Fuel efficiency is a high priority for today’s motorists. After the recent diesel recall controversy and concerns over petrol costs and rising C02 emissions, manufacturers are constantly developing technology to help protect our bank balances and our planet.
Whilst mpg is extremely important in assessing economy, there are several other elements you should consider.
Here’s Warranty Direct’s advice for finding a fuel-efficient vehicle:
When buying a new car, we can often get carried away with gadgets, luxury extras, and dizzying performance figures. However, before choosing, carefully assess your needs and what types of journeys you’ll predominantly be making. Remember, a more economic car will continue to give you more value for money for the entire duration of ownership.
If you’re going to be doing short journeys around built-up areas, rule out diesel. Small diesel cars often have a high economy but all new models are fitted with Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF). These function best at a certain temperature and speed, not usually achievable in cities.
In fact, given the new emissions surcharges for diesel cars, drivers should consider whether such additional costs will still make diesel a good, long-term financial investment.
Previously, averaging 30 mpg was highly impressive, however, some of the most efficient models on sale are now doing nearly three times that.
Research suggests the most efficient cars currently on the market are small hatchbacks. This is down to a number of factors including their smaller size compared with saloons or estates, reduced weight, and more efficient aerodynamics. This means they can have smaller engines without losing out on performance.
If a hatchback suits you in terms of size and practicality and you’re conscious of fuel consumption, then this could be a worthwhile choice.
Consider car tax
In April 2017, new legislation came into effect as to how vehicle tax is calculated. This is part of the government’s fight against rising pollution. Your rate of tax is now based on a car’s CO2 emissions the first time it’s registered. The higher the emissions, the more you will pay. Make sure you research what these costs could be, before making your final purchase. If you own a petrol or diesel car, purchasing a warranty policy which covers emissions failures would be a wise investment, given the stricter testing regulations. Remeber, before you purchase a warranty to check any potential policies carefully to understand what is and what is not covered.
Think about hybrids
With Volvo recently announcing all new cars from 2019 onwards will, at the very least, be hybrids, a shift in the market can be expected and this could be accounted for with your next motor.
The economy of some newer hybrids from Volvo and Mercedes is upwards of 130mpg, and batteries are chargeable from home at no higher cost than charging any other appliance.
The value of research
With so many options on the market, it is key to do as much research as possible to source your perfect motor.
Make sure you combine manufacturer research with independent reviews. This provides more of an indication of ‘real-world’ experiences. Consumer insight is also particularly useful when establishing a genuine mpg, as some manufacturers optimise engines for European Commissions testing to produce lower CO2 emissions. This can distort true mpg figures.
As we move into a more fuel-efficient future there will be more options than ever before. It’s essential drivers keep up to speed with as many developments as possible so they don’t lose out financially and remain informed on current legislation.
At Warranty Direct we know a car can be a big, financial investment. That is why we started the Reliability Index in 2005 to give consumers insight into some of the best performing models and manufacturers. However, even the most reliable manufacturers can sometimes discover faults with certain vehicles.
Earlier this year, the DVSA revealed 2.2 million models were affected by recalls involving faulty airbags, fire risks and steering failures, but just 47.7 % went back for repairs. This suggests there could be potentially dangerous models still operating on UK roads.
Whilst these figures do seem worrying – how concerned should consumers really be and what can we do to ensure we comply with car recall procedures?
So, what exactly is a car recall?
Even after a car model has launched, manufacturers make continual tweaks to new releases. If a problem is identified, a recall could be issued if it’s serious enough. Recalls can also be triggered by customers experiencing issues caused by a car defect. These include problems such as brake or airbag faults, which compromise safety – but they can be for less worrying concerns like faulty sunroofs.Recalls are issued by ‘service measures,’ which means work is carried out when a customer next brings their car in for a routine service. Alternatively, if a manufacturer recognises a fault posing safety risks, the brand will attempt to contact owners of every affected vehicle to arrange repairs.
Recalls are issued by ‘service measures,’ which means work is carried out when a customer next brings their car in for a routine service. Alternatively, if a manufacturer recognises a fault posing safety risks, the brand will attempt to contact owners of every affected vehicle to arrange repairs.
Do I have to pay if my car is recalled?
You should never be asked to pay if your car is affected by an active safety recall. These are put in place by manufacturers and if your car is confirmed as affected, the workshop carrying out the repair will be paid directly by the brand.
However, if problems are found during the recall process, like an unrelated item suffering wear and tear, additional chargeable work may be reported.
If your vehicle is outside a manufacturer warranty it’s always a good idea to purchase a used car warranty, to help safeguard you against such additional costs.
Will my car lose value if I don’t observe a recall?
Quite possibly – yes. More importantly, ignoring safety recalls could be dangerous, particularly if concerning fire risks and problems with brakes, steering or air bags. Vauxhall had to issue a second recall for its Zafira family car’s electrical components earlier this year after fires due to the first fix proved ineffective.
It’s essential any recall work is completed. Aside from possible safety implications, a missed recall could reduce a car’s value, make it harder to sell or even invalidate your warranty and insurance.
How worried should I be?
You don’t necessarily need to be unnerved if you read a dramatic media headline about your car – recalls are often precautionary. Only in very rare cases are owners instructed not to drive their cars until recall work has been completed.
The majority of manufacturers say investigations are triggered when just a single digit number of cases of specific faults appear. Whilst this often results in recalling many cars for precautionary fixes, this means not all vehicles will necessarily be faulty.
These actions also show manufacturers are taking all precautions to protect customers – which should help reduce concerns, as the majority of issues are not life-threateningly serious and if they were, your manufacturer would be certain to make you aware immediately. However, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and if unsure, you should get in touch with your vehicle manufacturer with any questions as soon as possible.
How can I find out whether a recall notice has been issued on my car?
A manufacturer must notify the DVSA of a recall and complete the below actions:
- Write to every registered keeper notifying them of defects
- Spell out the fix required and consequences if the problem isn’t remedied
- Tell the owner how to proceed after receiving the notification
You can also see if your vehicle is on a manufacturer’s recall list by checking its website or by searching DVSA’s online records.
It’s vital to notify the DVSA if you’ve bought or sold a second-hand vehicle, as if your contact details aren’t up-to-date you won’t receive this important information. The next steps for owners are usually as simple as contacting your local franchised dealer and arranging a free repair or replacement parts.
Warranty Direct offers warranties for most cars and vans up to 12 years of age along with motorbikes up to 10 years of age. Policies include cover for Wear & Tear*, failure caused by non-insured parts and failures discovered during routine Service and MOTs.
* – Covered from day 1 on renewals or continuing a manufacturer’s policy. Otherwise a 90-day exclusion period applies.
Warranty Cover is arranged and administered by Warranty Direct Limited. Warranty Direct Limited is a company, registered in England and Wales No. 3233010 at Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 2XX and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Register No.309075