Feb 042019
 

Autonomous VehiclesWhile fully self-driving vehicles aren’t quite part of today’s reality just yet, many new cars feature assisted and partial automation already.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders predicts the technology being developed for connected and autonomous vehicles will have prevented 25,000 accidents by 2030.

Warranty Direct looks at some of the key self-driving technologies making today’s vehicles safer and more efficient.

Ultrasonic sensors

 Most drivers will be familiar with ultrasonic sensors, with many vehicles already adopting the technology to help with reversing into tight parking spaces and more.

Ultrasonic sensors send out sound waves to detect surrounding objects. When the waves hit an object, it gives the car an accurate measurement of how close they are, to avoid collisions.

Blind-spot information system

Blind spot monitoring technology uses radar systems or rear-facing digital cameras, to sense vehicles which appear in a car’s blind spot. If this happens, a warning light shows in either the door mirror or within the A-pillar to alert the driver and make them aware of a potential hazard.

It’s become particularly useful when a motorist wishes to change lanes, as the technology offers an audible or haptic message if there is another vehicle in a car’s blind spot.

While it should reduce the number of collisions caused from changing lanes, drivers still need to check their blind spots and mirrors regularly and not become dependent on this technology alone.

IoT connectivity

Utilising IoT connectivity gives vehicles the ability to access wider data, like real-time traffic and weather updates, to ensure the safest and smoothest drive possible.

Connecting to a world of internet devices poses its problems, though. Privacy and safety are the biggest issue, with automated cars open to hacking, and the threat of information theft from connected devices like mobile phones.

Lane-keeping alert and automatic steering assist

By using a forward-looking camera, this technology has been developed to recognise when drivers are drifting out of a lane. Most vehicles will give either a visual or audible warning, but some higher-end motors now have automatic systems to divert a car safely back into the correct lane.

At the moment the technology is most effective on dry motorways and in a smooth flow of traffic, but there are developments being made to make it more precise and better suited to other situations such as driving on rural roads.

Traffic sign recognition

This uses a camera to scan road signs, then communicates this information back to either the dashboard or infotainment section of a vehicle.

All drivers should be well-versed on the Highway Code, which provides information on all the relevant road signs. However, this technology has been designed more as “extra driving assistance”, to help people when on unfamiliar roads or if they may have missed a change in the speed limit.

What’s next…?

Automation is measured in five stages; with the final, most advanced stage being a fully autonomous system. This is when a vehicle’s performance is equal to that of a human driver.

The majority of vehicles are currently at stage two, which is what the systems listed earlier like park assist and lane-keeping alert are currently rated.

But what are some of the technologies the motoring industry has in the pipeline to take us to stage five?

Car-to-x

Mercedes-Benz is currently working on a new technology – car-to-x – which will allow drivers to see ‘into the future’ – past multiple bends and maybe even further.

The sophisticated technology establishes networked links among and between vehicles and traffic infrastructure, so you can adjust your driving behaviour and defuse potentially dangerous situations.

The new GPS

Fully self-driving cars will rely on GPS devices to locate their position, helping to establish a route, know when to turn and more.

The worry is GPS devices can sometimes be off by a few metres, which would be extremely dangerous for a travelling vehicle. However, by connecting to other built-in sensors and cameras, vehicles can pinpoint an exact location.

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 212018
 

Car Films to Watch Over ChristmasIt’s December and that can only mean one thing; staying in with an open fire, drinking a cup of hot chocolate and watching our favourite Christmas films!

From bona fide classics to Christmas-inspired picks, Warranty Direct has put together its definitive list of must-watch car movies to enjoy during the festive frenzy.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

We thought we’d start our list with an oldie but a goodie. Based on Ian Fleming’s classic, this musical fantasy film is about an eccentric inventor who transforms a broken-down Grand Prix car into a fancy vehicle for his children. They all then go off on a magical adventure to save their grandfather in a faraway land.

It’s far from gritty realism, but this majestic movie is a must-watch for all the family. After all, who doesn’t wish they could own a flying car?

The Fast and the Furious (2001)

For our second pick, we’ve gone for a modern classic. Though this film spawned countless sequels, we still think the original is the best.

Starring Vin Diesel and the late Paul Walker, this first outing of the franchise is all about a police officer whose loyalties are put to the test when he becomes involved in the street racing world.

Plot aside, this high-intensity action film boasts thrilling racing scenes that will leave you on the edge of your seat this Christmas.

