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.

Jun 272017
 

Axle and suspension faults are the most common claims on 4-year-old vehicles according to latest research from Warranty Direct

The latest data from Warranty Direct has examined the average cost of repairs and most common issues occurring once a manufacturer warranty has expired. Results were produced by analysing authorised claims made across four-year-old vehicles. Cars of this age were picked because the majority of manufacturers offer three-year warranties for new cars.

Over the last three years a quarter of a million pounds was paid out on claims, across a variety of vehicles. Warranty Direct reveal the four year old cars with the most claims whilst on cover with Warranty Direct.

Land Rover had the largest number of authorised claims for vehicles of this age with the Defender model accounting for nearly a third (30%) of all Landrover claims. This was closely followed by the Discovery (28% of Land Rover claims), the Range Rover (26%) and finally the Freelander (16%).  Jaguar, Vauxhall and Renault led other manufacturers with the highest proportion of authorised claims.

The vehicle brand with the most expensive authorised claims for vehicles of four years of age was Bentley with costs averaging £1,358 per claim. Land Rovers followed closely behind with an average of £1,324 per claim and Nissans were in third place with a £1,284 average.

The most common authorised claims across all makes were axle and suspension repairs, the likelihood of which often increased outside of manufacturer warranty due to wear and tear from increased mileage. These made-up 21 percent of claims across all makes.

  Most common authorised claim post-manufacturer warranty (4 years old) % of overall authorised claims across all makes of vehicle
1 Axle and Suspension 21%
2 Electrical 20%
3 Catalytic convertor and Emissions 10%
4 Cooling Systems 8%

 

Electrical issues were the second most common concern, making up 20 percent of the figures. Newer cars often come with more advanced electronics, such as parking sensors, video cameras and evolving computer technology. While these electrical improvements can enhance automotive performance and safety, they can fail more frequently due to the complex nature of parts. Catalytic convertors and emissions claims came in third place (10%), followed by temperamental cooling systems (8%).

  Most expensive parts per authorised claim post-manufacturer warranty (4 years old) Average materials cost for these claims on 4-year-old vehicles
1 Gearboxes £974
2 Engines £847
3 Steering Systems £303

 

Gearbox parts topped the list of the most expensive authorised claim post-manufacturer warranty, due to labour intensity, electronic complexity and many problems requiring expensive diagnostic equipment. This was closely followed by engine costs and steering systems.

Simon Ackers, CEO of Warranty Direct commented about the company’s latest research, saying:

“Our latest information on the most common costs and claims for vehicles post-manufacturer warranty should offer valuable insight for consumers whose vehicles are approaching the 4-year mark. Those who currently possess certain brands, which have displayed more issues or expensive repairs, would be wise to consider purchasing an extended warranty once their manufacturer’s runs out. This could be more cost-effective in the long run and a good way to prepare for any future concerns.”

** Data taken from 2014-2017 claims reports and examines all 4-year old vehicles

*** All claims authorised by Warranty Direct

Jun 192017
 

It’s a very exciting month for the team at Warranty Direct, as we announce our 20th anniversary, since beginning trading in 1997!

With the typical motor manufacturer’s warranty lasting only 3 years, a large number of cars did not hold any form of extended mechanical and electrical repair insurance. There were little forms of protection for vehicles coming out of the standard manufacturer’s warranty; motorists could find themselves facing unexpected and costly repair bills to fix their car if anything was to suddenly go wrong.

When trading began in 1997, Warranty Direct was the UK’s first direct consumer warranty company offering innovative products with the customer at the forefront of everything we do. This has been achieved by handling all forms of the warranty ourselves – directly. We don’t just sell customers their warranties; we also handle the claims process with the help of our trained engineers. Our trusted garage network of preferred repairers, have helped to minimalise the hurdles a customer might encounter when claiming on their warranty.

We firmly believe we have achieved this mission, with our 20th anniversary serving as testament that we put our customers at the forefront of everything we do. Our service has earnt high praise from our customers and has resulted in us being awarded the Feefo Gold Trusted Merchant award for 2016 – an achievement through customer feedback alone.

We are proud to say we are the longest operating insured warranty provider in the UK.

A lot has changed since we arrived on the scene in the late nineties but we have remained focused on providing industry leading cover by improving our products and services.

In 2005, Warranty Direct became regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) now known as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which has helped to bolster our products and services for consumers. This added protection for policies allows customers to contact the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This has helped to establish Warranty Direct as one of the industry leading providers of extended motor warranties.

We have even gone beyond providing warranties. One of the biggest inclusions to our products and services was GAP insurance which was launched in September 2011 and has become an equally popular product for our customers.

Standing as an industry leader has helped build a number of high-profile business partnerships with companies such as What Car? and Auto Trader. This has led to Warranty Direct becoming the headline sponsor for the What Car? Car of the Year awards since 2013 and more recently this year’s AutoCar awards held at The Wing on Silverstone Racecourse.

