Feb 062015

Car manufacturers offering longer warranties could be leaving motorists short-changed, a study by Warranty Direct has revealed.

Mitsubishi, Renault, Subaru, Hyundai and Kia now offer warranties ranging from four to seven years from the initial purchase date, but a closer examination of the small print reveals major discrepancies between the advertised cover and the time elapsed.

In late 2014, Vauxhall revealed that its new cars would no longer be offered with its ‘Lifetime’ warranty, instead reverting to the industry norm of three years or 60,000 miles.

This has raised questions over the value of longer warranties, with many manufacturers enforcing mileage restrictions and excluding complex components and failures classified under ‘wear and tear’.

Mitsubishi has recently announced that it too will offer a five-year warranty, but all models will be subject to a strict mileage cap of just 62,500. The one exception in the range is the L200 which is covered for five years or 125,000 miles but owners of all other Mitsubishis will need to keep an eye on their mileage to avoid terminating their cover.

Similarly Renault, Subaru, Hyundai and Kia all eventually cap mileage at 100,000, but Renault drivers may be unaware that their warranty will expire if they reach this between 25 and 48 months of ownership.

Kia is slightly more generous with a 100,000 mile limit after 36 months, though this could drastically reduce the length of the warranty cover if an extensive mileage is covered.

In addition, the ‘wear and tear’ policy for new Kias also outlines restrictions based on mileage, stating that the gradual wearing of mechanical components in proportion to mileage is not covered. This vague clause could leave Kia owners vulnerable to judgement that their mileage is too high for the component to be covered.

Renault and Mitsubishi also stipulate that ‘normal’ wear and tear will not be covered. Most parts eventually fail due to wear and the definition of ‘normal’, ‘gradual’ or ‘premature’ appears open to interpretation, with the owner frequently exposed to significant bills.

Subaru’s 5-year warranty leaves owners more exposed to costly faults than others. After year three only the powertrain is covered; this is defined as the engine, transmission and driveline.

In years four and five, Subaru excludes cover for all steering components apart from the power steering pump and all air-conditioning parts other than the compressor. Any complex electrical faults will be the responsibility of the customer after the standard three years or 60,000 miles.

Higher mileage Hyundai drivers will also need to prepare to fork out for items not included in the ‘unlimited’ mileage offer; wheel bearings, all ball joints, bushes and dampers are covered for a maximum of five years or 60,000 miles.

Owners of Subaru’s flagship WRX STi cars will also be disappointed to find out that, unlike the rest of Subaru’s range, their manufacturer warranty cover will expire after the third year. Performance upgrades to standard models, even those fitted by a franchised dealer, will automatically invalidate the cover altogether.

Statistics from Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index show that on average 15% of Subaru Legacy models will require attention for electrical faults, and overall repair bills have escalated up to £2,304.30, suggesting that buyers could be faced with large bills beyond the standard warranty cover period.

On closer inspection, Kia’s headlining seven-year warranty also excludes the air conditioning after two years and the audio and navigation systems after three years or 60,000 miles. Given that some Kias are prone to faults with more complex components (notably the 55% of Picantos on record have suffered electrical failures) this could be a cause for concern.
All of these policies stipulate that the car must be serviced by an authorised retailer, and for its electric vehicles Renault will only honour the warranty cover if the owner’s charging point meets a required standard.

Mitsubishi also states that damage resulting from the use of non-genuine parts will not be covered including any fitted by authorised dealers, suggesting that customers could be liable for faults created by poor workmanship within Mitsubishi’s own dealer network.

David Gerrans, Managing Director at Warranty Direct commented: “Prospective car purchasers need to be wary of the limitations of policies that may promise total peace of mind beyond the usual three years or 60,000 miles as they may not be all that they seem.

“Mitsubishi’s recently introduced five-year policy is a prime example of an extended warranty policy which is heavily restricted in favour of the manufacturer.

“Such offerings should not eclipse all other factors when selecting a new car. Motorists who cover high mileages or plan to replace their car after a short time are very unlikely to reap the full benefit of an extended warranty, so should take other considerations into account when making the purchase.

“In all instances, buyers should protect their interests by maintaining their cars in line with manufacturer guidelines, a common stipulation that could wipe out your warranty cover if ignored.”
The study examined the latest warranty documents from manufacturers advertising warranties of four years or more.

Feb 062015

120115tyrThe Tyre Safety Companion, a new smart phone app from tyre safety group TyreSafe, is set to help even more drivers stay safe on the road after being named as one of the best motoring apps for 2015 by Auto Express.

