Jan 102019
 

Petrol v DieselPetrol vs Diesel Cars – Which One is Better?

When buying a car, there are a lot of elements to consider. Some choices – 2-door or 4-door, black or white, leather or cloth – are easy to make and are informed almost entirely by your personal taste. But, some choices – like whether you want a car that is petrol or diesel powered – requires a bit more research. Why? Because your choice could have financial, environmental and experiential consequences.

The Cost of Petrol Cars Vs. Diesel Cars

The cost of a car isn’t calculated using the purchase price alone. You also must factor in the cost of fuel, tax, insurance and servicing. So, while the cost of a comfortable, 4-door car with a diesel engine will cost around £1,500 more upfront than the equivalent car with a petrol engine, it could cost less over time.

Historically, this upfront cost was offset for owners of diesel cars because of lower fuel costs and reduced tax rates. Now, only the former applies. Before April 2018, drivers with cars that produced less than 100g/km of CO2 emissions (for example a Volvo S60, Audi A4 Saloon, or Hyundai i30 Tourer) got a tax break. As of April 2018, though, drivers with diesel cars – even those that produce less than 100g/km of CO2 – are required to pay tax.

But, diesel cars are still – in general – more fuel efficient and therefore require less fuel. While the cost of fuel per litre is slightly higher for diesel, the fuel economy (which is higher both on the motorway and around town) supports lower running costs.

When you also figure in the extra cost of car insurance which, for diesel cars, tends to be 10-15% higher because repairs on diesel cars tend to be more expensive, one could make the argument that in general, petrol cars cost less. Of course, this is completely dependent on the make and model.

The takeaway: do your research! The purchase price is just part of the equation.

Do Diesel Engines Pollute More Than Petrol Engines?

A lot of the conversation around diesel cars has to do with their environmental impact and, in particular, their toxic emissions. But, if you look back several years, you’ll see that in reaction to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emission (especially CO2), diesel was actually promoted as the environmentally friendly option. This, again, comes down to the cars’ fuel economy.

While diesel fuel does contain more carbon than petrol, their CO2 emission tends to be lower because diesel engines are a lean-burn meaning they use less fuel and more air compared to petrol engines.

So, what’s changed?  Nothing…in terms of CO2 emissions. Now, the public (and governments) are equally concerned about toxic emissions that are immediately harmful to humans.

Both petrol and diesel engines produce nitrogen oxides, but petrol cars have a built-in three-way catalytic converter that cleans up these toxins to emit significantly less than diesel cars. Diesel cars have something similar – a diesel particulate filter or DPF – but these require regular maintenance.

This explains why, in the UK, new MOT rules dictate that diesel cars with a DPF can’t have visible smoke coming from their exhaust and can’t show any evidence of tampering. Both result in an automatic fail.

Given the environmental impact, higher tax rates, and more strict MOT rules, some people are starting to wonder if diesel cars will one day be banned. While it’s impossible to answer this question, it is worth mentioning that the UK government is under significant pressure to ban both diesel and petrol cars by 2032 to ensure all cars on the road are zero emission by 2042.

Are Diesel or Petrol Cars More Powerful?

 If you’re looking for a car with some serious ‘get-up-and-go’, you might prefer a diesel powered vehicle. Diesel produces huge amounts of torque (power), which explains why lorries, buses and other large vehicles are often diesel powered. Torque allows for better overtaking power and towing ability but that’s not to say that petrol cars won’t get you where you’re going.

So, Which is Better?

That’s up to you! Both come with a list of pros and cons and it’s important that you decide what’s important to you when buying a car, whether it’s used or new.

Whichever you go for, make sure you protect yourself in the event of unexpected vehicle failure by getting a quote with Warranty Direct today!

Policies underwritten by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Arranged and administered by Warranty Direct. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

 

Jan 072019
 

Motoring Trends 2019While the auto industry is undoubtedly looking ahead to driverless cars and automation, drivers are also focusing on the here and now and looking to enhance both their cars and the overall driving experience.

With this in mind, Warranty Direct looks at the car trends set to hit the auto industry next year…

Stay connected

The number of connected cars has increased in recent years but it looks set to rise even more in 2019.

In simple terms, these vehicles use mobile internet technology to control the main car functions remotely via a tablet device, smartphone, computer or smartwatch.

Not only does this enhance the driver’s experience, but it could also reduce accidents and ease traffic.

Vehicle speed and the distance to other vehicles can be adjusted to reflect conditions on the road, marking a major breakthrough that could reach beyond the auto industry.

She’s electric

Electric cars will see a significant growth in 2019, following 2018, which saw a record high in sales. This surge reflects growing consumer interest in both hybrid and electric cars.

With the UK government confirming plans to end the sale of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars, there will be an increase in manufacturers expanding their electric and hybrid roster.

In-car payments

Most motorists will know using your mobile phone behind the wheel is illegal, however, some may not know using your phone for contactless payments at a drive-through could land you in trouble with the law.