We also own a number of informative websites designed to help consumers with some of today’s biggest motoring challenges. The most noteworthy has been the Reliability Index which was started in 2005 using data from paid Warranty Direct claims to establish the reliability of used vehicles currently on the market. The website was then updated in 2010 to incorporate the ability to compare vehicles, select vehicle types (Family, MPV, etc) and consult buying guides. The index has been a colossal success and is not only highly regarded by motoring professionals and enthusiasts, but has also generated huge media interest, with our data being covered in a variety of national newspapers including the Sunday Times, The Daily Mail and The Guardian – to name but a few!

Commenting on our latest business achievement, Warranty Direct’s CEO Simon Ackers said:

“We are delighted to have reached such a significant business milestone and I am really proud of the team’s hard work and dedication to making this a flourishing business, which puts its customers first. We depend on consumer recommendations, in order to grow – so we want to say a huge thank you to all our customers for their invaluable support and insight which has made us who we are. May the success of Warranty Direct continue for many years to come!”

There’s no doubt there will be much celebrating at Warranty Direct this month and we wanted to share some of our ‘best bits’ with you in our list of company highlights below.

We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did achieving it!

Jun 182017
 

2017 has already been a year of big changes to UK driving laws. New, tougher penalties are being introduced by the government in an attempt to keep all motorists, cyclists and pedestrians as safe as possible.

A recent survey conducted by Warranty Direct revealed one in four Brits endanger themselves and others on motorways due to a worrying lack of awareness of current UK driving laws. To make sure you are up to date with the new laws, we have summarised some of the biggest changes happening below and included all the information consumers need to ensure they are not caught out by updated motoring legislation.

A tougher stance on mobile phones at the wheel

Studies by the Transport Research Laboratory showed driving while texting affected reaction times by around 35 percent*. The government has already banned the use of mobile phones behind the wheel, but some motorists continue to use phones in a dangerous manner when driving.

In the past, if you were caught using a mobile at the wheel, you could expect three points on your licence and a £100 fine. From 1st March 2017, new laws were introduced to see those penalties doubled. Being caught using your phone in any capacity while driving will now leave you with six points on your licence and a fine of £200.

Beware new drivers – under the new law, being caught using a mobile just once could mean having to sit your driving test all over again!

Late for work? Think twice before speeding

On April 24 this year, a strict new set of rules came into force, splitting speeding penalties into ‘bands’ which could see fines for those caught dramatically increase. For simplicity, these brands have been dubbed A, B and C.

The Band A speeding fine category would be appropriate if you are caught speeding between 31-40 in a 30mph zone, and you can expect to receive a fine equivalent to 50% of your weekly income and 3 penalty points on your driving licence.

For those doing between 41-50mph in 30mph zone, the Band B category speeding fine means facing a fine equivalent to 100% of your weekly income, and 4 penalty points on your driving licence, or disqualification from driving for up to 28 days.

The Band C speeding fine category comes into place to anyone speeding at 51mph or above in a 30mph limit (for example) and they face a fine equivalent to 150% of their weekly income and 6 penalty points on their driving licence. They could also face disqualification from driving for up to 56 days.

By way of comparison, the average speeding fine handed out in 2015 was just £188**.

Taking it easy with the speed on the road will not only help you to avoid costly fines. Reducing acceleration and harsh braking also means less wear and tear on your vehicle and this equates to less claims on your car warranty.

Taxing your car could be costly

A major issue going into 2017 is the growing level of pollution in the country from our motors. London took just one week to break the annual air pollution limits in 2016***. To help tackle this growing problem, the government has introduced a further tax to help reduce emissions.

The old car taxing system allowed lower tax, or even exemption, if you had a low emissions car. From April 2017 unless you drive a 100 percent electric car, any new vehicles will be charged at a tiered first-year rate based on its CO2 emissions. This could mean even people looking for a small, fairly economical car could be paying significantly more on vehicle tax. For example: owning a Ford Fiesta 1.0T Ecoboost with CO2 emissions of 99g/km, originally meant a driver paid no Vehicle Excise Duty. However, you could now pay up to £120 in the first year and £140 annually thereafter^.

We’d recommend anyone thinking of purchasing a new car to ensure they research all the possible costs associated with purchasing their desired model. This will help buyers work out whether they can actually afford the vehicle they are considering and prevent any costly surprises!

Remember this only applies to new cars bought after April – if you already own a car, or will be buying one registered before April 2017, there will be no changes to how much you pay.

Big changes to the driving test in 2017

The practical driving test is on course to change this year with updates that will have a big impact on current learners.

According to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, the changes will include:

  • Increasing the test’s ‘independent driving’ section from 10 to 20 minutes so examiners can judge your driving ability more accurately in real-world driving conditions.
  • Asking you to follow a sat nav’s directions during the ‘independent driving’ section
  • Replacing the ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn in the road’ with manoeuvres such as driving into and reversing out of a parking bay to demonstrate more likely day-to-day driving scenarios
  • Asking one of the two vehicle safety questions while you are driving so your multi-tasking skills can be judged.
  • Allowing learners on to motorways
  • A proposed 120 hours of practical driving may need to be undertaken before a test can be taken.

It’s important for all drivers to make sure they are prepared for the changes in driving legislation. Not only will this help you to avoid hefty fines, but you will also protect yourself from potential accidents and paying for unnecessary damage to your car.

* – Lincolnshire Live

** – Saga

*** – The Guardian

^ – BBC News