Feb 212014

WinterWe may be half way through winter, but it does seem that according to research most motorists don’t seem to be very prepared for whatever the weather is going to throw at them. However, they did find that 51% of motorists change their driving habit to deal with the conditions.

CarsandGarages’ research has found that a large percentage of UK motorists do nothing to prepare their vehicle for winter, failing to make their vehicle safe for the more challenging conditions experienced in winter. However, they did find that 51% of motorists change their driving habit to deal with the conditions.

92% of motorists don’t fit winter tyres to their vehicle despite the benefits, with 54% stating cost as the main factor.

65% of motorists don’t carry out any winter checks to their vehicle, with only 6% going to a garage to get one – in spite of the fact that many offer them at no cost.

54% of motorists don’t prepare a winter pack containing items necessary for being stranded in poor weather.

28% of motorists are not aware of winter driving courses which can help drivers to understand and control their vehicle in poor conditions, with only 5% of motorists taking part in a winter driving course.

Overall although UK motorists make changes to their driving style their vehicle is not prepared, surely these should go hand in hand as having an unsafe or poorly prepared vehicle will make changing your driving style irrelevant.

Winter Survey carried out November 2013 of 107 motorists in the UK.

Feb 212014

ScrapOver 25,000 UK motorists sold their car for scrap in 2013, receiving an average of £147.54 each.  In light of this, a scrap metal expert is revealing top industry tactics that will help motorists get a higher price for their end-of-life vehicles.

Remove My Car which works with a network of Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs) throughout the UK, has experienced a fall in the national average for scrap car prices over the past 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. One of the most important things to do when getting your car scrapped, according to Remove My Car, is to ensure all of the parts are still on the car. Motorists who remove wheels prior to obtaining a quote will be faced with having £10 knocked off the final figure for each wheel that it is missing and risk not having the car collected at all, due to a different recovery vehicle required to collect a car without wheels. Most scrap car companies will even refuse to pick up a vehicle that hasn’t got its wheels as the transport of it will be made that much more difficult.

End-of-life vehicles missing an engine will fetch £67.50 less than those with the engine still intact, which is almost half of the average value. Removing a catalytic converter will see £30 taken off an average quote. Furthermore, a car without its battery will fetch £10 less and if the shell is missing the car has no scrap value at all.

Remove My Car has revealed that it has been known for some scrap car dealerships to reduce the value of their quotes towards the end of the month as a way of managing their workload, with many dealers being fully booked or close to fully booked due to road tax expiring. A way of preventing themselves from over-committing to customers is to reduce their competitiveness at this stage, so motorists who do their research early in the month when the dealers may be offering competitive prices are likely to receive a higher quote.

Another handy tip from Remove My Car is to remove the tax disc from the car and send it to the DVLA for a refund, though it’s better to do this before the end of a month, otherwise the next month will not be included in the refund. Avoid a dealer that claims their value includes the tax disc, as this is simply not the case as tax discs have their own value.

As a consequence of the recent cash ban introduced late last year, car breakers as well as scrap metal dealers are now required by law to obtain a copy of photograph identification and a recent utility bill less than three months old from the car seller, when collecting a car for scrap.

Steve Queen, owner of Remove My Car, is keen to educate motorists about the scrap car process to ensure that they always receive the very best, honest, fair price for their end of life vehicle. “What we’re trying to get across is that it’s so easy for you to get extra money for your end-of-life vehicle, you just need to be made aware of how it’s possible. We don’t want to short-change our customers because not only is it unethical it also means they probably wouldn’t use us again.”

Feb 212014

SmokingCarsThe recent decision to ban smoking in cars carrying children by Parliament was one thing. Along with the damage that smoking can do to your car come resale time. It sounds callous but it is definitely true. The industry experts tell us so.

“The British Medical Association has previously released research showing the levels of toxins in a car can be up to 11 times higher than in a smoky bar”, said Tim Naylor of BCA (British Car Auctions).  “But if drivers aren’t motivated by the health of their passengers, perhaps they will be by the diminishing health of their finances.  Lighting up inside a car seriously devalues the vehicle for resale.

“Presentation is one of the top factors influencing the price of used cars.   So if a car is more like an ashtray on wheels, chances are buyers will move on to find one that looks and smells fresh as a daisy.”

Professional valeting can alleviate most of the effects of smoking, but is expensive and time consuming and might mean replacing some interior trim, such as nicotine-stained headlinings and repairing any cigarette burns in the cabin.  In the worst cases, this can represent an investment of several hundreds of pounds.

Naylor concluded “Motorists should avoid having a cigarette in their car, especially if they intend to sell it in the near future. This will avoid the lingering smell of cigarettes in the interior, as well as eliminate the risk of scorch marks on the upholstery or dash. All of these things will put buyers off, even if they smoke themselves.”

Feb 102014

D3S_0484Duncan McClure-Fisher, managing director of Warranty Direct, the UK’s leading direct to consumer automotive specialist, has announced his departure from the business he co-founded 17 years ago. 

Launched in conjunction with his late father, David, in 1997, Warranty Direct quickly grew its core mechanical breakdown insurance business off the back of innovative online marketing and strategic brand partnerships with the likes of What Car?, Daily Telegraph, MSN, Admiral and Northcliffe Media.

After a career in Lloyds of London, Duncan grew the business at a rate of 30% year-on-year until Cardif Pinnacle, part of BNP Paribas, the global banking group, took a majority stake in April 2008.

Warranty Direct has continued to flourish and it is now a regular TV advertiser and headline partner of both the What Car? New and Used Car of the Year Awards.  Additionally, it publishes the respected consumer information websites, potholes.co.uk and reliabilityindex.com.

Duncan commented “It is a wrench to leave Warranty Direct which has been a huge part of my life.  I am proud of our achievements and know that the company is in a strong position to take advantage of an improving economy.  I am leaving many friends and colleagues behind and wish them well for the future.  I intend to take a break but I know that I will probably miss the day-to-day excitement of running a business and expect to be getting involved again soon.”