Luckily for us, car manufacturers are creating built-in in-car payment systems to combat this issue. Jaguar was the first to introduce this technology, after launching the world’s first in-car payment system in association with Shell.

At the moment, it can only be used when paying for petrol at Shell garages; however, future cashless tech research from Jaguar includes parking and drive-through restaurants.

Tech wins

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are set to dominate in 2019, making the apps you use on your smartphone available every time you get behind the wheel.

Not only that, wireless charging is appearing in more and more new cars as the number of smartphone handsets with this capability increases.

Both of these features are designed to boost the driver’s experience, creating seamless and easy-to-use features that will take the stress out of driving.

Buy, finance or rent?

With consumers going crazy for subscription services such as Netflix and Spotify, it looks like the car industry is following suit.

2019 will see a sharp rise in websites looking to disrupt Britain’s car industry, offering customers a chance to rent a car online. Some services will see drivers pay a monthly subscription fee which covers the car and other aspects like insurance and servicing.

If you’re purchasing a used car this year make sure you look into obtaining warranty cover for protection against unexpected mechanical or electrical breakdowns.

Launching ‘new classics’

Motoring experts predict we’ll see revivals of old nameplates, refreshed and redesigned with modern twists and enhanced versions of current vehicles which have historically performed well.

Revamped classics set to be big in the new year include the Audi A3, Peugeot 208, BMW 1 Series, Volkswagen Golf, Vauxhall Corsa, Renault Clio and SEAT Leon.


Policies underwritten by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Arranged and administered by Warranty Direct. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Dec 312018
 

Winter tyres - pros and consWhile there can be dangerous road conditions year-round, winter months bring their own set of hazards including rain, snow, wet leaves and black ice. For this reason, many people opt to swap out their ‘normal’ tyres with winter tyres. But, with harsh winters being unusual in some parts of the UK, some drivers are left scratching their heads, wondering if they should also make the switch.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the pros and cons of winter tyres so that you can make the best possible decision this winter.

What Are Winter Tyres?

There are two main differences between winter tyres and normal tyres.

First, winter tyres are designed to have better traction and grip in cold conditions. In terms of their appearance, this means that winter tyres will have a more distinct tread pattern, with wider grooves and more narrow slits at the edges of the tread area. If you’re struggling to identify a winter tyre, look for a snowflake or mountain symbol by the sidewall.

Second, winter tyres are made with a different kind of rubber than standard tyres. Why? Because the material on standard tyres stiffens as temperatures drop, reducing grip when it’s below seven degrees. The material used for winter tyres stays soft, enabling a strong grip despite freezing temperatures.

The Pros of Winter Tyres

The most noteable (and obvious) pro of having winter tyres is that they outperform standard tyres when temperatures drop and road conditions worsen. You’ll notice a difference, especially when braking or turning, thanks to the improved grip and traction.

Stopping distances can be reduced by upwards of 5 metres with winter tyres which supports safer driving for you and everyone else on the road. With that being said, by fitting winter tyres, you’re helping prevent accidents and are upholding your duty of care as a motorist.

If you live in a part of the country that experiences harsh winters, winter tyres won’t just prevent accidents, they’ll enable you to get where you’re going. Imagine being stuck – unable to get to work or take your children to school – because your tyres couldn’t perform.

The Cons of Winter Tyres

While the benefits in terms of safety and mobility are undeniable, there are a few drawbacks of winter tyres.

The most frequently cited con is, of course, the cost. On average, they’re slightly more expensive than standard tyres, but this is dependent on your car and wheel size. It’s also worth mentioning here that this cost could be offset by the fact that winter tyres increase the lifespan of your standard tyres, as they’ll be taken off the road from December-March.

If you don’t mind the cost or see the value in winter tyres, the next obstacle to overcome is storage. Without a garage or garden shed, you’ll likely have to pay for storage 12 months a year, alternating tyres depending on the weather.

Finally, winter tyres are – as the name suggests – season specific. If you were to keep the tyres on year-round, the rubber will wear down quickly and performance will drop off, making them no better than standard tyres when you need them most.

Should I Buy Winter Tyres?

It really is a personal choice. For those living in rural or remote areas or those in areas with especially harsh winters, winter tyres are a must. For everyone else, there are alternatives like snow socks and snow chains that might meet your needs at a lower cost.

In any case, make sure you stay safe this winter! Check out our top winter car maintenance tips here.

Even after taking all these tips into consideration however, you never know when you might unexpectedly break down, and that’s the last thing you want on a cold winters day! See how Warranty Direct can help you by getting a quote today!

Policies underwritten by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Arranged and administered by Warranty Direct. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

 

 

Dec 272018
 

Nearly empty fuel gauge


8 top fuel tips which could save you £360 a year

Warranty Direct research shows how you can drive more economically and save money on fuel

Over the past seven months petrol has increased by 10% and diesel 11% with current prices some of the highest we’ve seen since the summer of 2014.

In a recent Warranty Direct study we found the UK is in the top 15% for highest global fuel costs, with rates averaging at £1.71 per litre.