Launched during last October’s tyre safety month, the app provides motorists with a wide range of practical tyre safety advice and tips while on the go. Available free on both Apple’s iTunes and Google’s Play stores, the app gives a number of handy hints, practical advice and reminders regarding a range of tyre safety issues such as what to do at the roadside in the event of a puncture, how to check your tyre pressures and much more.

“Being named as one of Auto Express’ Best Apps for 2015 is a fantastic accolade,” comments Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe. “It’s important that drivers have easy access to accurate tyre safety advice while they’re out and about, so we’re delighted that this latest innovation has already been identified as a potential life saver.”

Feb 042015

6052Citroën UK has released its latest #ParkingHero survey data, providing drivers with an insight into UK parking behavior. Half of the drivers that admitted to pranging a car when parking then said they had driven off, leaving the innocent party to foot an unexpected repair bill.



The parking stats are:

  • 25% of UK drivers admit to bumping another car when parking
  • Half of those who prang a car admit to driving off without taking responsibility for the damage
  • Almost 50% of UK drivers fear supermarket car park prangs the most
  • 63% of drivers choose not to park in the first space they find
  • Citroën UK has launched a #ParkingHero campaign to build confidence & parking skills amongst drivers
  • Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) backs a series of parking-tip videos produced by Citroën UK in association with Arsenal Football Club

Nearly half of respondents believe it’s more likely they will have their car damaged in a supermarket car park than anywhere else. This sentiment is broadly the same for all ages of driver across the country. Next in line is the multi-storey car park, with 28% of the public fearing their car will sustain scrapes in this type of location. On-street parking came in third place at 17%.

When searching for our perfect parking spot, 63% of us tend to look for spaces that don’t have any other cars nearby, rather than utilising the first space we find. That means, on average, only 37% of drivers are not worried about where they park their vehicle. Interestingly, the highest percentage of ‘careful’ parkers are in the 18-24 year-old age bracket, which includes new drivers.

Citroën’s #ParkingHero campaign has been created to highlight the issues UK drivers face on a daily basis when parking. It also demonstrates the importance of parking-aid technology, which is available on the latest models in the Citroën range – including Airbump® panels on the award-winning New Citroën C4 Cactus. Airbump® is designed to protect against minor bumps and scrapes, helping to reduce stress and the expense associated with car park dings.

As well as producing a campaign launch film with the New C4 Cactus http://youtu.be/etHieSMnZvc, Citroën UK has worked with the IAM to create a series of four educational films, which feature three Arsenal Football Club stars and the New Citroën C1, to provide some top parking tips for drivers.

Feb 022015

pic_story1Analysis of Warranty Direct’s 50,000 live policies reveals that, with an average annual failure rate of 36.5% across all makes and models, some 18,000 vehicles could break down during 2015 and a disproportionately high number are likely to be during the winter giving an estimated seasonal failure rate approaching 10%.

According to data from Warranty Direct’s unique Reliability Index (www.reliabilityindex.com), electrical issues are expected to be the root cause of more than 25% of all winter breakdowns.

Despite being more reliable than average, Vauxhall Corsa owners are the most likely to be affected– with 1.1 million registered in the UK and, applying a seasonal failure rate of 10%, that’s almost 113,000 of the UK’s third most popular model that could breakdown this winter.

The least reliable model among the top-10 most popular is the BMW 3-series; however, the executive saloon car can boast only 650,000 registered examples on UK roads compared to more than a million Corsas.

Top-10 most popular models by number of registered vehicles & amount predicted to breakdown

Make and model Number of registered examples * Winter breakdown rate (%)** Predicted number of breakdowns by model
Ford Focus 1,450,876 6.62                                    95,975
Ford Fiesta 1,345,298 4.32                                    58,117
Vauxhall Corsa 1,160,610 9.72                                  112,811
Vauxhall Astra 1,099,916 9.07                                    99,784
Volkswagen Golf 960,418 8.80                                    84,536
BMW 3-Series 647,428 10.29                                    66,601
Renault Clio 614,082 8.37                                    51,399
Volkswagen Polo 582,473 8.80                                    51,269
Ford Mondeo 509,007 8.91                                    45,353
Peugeot 206 470,576 7.97                                    37,481
* DVLA data ** estimated as 27% of  Reliability Index annual rates


Another popular model – the Ford Focus – is predicted to leave up to 96,000 motorists stranded this winter, followed by the Volkswagen Golf with nearly 85,000.

Warranty Direct managing director, David Gerrans, said “The winter is generally tougher on many electrical and mechanical components, which can increase the chances of a breakdown. The best option is to be vigilant when it comes to maintenance.”