Aug 022018

Tips For New Drivers Buying A First CarBuying your first car is a rite of passage every driver remembers; that first exciting taste of true

Every first-time motorist wants something that expresses their personality and suits their needs, but that doesn’t mean your vehicle choice will be the most practical or easy to find within your budget.

To guide you through the complex world of car-buying, Warranty Direct has put together some advice on essential considerations for first-time buyers.

Consider running costs

Buying and running a car is expensive for anyone but especially so for new drivers, who will have to shell out for a suite of essentials all in one go. Look at your monthly income, consider your current outgoings and then plan what you can afford.

You need to account for unavoidable costs, such as car insurance, Tax, MOT, fuel and tyres. Services such as the Money Advice Service Car Costs Calculator can give you an average running cost of a car so you can see roughly if you’ll be able to afford the overall spend.

Insurance for first-time drivers can be expensive as you’re among the least experienced drivers on the road. To find out which cars have a low insurance rating, use online tools such as Money Supermarket’s car insurance group checker.

Think about how you use it

When weighing up your options, you need to see which car best matches your lifestyle.

Is it a simple A-B run-around you’re after? If so, you may want to think about getting a small car with an engine size of about 1L. Or will you need a vehicle for regular, long journeys? Then a car with good fuel economy and a slightly larger engine would be better, especially if you’ll be driving on motorways.

However, make sure to do your research as similar cars can often have very different insurance groups, which can increase overall costs.

New or Used?

Although initially more expensive, newer cars are normally more advanced in terms of safety, technology and fuel efficiency in comparison to older cars. This could save you money in the long-term.

While low-rate finance schemes with modest monthly payments have brought new cars within reach of younger people, you need to be sure you can keep up with the monthly payments as missing any can affect your credit rating and your car could be repossessed.

In addition, a new car can lose around 40% of its value in the first year, so you may be left out of pocket when you go to sell it later.

Used cars are cheaper initially and you could get more for your money, buying a top of the range older model for a similar price as a basic spec new car.

Safety Matters

Accidents do happen and one in four 18-24 year-olds crash within two years of passing their practical driving test, so picking a vehicle that’s both safe and practical is important.

Look out for characteristics such as light steering, a responsive engine and brakes and user-friendly controls. These will help all new drivers build confidence behind the wheel.

Once you have a vehicle shortlist, use tools such as our Reliability Index to see which are the most reliable. This will help you to avoid expensive maintenance issues further down the line.

Jul 312018

Road TripThe sun is finally here and what better way to celebrate than with a road trip through the beautiful British countryside?

To give you a taste of what the UK has to offer, Warranty Direct shares its top picks for a memorable road trip.

1. Slither through the Snake Pass in the Peak District

While most of the roads in the Peak District will give you spectacular views, the Snake Pass which crosses the Pennines and Ladybower Reservoir is an unmissable addition to your trip.

Expect roads winding up and down hills, rewarding you with magnificent sights of the National Trust’s High Peak Estate.

While you are here, take a break from the car and have an adventure up Kinder Scout, the highest mountain in the Peak District.

There’s a path from Snake Pass, starting at the Birchen Clough car park which involves a pretty woodland walk before the ascent, so don’t worry if you’re not up for climbing any great heights!

2. Watch out for dragons on the Welsh Black Mountain Pass

This epic mountain road will make you believe you could really see a dragon coming over the next hill.

The Brecon Beacons offer unrivalled views of the Tywi Valley and the kind of hairpin bends and switchbacks that a true petrol head could only dream of. Cross the dragon’s humps of Pont Aber, which lead onto Herbert’s Pass for more unsurpassable scenery.

Make the most of the mountain scenery and ride the Trails on the Black Mountains and experience the best mountain riding Wales has to offer with Tregoyd Mountain Riders.

3. Head for the Highlands

Step back in time with the 74km route from Fort William to Mallaig. Begin with Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest peak, then meander along to the whiskey distillery at Fort William to sample some of the Uisge Beatha, the ‘water of life’ (just make sure you draw straws to decide who the designated driver will be in advance of your trip!)

If you are a movie buff, then this is the area for you. Just to the west of Fort William, you will find the Glenfinnan Viaduct, made famous by Harry Potter films and Camusdarach Beach at Arisaig, the filming location of Local Hero.

Near the end of your Scottish road trip, get your fill of Loch Morar, the deepest freshwater lake in the UK to visit Nessie’s cousin, Morag.