The Italian Job (1969)

This British action comedy starring Michael Caine features iconic appearances from a Lamborghini Miura and a Mini Cooper, in the hope of bringing Torino to a standstill, only to steal the Gold and escape.

Aside from being one of the most quotable movies ever, this film is a feast for the eyes for any motoring enthusiast and the perfect way to get your heart racing over the lull between Christmas and New Year.

Christmas Vacation (1989)

For the fourth spot on our list, we’ve gone for full-blown ‘80s nostalgia.

This Christmas-themed family comedy follows the Griswold family as they head out in their trusty wood-panelled wagon to pick up a Christmas tree. However, their plans for a perfect family Christmas are scuppered by plenty of comedic hi-jinks along the way.

Starring Chevy Chase and a young Johnny Galecki (perhaps better known as The Big Bang Theory’s Leonard Hofstadter), this is the ideal, feel-good Christmas movie to put on after Christmas dinner.

 Drive (2011)

Looking for a film that’s a little different? Why not watch this a modern-day indie classic?

Starring Ryan Gosling as a brooding stuntman and mechanic who moonlights as a getaway driver, this crime flick is an intense ride that features plenty of dizzying car chases along the way.

Of course, in the real world, when you’re looking for quality vehicle repairs, you’re unlikely to be met by a Hollywood star.

However, if great quality workmanship is what you’re in search of, we have our very own Preferred Repairer Network to guarantee our policy holders the best quality service when an unexpected fault or breakdown occurs.

Cars (2006)

For our final choice, we’ve gone for this Pixar animated adventure, which is a charming treat for adults and children alike.

The film follows a rookie race car (appropriately named Lightning McQueen), who discovers the true meaning of friendship when he finds himself lost in a run-down town called Radiator Springs.

This film has everything you could want from a family classic – plenty of thrills, touching moments – and classic vehicles to marvel at along the way!

 

Dec 172018
 

Leased or Financed New Car?If you’re considering buying a new car, you’ll have to decide whether you want to lease or finance the car. (Of course, it’s also an option to pay in full upfront, but most of us aren’t in a position to!) There’s a lot to consider when deciding between leasing and financing, including the cost of monthly payments, your driving habits (how many miles you expect to drive annually) and how long you anticipate you’ll have the car. But what about insurance costs?

Yes, the way in which you choose to pay for your new car could affect the insurance you pay every year.

The Difference Between a Leased and Financed Car

First things first, let’s identify the main difference between leasing and financing: ownership.

When you lease a car, you’re essentially renting the car for an extended period of time. Each month, you pay to continue renting it and, at the end of your lease period, you return the car to the dealer.

When you finance a car, you make monthly payments to a lender and, after your finance period ends and you’ve paid off the cost of the car and any interest incurred, you own the car free and clear.

Of course, since the terms of the agreements for leasing and financing are considerably different, the cost of each is also different. Leasing tends to be less expensive as your monthly payments essentially only cover the depreciation of the car. That way, when you return the car to the dealer, they haven’t lost any money. This explains why leases often have mileage restrictions; more wear and tear accelerates depreciation.

When financing a car, your monthly payments cover the cost of depreciation and your equity in the car so that after, say, 36 months, the car is yours.

Is it More Expensive to Insure a Leased or Financed Car

Whether you chose to finance your car or take out a lease, a third party has an interest in protecting the vehicle. When financing, that third party is whatever financial institution gave you the loan that you’re paying off each month. When leasing, that third party is the leasing agent or car dealer to whom you’re making a payment to every month.

While, yes, in both cases a third party has an interest in protecting the car, the leasing agent has more to lose if the car is damaged. As such, it’s required that leased cars have fully comprehensive coverage, which could cost more than the third-party insurance that all drivers in the UK are legally required to have.

It’s also important to realise that, when providing details about your vehicle to the insurance company, the registered owner isn’t you, but your finance company.

So, does all of this mean that leased cars are more expensive to insure than financed cars? Not necessarily! There are a handful of factors that can affect your insurance quote including the driver’s age, driving record, convictions, the make, model and year of the vehicle, the value of the vehicle and even where you park your car. 

Top Tips for Reducing Insurance Costs

If you’re looking to reduce your insurance costs, switching from a leased car to a financed car shouldn’t be your first step.

Instead, look for a car with a smaller engine that’s worth less money, keep your car garaged, consider having a black box fitted and agree to a mileage cap.