casing.
  • When handling both the old and the new bulb, it is important that you do not touch the glass with your hand or any part of your skin. The oils from your skin could cause the bulb to short circuit and not work properly, or even break.
  • Once the new bulb is put in place, it’s important to retrace your steps and put all elements back in place, making sure to apply a small amount of force to reseat the new bulb into the plug and of course remembering to test them afterwards!

Charging your car battery

Car batteries go flat for a number of reasons such as if you forget to turn your lights off when you park your car, or leave it parked for a long period of time. A lot of people worry about charging a battery on their own, usually because they assume it is  going to be very technical or because they aren’t familiar with regular checks under the car bonnet. However, if you know the correct checklist it is easier than you might think.

  • Make sure you take a look at what kind of battery you have, as not all chargers will be suitable for the make of your vehicle. A car with start/stop technology will have an AGM or EFB battery, which will need a ‘smart’ charger.
  • Check the lead terminals and clamps that connect them before starting the process. If they look dirty or tarnished, you’ll need to clean them in order to charge your battery properly.
  • Always disconnect the negative lead first and reconnect it last, otherwise you could get a nasty shock when you touch the positive terminal and are grounded.
  • Check the manual for your individual charger to find out how long it will take and what you need to do when the battery is charged. Some may turn off automatically when the battery is charged, but others may need to be disconnected.
  • Remember batteries can give off hydrogen gas while they’re being charged, especially if they’re being charged at a higher voltage by a fast charger. Keep the charger away from the battery and make sure you don’t leave anything on top of the battery that could be impaired.

It’s tempting to avoid car maintenance, especially in tough economic times, but that’s not a financially sound method to manage the big investment you’ve made in your vehicle. A well-maintained vehicle lasts longer, retains more of its resale value, pollutes less, and gets better mileage than one that’s been neglected — to say nothing of being safer to operate.

Just for that motoring peace of mind, it’s also worth considering having a reliable car warranty service in place for your vehicle as well in case your car should ever let you down with a sudden failure. With Warranty Direct, policies include up to a maximum contribution of £250 towards recovery costs if a breakdown is a result of a failure of an insured part and if you do not have cover elsewhere. For information about our warranty products, visit our website here.

* – GoCompare survey results published in The Mirror – 30th September 2015

** – As reported by Fleet News – 28th January 2016