Sep 042017

When choosing a new car, it’s easy to spend as much on optional extras as it is on the car itself. From being seduced by the latest mod-cons to the occasional, dodgy dealer trying to promote unnecessary extras, consumers are inundated with options.

While some extras won’t add value, not having certain options on a modern car can make it almost impossible to sell. Choosing which to purchase can be confusing, so we’ve put together our top tips on what’s really worth it…

Built-in sat nav

Traditionally, integrated sat nav units were an expensive luxury. However, they are increasingly being offered as standard, and even optional or upgraded units can be cheaper than what you’d have paid a few years ago.

A built-in sat nav can help a car retain value, especially in executive models where it’s often considered an essential. It’s worth knowing it can be more expensive to update maps than with standalone GPS, but lots of manufacturers are now offering free updates with their integrated systems for fixed periods. Keep an eye out for these deals to save on future costs.

Air conditioning/climate control

Very few cars are sold without air con. However, several smaller city and supermini cars may not include air conditioning, or only make it available as an extra.

It’s worth adding air conditioning if you have the option, as you’ll be thankful for it on warm days and it can keep your windows frost and mist-free in cold weather.

Not only this, but air conditioning and climate control are among the handful of optional extras that help to boost cars’ resale value. Some compact hatchbacks can even be worth a few hundred pounds more with it fitted.

It’s worth bearing in mind problems with A/C can sometimes occur in built-in systems. Make sure your warranty covers air-conditioning to avoid unplanned costs.

Parking sensors

Parking sensors have been widely used for some time now and are the most common parking device on the market. They not only help to improve resale values, but some models come with both front and rear sensors, which give an audible/visual warning of approaching objects. Not only does this help to make parking easier (especially for larger cars), vehicles with parking sensors can see the average insurance premium fall by 13 percent.

Which aren’t worth it?

Personalised or statement colours

While you might adore your bright pink Fiat 500, there is a chance not all would be as bold in their colour choice. Silver, black and blue are the most common car colours in the UK – while not the most exciting, personalising your car colour to something more flamboyant could limit the number of potential buyers for your car.

Gaudy body kits

If you’re looking to fit a full body kit, a bigger exhaust, or alloy wheels you may wish to reconsider. Just as with personalised colour, these options are very much down to personal taste. You could find it harder to sell and some modifications can raise insurance prices by up to 66 percent and even invalidate your car warranty.

Adaptive suspension

Usually an option on premium or performance vehicles, adaptive suspension constantly adjusts in response to changing road conditions to ensure a continuously smooth drive. While this is a great perk, it typically raises the cost of a car by nearly £1,000, without necessarily adding enough value for it to be worth the cost when it comes to selling your car on.

Jul 232010

Air conditioningAs temperatures rise, leading warranty provider, Warranty Direct, reveals that the UK’s motorists will be sweating over £237m worth of air con repairs to their cars*.

Data from the past 12 months shows that air conditioning units account for 1 in 60 mechanical failures.

By using the air con only during the summer, or simply on hot days, British drivers are leaving it prone to failure. Internal components rely on lubricating oil which is mixed with the air conditioning gas – when the system is inactive, the compressor isn’t lubricated properly and can fail.

While the average repair stands at £479, the most expensive claim paid by Warranty Direct, on a Mercedes S-Class, cost a staggering £2,293. Audi A4 drivers, too, could see four-figure bills up to £1,485.

Warranty Direct’s Duncan McClure Fisher said: “The last thing you want on a hot day is to find your air con has failed. Too many drivers leave the system dormant for long periods of time, particularly during the winter, so we highly recommend that it’s used at least once a week to avoid causing expensive repairs.”

Volkswagen Golf owners could be hit with a bill of £713, and Ford Focus drivers might not get off lightly either, with the highest claim paid by Warranty Direct as high as £650.

Repairing the air con is a labour-intensive job, requiring on average 2h37m of a mechanic’s time to put right.

Nov 302006

Air conditioningBritish motorists are continuing to risk an unwanted £583 bill by ignoring advice about the usage of air-con.

Leading independent extended warranty specialist, Warranty Direct, says too many drivers switch off their air con during the winter leaving it prone to failure when the warmer weather returns.

Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct explains: “Switched off for long periods of time, water or air can get into the system. The moisture will react with the refrigerant to create acid, which then attacks the seals and pipe-work leaving you with a hefty repair bill.”

Data shows that air-conditioning units account for 1 in 20 mechanical failures with an average bill of £583 but as high as £1,661.

Air con is also no longer the luxury it once was. Experts estimate that almost four out of five new cars now come fitted with the cooling system as standard.

As well as regular use throughout the year, Warranty Direct also recommends annual maintenance checks which cost as little as £40 from an independent specialist.

Jul 272004

Air conditioningFour out of five new cars come fitted with air conditioning today, yet the likelihood of an expensive failure has jumped 55 percent over the past eighteen months.

According to data released by independent automotive warranty specialist, Warranty Direct, 1 in 20 claims are now air con related with the cost of repair running into the hundreds, if not thousands.

Analysis shows that the most susceptible vehicles are those aged 4 years old.

Vehicles in months 48-60 of their life accounted for more than 44 percent of claims handled by the warranty specialist. The previous 4 years represented just 14 percent of claims.

And when it does go wrong, the must-have cooling system has a tendency to hit the bank balance hard.

On average, owners will be presented with a bill of £444.68 making the air-con unit the fourth most expensive item to repair after the automatic gearbox, turbo and engine.

Although the air con units on some models look less reliable than others on paper, for example, the Volvo 850 reports a failure rate of 37 percent and the Ford Galaxy nearly 27 percent, the fact is that too many motorists fail to see the importance of servicing.

” Too many people treat air con as a fit and forget option,” warns Warranty Direct’s Duncan McClure Fisher. “Units need regular use and regular servicing to help prevent expensive breakdowns.”

An annual health check and service should cost around £40 from an independent specialist – a far cry from the pre-fit £920 it would cost to buy an air con compressor unit on a Toyota Land Cruiser Amazon.