With these latest statistics in mind, Warranty Direct has put together the best ways to increase fuel economy to save yourself a whopping £360 a year.

Problem Solution Money saved per year
Varying speed increasing fuel use by 20% Consistent cruise £67.79
Speeding can increase fuel use by 25% Stick to speed limits £27.87
Not paying attention to fuel consumption displays can increase fuel use by 15% Being more vigilant with checks and knowing the correct sums to work out fuel economy £78.22
Using gears incorrectly can add 15% to your fuel bill Tailoring your gears to your speed £78.22
Under-inflated tyres can increase fuel consumption by 3% Regularly checking and filling your tyres with air £15.64
Roof racks can affect fuel consumption by 10% Remove whenever not using £52.15
Keeping air con running too much can affect fuel consumption by up to 10% Try not to use air con while driving at motorway speeds or in stop and start traffic

 

£30.11
“Warming up” your vehicle during colder winter months Invest in some decent de-icer and try to drive off straight away (as long as it’s safe). £10
TOTAL SAVED £360

 


Top tip #1 Consistent cruise

Tests have shown varying your speed up and down between 75 and 85 miles per hour can increase your fuel use by 20%

Major roads make up 65% of total road traffic in Great Britain and if you factor in the average mileage a year, (5,104 miles) you could sa ve around £67.79 each year, by adapting your driving style.

As you get to know your vehicle, you’ll be able to tell what certain speeds feel and sound like without having to look at the speedometer too much, and you’ll adjust your foot on the pedal more naturally.

But especially when you’re first learning (and don’t have cruise control) you’ll need to glance at the dashboard every so often, to make sure you’re not speeding up or slowing down.

Top tip #2 Stick to the speed limits

Speed limits are maximum, not recommended speeds. You should constantly assess how fast is safe while you are driving and make adjustments accordingly.

Cruising at 70 mph uses up 25% less fuel than 80mph and as UK motorways make up nearly a quarter of all roads, maintaining the correct speed limits could save you up to £27.87 per year in fuel costs.

Try staying in the lower gears for longer before changing up. This cuts down on your potential to speed and won’t harm your car’s gearbox, transmission or engine.

Top tip #3 Check your fuel consumption

Many drivers consume 15% less fuel by acting on the feedback that fuel consumption displays provide. It might seem pretty minor, but being more diligent could save you a whopping £78.22 a year.

To keep on top of this, you need to know the equation for fuel consumption is “miles driven divided by amount of petrol used.” If you know the distance you drove and how many litres fill your tank, you can simply divide the miles by the fuel.

You can do this every time you fill your tank if you want to create a long-term record of your fuel usage.

Top tip #4 Drive in the correct gear

To get the best out of your engine when driving in different road, traffic and weather conditions, you need to be able to change to the most appropriate gear at the right time.

The best way to determine when to change gears in a manual car is to listen to the sound of the engine. The more you practice, the more familiar with it you’ll become.

When it sounds like it’s starting to work too hard or it’s starting to make a loud roaring sound, it’s time to change up gear. If the engine is starting to struggle and is making a lower sound after you’ve slowed down, then you need to change down gear.

Correct use of gears can make huge savings on your fuel bill of up to 15%, again around £78.22 per year.

 Top tip #5 Check your tyres

An under-inflated tyre can increase fuel consumption by 3%. Michelin and Kwik Fit claims 4/10 cars have at least one under-inflated tyre, so for 40% of drivers it could save them £15.64 per year.

Tyre manufacturers and road safety organisations recommend drivers perform checks of vehicle tyres at least once a month.

The vehicle handbook, or user manual, will detail the correct air pressures to be used in your car’s size tyres.

Remember, if you are driving the car with a full complement of luggage and people, or intend to carry or tow heavy loads, tyres will need to be inflated to a higher air pressure than they would during normal driving conditions.

Top tip #6 Streamline

A roof rack, even unused, adds wind resistance to a car, increasing drag and making the engine work harder. It can also affect fuel consumption by up to 10%. So, try not to leave your roof rack on your car all year round and only use when necessary to save yourself up to £52.15 per year.

Top tip #7 Turn off air con at lower speeds

At motorway speeds, air con can affect fuel consumption by up to 4% and up to 10% in stop and start traffic. So, leaving your air con on all the time could cost you around £30.11 each year.

Top tip #8 Don’t ‘warm up’ the engine

When starting on those cold mornings, don’t leave your car running to warm it up. It causes unnecessary engine wear, as well as wasting fuel. Instead invest in some decent de-icer and try to drive off straight away – so long as you can see where you are going!

Leaving your car running will cost between a minimum of £10-15 each year.

Simon Ackers, CEO, Warranty Direct commented on the latest findings:

“At a time when fuel prices are rising and Christmas is fast approaching, we think it’s important to make motorists aware of some of the best ways to drive more economically and save money.

“Our tips show there are lots of ways to reduce fuel consumption, both by using new technology and by modifying everyday driving habits.

“If eco-driving becomes the norm, it has potential to drastically decrease emissions, boost road safety and mean less wear and tear on your vehicle.”