Jul 302008

Ford FocusFollowing from the 2007 report from fish4cars (www.fish4cars.co.uk) which identified the Ford Fiesta as the most frequently searched car in the first half of the year, fish4cars can unveil the new “top ten” of the UK’s favourite makes and models for 2008.

In contrast to the results from the same time last year, we can reveal that the Ford Focus has overtaken the Ford Fiesta in popularity, and that the Ford brand has a staggering 4 makes and models listed in the top ten.

The fish4cars top ten by make and model between Feb and June 2008:

  1. Ford Focus                      272,220 searches                 (+3)
  2. Vauxhall Corsa                240,626 searches    (-)
  3. Volkswagen Golf             236,482 searches                 (-)
  4. Ford Fiesta                      225,342 searches                 (-3)
  5. BMW 3 Series                 218,003 searches                 (+2)
  6. Vauxhall Astra                  213, 484 searches                (New entry)
  7. Renault Clio                     196,827 searches                 (-1)
  8. Peugeot 206                    189,426 searches                 (-3)
  9. Ford Ka                            168,407 searches                 (+1)

10. Ford Mondeo                   153,448 searches                 (New entry)

Joe Slavin, fish4 CEO said. “The results clearly show that Brits love their small run-around, but it is good to see that people are still interested in the high performance cars like the BMW. Last year the Fiesta was the most popular searched for car on the site, this year the Focus has taken the helm. It is also good to see two new entries into the Top Ten – being the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Astra”.

Stewart Black, Head of Sales fish4cars said, “The statistics reflect the current market perfectly. With fuel prices rising and consumers having less disposable income, the popularity of the small economical car will continue to rise. With more and more dealers signing up to fish4cars we are in a strong position to offer a diverse range of economical run-arounds as well as high performance models”.

fish4cars offers the following tips for spending your money wisely when buying a 2nd hand car:

  • Prioritise your needs      – make sure you know what you will need your car for! Long journeys? For      just yourself or a family? Shopping? Golf?
  • Set a budget and      stick to it – you can check your credit rating and get loan advice from      the fish4 site.
  • Research as much as      possible and set up email alerts so that you get up to date information on      the cars you like which are available. You can do this through your mobile      too: http://mobile.fish4.co.uk
  • Compare prices on      vehicles you want to see – make sure they are competitive, and always see      the car in good day light
  • When viewing the car      – check for rust and badly worn tyres as well as all the documentation. It      is best to have someone with you for a 2nd opinion
  • Test drive the car –      and check windows, breaks, lights, tax disc, spare tyre, the boot as well      as under the bonnet

Top 3 makes searched on fish4cars in key cities and regions:

London                       Volkswagen, BMW, Ford

Essex                         Ford, Vauxhall, Renault

Wales                         Ford, Renault, Vauxhall

Oxford                         Ford, Vauxhall, Peugeot

Glasgow                     Ford, Volkswagen, Vauxhall

Manchester                Ford, Volkswagen, Vauxhall

Worcs                         Ford, Vauxhall, Renault

Birmingham               Ford, Vauxhall, Peugeot

Gtr Manchester          Ford, Renault, Peugeot

Brighton                      Ford, Peugeot, Vauxhall

Liverpool                    Ford, Vauxhall, Renault

Newscastle                Ford, Vauxhall, Volkswagen

Wiltshire                     Ford, Vauxhall, BMW

Inner London              Ford, Vauxhall, BMW

Southampton             Ford, Vauxhall, Peugeot

Leeds                         Ford, Volkswagen, Peugeot

York                             Ford, Vauxhall, Renault

Jul 302008

Check-car-oilThree quarters of motorists don’t know oil light meaning

Around 26 million motorists* in the UK are unaware that they are risking serious damage to their cars and four-figure repair bills by not keeping an eye on their oil level.

So says car care company, Comma, as it launches National Oil Check Day on Friday 25th July. To support the campaign, the Company has launched a new website at www.checkyouroil.co.uk to offer valuable information and advice.

Research reveals that three quarters of motorists wrongly rely on the dashboard’s oil warning light as a reminder to top up their engine. Typically, the oil warning light actually means the levels are so low that serious mechanical damage is likely to occur.

Although 96 percent of those surveyed “claimed” they knew what the oil warning light signified, only 1 in 4 correctly repeated standard manufacturer advice of stopping immediately and switching the engine off.  A third would continue their journey until they could top-up despite the risk of blowing the engine altogether!

National Oil Check Day has been set up by Comma to urge motorists to take simple routine car maintenance more seriously.

Three in five drivers don’t carry out the ‘dipstick test’ to check their oil level every month, as recommended, and one in 10 said they never do.

Young drivers (17-24) showed that motorists are becoming increasingly blasé with over a quarter (26%) admitting they never check their oil.

Meanwhile, the older generation, despite being more mechanically savvy, are not without fault – 22% more of drivers over 65 failed to recognise the severity of the oil light coming on than those in the youngest bracket.

“Too many people think of their oil warning light in the same way as their petrol light when, actually, it’s an awful lot more serious,” says Comma’s Mike Bewsey. “By the time the oil light comes on, it’s probably too late to avoid problems and you may only be a handful of miles away from massive inconvenience and a repair bill just as big!”