4. Meander through the wild moors

One of the wildest areas of Britain, Dartmouth has long been the inspiration for some of the great literature of the country, from Arthur Conan Doyle to Michael Morpurgo.

Dartmoor offers a unique mix of rolling moorlands, rushing river valleys and fabulous wildlife, including the well-known wild horses.

To see the best Dartmoor has to offer, begin by driving from Torquay to historic Bovey Tracey and stop here for a coffee. After this, take the B3387 to Parke for stunning walks along the River Bovey.

Dartmouth is famous for its moors, so no road trip would be complete without a visit. Head to Widecombe in the Moor which is a must-see.

5. Ride from Glastonbury to Cheddar Gorge

Begin your trip on the outskirts of the infamous town of Glastonbury, with a visit to the tor over the lush, green mounds. Then head towards the cathedral city of Wells. After a spot of lunch you can hit the driver’s paradise of ‘Cheddar Gorge‘.

For the driving enthusiast, the real fun begins here, with dramatic sheer cliffs enclosing you as you descend into the gorge. Park up and take a walk through an underground world, with a walk in Gough’s or Cox’s caves or take the 274 steps up to the cliff-tops for breath-taking views. (Trust us, it’s worth the climb!)

Stop off at one of the many quintessentially English villages to snack and refuel after your walk.

To avoid any unexpected stops, don’t forget to check you’re covered for breakdowns before you go!

Apr 302018

Choosing whether to drive an automatic or manual vehicle is just one of the many important decisions you’ll have to make when buying a new car.

With close to 650,000 new cars with automatic gearboxes registered in Britain in 2016 – a rise of 55% compared to 2013 – automatic gearboxes are catching up with the number of manual vehicles on UK roads.

Many enjoy the feeling of total control a manual gearbox gives but some prefer the easier drive of an automatic.

If you’re undecided, Warranty Direct has explored the advantages and disadvantages of each to help make your decision easier.

What’s the difference?

A manual gearbox requires the driver to physically change the gears as the car slows down or speeds up using the clutch and gear stick. A manual gearbox typically has up to five, six or seven gears to choose from. This is the most commonly found transmission in the UK with 70% of people driving a manual car, according to a survey conducted by the AA in 2016.

An automatic gearbox selects the gear best suited to the speed of the car without any driver input. It does this by selecting from Park, Neutral, Reverse or Drive options using a gear-lever, control knob or buttons.

Growing in popularity across the UK, some car brands now include an option for drivers to swap between automatic and manual transmission for mass appeal.

Cost efficiency

A manual gearbox does have financial advantages. Cars with a manual transmission are generally cheaper to buy and run than their automatic counterparts and the average insurance premium is around 6% lower too.

They’re also generally easier to fix if a problem occurs. This is because automatic vehicles have hundreds of mechanical, hydraulic and electronic parts that must work in harmony to shift gears smoothly. In contrast, manual transmissions are mostly mechanical gears relying on the driver to engage the clutch and shift when needed.

An automatic can cost drivers more money in fuel as they need more power to run. However, this does depend on the model and more efficient and environmentally- friendly automatic gearboxes are being introduced all the time

Ease of use

Some motorists have difficulties managing the hand-foot co-ordination needed to drive manually and argue automatic cars are simpler to use, creating a more relaxing drive. In busy traffic, manual means repetitive gear shifting and use of the clutch can be tiring.

If you have limited mobility and need driving control adaptions (such as a push/pull device to control the speed of your car), an automatic gearbox is essential to enable you to operate these controls with your hands.

Learning to drive

When learning to drive, a large amount of this time is designated to control, with gears and clutch operation in manual transmission being the significant factor. Learning in an automatic eliminates this issue and it’s likely you’ll need fewer lessons to reach test standard in an automatic than in a manual transmission.

However, passing your test in an automatic means you will only have a licence to drive an automatic vehicle. You’ll need to retake your driving test in a manual before you get the green light to drive both types of car.

Conversely, if you learn in a manual and receive your manual driving licence, you can switch to an automatic without having to retake your test.

Automatic driving lessons can also be more expensive as automatic cars use more fuel than a manual equivalent.

Final thoughts

Whether you’re a new or experienced driver; the preference between transmission styles boils down to personal choice. If you’re looking for more control and cost-efficiency, a manual car could be a better option, but if you’re looking for a simpler and smoother drive, an automatic may be the way to go.

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