Apr 222014

CutCostsMost drivers (47%) spend more disposable income on their car than anything else according to new figures well ahead of holidays (21%) and socialising with friends (13%). As a consequence, 1 in 10 continue to cut back on car maintenance in a bid to save money (equivalent to 2.8 million cars), with 41% placing the reliability and safety of their car last on the list of motoring concerns.

The findings are in a new report from Halfords Autocentres, which show despite the economic upturn motorists’ behaviour hasn’t changed and they continue to make some ill-advised compromises to car maintenance and safety.

Rory Carlin from Halfords Autocentres explains: “Despite a rise in personal earnings, stable inflation and fuel prices that are at a three-year low, drivers feel that they are already paying a high enough price for their motoring and are unwilling to spend more on anything they feel is unnecessary.

“However, car maintenance isn’t just necessary it is essential and we have uncovered some shocking admissions that are likely to be a hangover from the recession.”

Of the drivers that admitted to cutting back on maintenance to save money, 60% are no longer servicing their cars in line with manufacturers’ guidelines – a figure almost unchanged from the more austere financial times of 2012.

A worryingly high percentage (43%) also reported waiting to replace tyres until they are at or below the legal minimum (1.6mm), 32% are not investigating fresh noises or dashboard warning lights and 25% said they had avoided replacing brake pads.

Commenting on the findings, Maria McCarthy author of The Girls’ Car Handbook added: “A lack of technical know-how and the complexity of modern cars can make maintenance a daunting prospect.

“Find a garage you trust, or get a friend to recommended one, and build a rapport with them that will enable you to discuss which repairs are essential and which are advisory – then budget for on-going maintenance.”

A useful way to save on car maintenance costs is with an extended warranty covering the costs of repairs. This includes those repairs identified during MOT or servicing. Click here to get a quote via Warranty Direct.

Apr 222014

ServicingLet’s state the obvious shall we? Shopping around for servicing could save families hundreds. What Car? analysed costs for 10 of the most popular cars in the UK across eight regions and found an average gap of £126 between the cheapest and most expensive services.

Apparently Scottish and Welsh motorists enjoy the cheapest prices in the UK on average (£210 and £217 respectively), while the South East is the most expensive region, with an average cost of £244.

According to What Car? Magazine Scottish and Welsh motorists enjoy the cheapest prices in the UK on average (£210 and £217 respectively), while the South East is the most expensive region, with an average cost of £244.

Table showing average service costs by region

Region Average service cost
Scotland £210
Wales £217
North East £218
West £223
Midlands £225
North West £235
London £242
South East £244


What Car? analysed the cost of the first service (including VAT) for the 10 most searched-for cars on its website.

In some cases, the difference in costs by region meant that car owners willing to shop around and travel could make significant savings, equivalent to slap-up lunches in a three-star Michelin restaurant, nights in four-star hotels or family days out.

Emma Butcher, consumer editor of What Car?, said: “The cost of running a car is often a strain on already stretched household bills. That’s particularly the case with servicing because it is one of those items that could be sacrificed to save pennies.

“It pays in peace of mind to have your car serviced yearly, and it needn’t be such a bitter financial pill to swallow if you put in a little time.

“Just remember that nearest can also be dearest – just because your local dealer is more convenient doesn’t mean it will be most cost-effective.”

Among the 10 models analysed by What Car?, even different vehicles built in the same factory, or with the same mechanical underpinnings, generated varying service costs.

The Audi A3, Seat Leon, Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf share many components, including engines, but What Car? found that it costs almost two thirds (62%) more on average to service an A3 over an Octavia. In Wales, that increase in cost leapt to 93%.

Table showing service costs for 10 popular models

Model Average Price Highest Lowest Difference
Range Rover £444 £587 £367 £220
Nissan Juke £199 £309 £149 £160
Vauxhall Zafira £184 £289 £138 £151
Peugeot 3008 £199 £257 £125 £132
BMW X3 £254 £325 £198 £127
Audi A1 £250 £306 £183 £123
Volkswagen Golf £174 £245 £139 £106
Ford Fiesta £170 £219 £121 £98
Mercedes-Benz C-Class £260 £297 £216 £81
Toyota Yaris £136 £165 £109 £56

Emma Butcher said: “When you buy a car with a premium badge you pay up front on the cost of the car, but it’s worth remembering that the additional outlay is transferred across the life of the car.”

For great MOT & servicing prices visit MOT Angel to benefit from a network of vetted garages as well as engineers dealing with the garage for you to prevent unnecessary repairs. If you have an extended warranty in place you will need to get it serviced annually and this is a cost efficient method of validating your warranty.

Apr 222014

FordBMWFord is now rated as reliable as BMW by 74,414 Ford and BMW owners.  Owners also rated Ford better on fuel economy. Over 536,778 car owners have been involved in rating virtually every make and model on British roads on a review site in the last 14 months.

Ford ratings have steadily increased and now the American owned world car brand is as reliable as BMW in owner’s eyes.

WeLoveAnyCar.com spokesman said, “Soon Ford could overtake BMW overall. The BMW ‘Overall’ rating is just 0.1 ahead of Ford and the trend for Ford is up.”

Car owners were asked to rate their car out of 5. The results are clear:

Ford BMW
Fuel Economy rating 3.8 3.52
Reliability rating 4.42 4.42


BMW still managed to score higher on other factors and is ahead for comfort and driving experience. The overall score on the car review site combines all these factors and the margin between the two car brands is almost too close to call.

Ford BMW
Overall rating 4.12/5 4.22/5


BMW has a higher rating when owners are asked; “would you recommend your car?” However at 4.38/5 they were only 0.08 ahead of the Ford owners score at 4.30/5.

Warranty Direct use their real claims data to put together the Reliability Index indicating that owners may be correct in this trend. While BMW lingers at 29th (http://www.reliabilityindex.com/manufacturer) in the manufacturer’s rankings Fords come in at 8th!

Apr 162014

franchised dealersExperts claim that UK motorists could save more money on real car values rather than focusing on their fuel efficiency.

Studies have shown Britons are fixated with the cost of fuel and filling up their tanks, however, vehicle valuation specialists CAP Automotive say by buying a car that holds its value better, over time you will save more.

CAP’s figures show that a typical medium family car bought three years ago has lost £12,599 in value.

But when driven 12,000 miles a year, those same cars have burned only £4,000 of fuel on average – so it is said that the typical motorist will see depreciation costs that are three times as much as they spend on fuel.

Philip Nothard, CAP’s Retail and Consumer expert, said its research shows that consumers “have a lot to learn” about how to make real savings.

“The problem is that motorists either think there is nothing they can do about depreciation or they simply don’t understand that fuel costs should be the least of their worries when you compare what they’ll spend at the pumps with how much they’ll lose by choosing one car when another holds its value so much better,” he added.

When buying a new car; checking the reliability should be the number one priority; the Reliability Index (www.reliabilityindex.com) can show motorists which cars are likely to be more reliable than others, using data that has been acquired by Warranty Direct (www.warrantydirect.co.uk).