For further information and to find your nearest stockist, visit www.commaoil.com and click on the Where to Buy button.

  • 26m is 75% of the 34.7m registered drivers in the UK – Source: DVLA
Jul 302008

Motor showNEW FOR 2008 at the Motor Show there will be the Dreamscape Honda’s live action arena, The Heritage Enclosure, The Marine Experience, Kids Driving Acitivities, Disney Pixar World of CARS, The Westfield Active Drift Experience, The Co-operative Insurance Greener Driving Pavilion and EV Village, Garmin Great British Drives,  Brownhills Outdoor Living and What Van? Live.

Plus What Car? in association with Warranty Direct, will be revealing the winners of the first ever What Car? Green Awards at .

In response to overwhelming requests from readers for information on green cars, the awards will comprise 10 categories and an overall Green Car of the Year.

Steve Fowler, What Car? Group Editor, commented: “With increasing environmental concerns among car buyers, not to mention green taxes and spiralling fuel costs, the time is right for a recognised Green Awards. We’re delighted to be able to present them in the Greener Driving Pavilion at The British International Motor Show.

“The focus of these Awards will obviously be on a car’s environmental credentials, but the winners will also be great cars to own and run, without any compromises.”

Jul 032008

Tyre PressureBritish motorists are collectively wasting more than £1 billion a year despite petrol prices breaking through the £5 a gallon mark and diesel hitting £1.29 a litre, by failing to keep an eye on their tyre pressure.

Research by Cooper Tire Europe found that, at any one time, a staggering 95 percent of vehicles on the road have at least one tyre under inflated by 10 percent. This not only increases fuel consumption and reduces the life of the tyre, but also increases the risk of accidents.

Under inflated tyres are harder to get moving, and can result in an increase of 2.5 percent in fuel consumption – an unwanted extra expense considering UK motorists spent £34 billion on fuel last year.

With around 30 million passenger vehicles on the roads, and an average cost of 14.74 pence per mile for petrol cars and 12.81 pence per mile for diesel cars, drivers of affected vehicles are unwittingly shelling out an extra £44.22 per year each (£38.43 for diesel drivers) – a collective total of £1.26 billion*.

Alarmingly, under inflated tyres also increase stopping distances and are therefore a contributory factor to road accidents.  Department for Transport data reveals that defective and under inflated tyres cause 1,000 serious injuries or fatalities every year.

“Checking your tyre pressures is a mundane, but very simple, task,” says Cooper Tire product manager, Malcolm Jones. “As the ‘credit crunch’ grips the country, it’s amazing that drivers aren’t bothering to do it, as it could save them money and, more importantly, keep them safe on the road.”

Cooper Tire recommends that motorists check their tyre pressures at least once a month, or whenever they fill up at a petrol station.

Jul 032008

car checksHaynes, renowned worldwide for its car manuals, is urging motorists to save money by checking their cars before an MOT test. Recently released figures from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) gained by the Institute of Advanced Motorists Trust, show that first-time MOT failure rates in the UK are higher than in other European countries. There was a 21.6 per cent MOT failure rate recorded in 2007, with more than 271,000 of those failures due to lighting faults – most of which can be cured without difficulty by someone with basic mechanical knowledge.

J Haynes, Vice Chairman and Managing Director at Haynes, said: “It takes very little time to check a car over before submitting it for an MOT test. Basic faults such as lights not working, worn wiper blades and insufficient tyre tread depth can easily be sorted out before the test. This is invariably cheaper than having your car fail the MOT test.”

Haynes manuals have a section detailing the checks you can do before your car’s MOT test. Haynes is the world’s leading publisher of automotive repair manuals and renowned for teaching millions of car owners how to carry out routine maintenance and repairs. Haynes publishes manuals for more than 500 cars and vans as well as useful glove box guides such as Your Car.

Below, we summarise some of the range of pre-MOT checks.

• From the driver’s seat, you can test the handbrake, footbrake, steering wheel and column for correct operation and excessive play.

• Still in the driver’s seat, check that the windscreen is free of cracks or damage.

• Now check that the door latches work and that all seat belts are in good condition and fasten properly.

• Moving to outside the car, check that the wiper blades are in good condition and that the lights and horn work.

• The wheels and tyres should be inspected thoroughly. Wheels should not be damaged and tyres must be free of cuts, tears, lumps or bulges. Check the tread depth – a minimum of 1.6mm over at least three-quarters of the tread width is the current legal requirement (though it’s best to fit new tyres well before the legal limit is reached).

• Finally, clean your car thoroughly inside and out and on the underside, if possible. The tester can refuse to examine a car which is filthy underneath.

Haynes manuals are available for 80 per cent of cars over three years old on UK roads. They contain many tips for saving fuel and show motorists how they can save money on garage bills by doing simple servicing and maintenance tasks themselves.

Haynes Manuals retail at £18.99 (hardback) – less than half a tank of fuel. They are available from www.haynes.co.uk or from all good automotive accessory retailers and bookshops including Halfords and Motor World.