Oct 012018
 

New car checklistFor many young people, owning a car is a rite of passage. But, with so much choice available and with many young people on a tight budget, selecting the right student car can be tricky.

Warranty Direct has put together some helpful tips to help student motorists make the right decision, from buying your first car to beyond.

Where to start

When looking at potential vehicles, you can be tempted to go to the first car that catches your eye. However, it’s important to keep your budget in mind when choosing what’s right for you.

Firstly, you need to decide whether to buy a new or used car. Although initially more expensive, newer cars are normally more advanced in terms of safety, technology and fuel efficiency. This could save you money in the long-term.

On the other hand, a new car can lose around 40% of its value in the first year, so you may be left out of pocket when you go to sell it later.

Statistics also show around one-quarter of young drivers are involved in a crash within two years of passing their test. So with this in mind, it might be more cost-effective not to purchase a brand-spanking new vehicle until you have a little more experience on the roads.

Don’t get caught out with insurance

For the majority of students, expensive car insurance is far from ideal. Drivers aged between 17-24 can expect to pay over £1100 for their insurance policy.

Limited driving experience and a greater likelihood of being in an accident account for this high rate. However, there are ways for students to keep their insurance costs down.

For example, adding a more experienced named driver on a student’s insurance policy can shave an impressive 13% off their insurance premiums.

Younger drivers can make further financial savings by opting for a black box insurance policy. This is where the insurer fits a telematic tracker – which records speed, braking and cornering behaviour – to your vehicle.

 In fact, according to recent figures, 60% of the cheapest black box deals are for under-25s, compared with 50% two years ago.

Factor in reliability

It’s important students know what they need from a vehicle, not just what they want. Factors such as safety, cost and reliability need to be considered; particularly if you’re facing a lengthy commute from home to your new student accommodation.

Look out for vehicles with low repair and maintenance costs and features such as light steering and user-friendly controls.

Using tools such as our Reliability Index to see which vehicles are the most reliable could help you avoid expensive maintenance issues further down the line.

If you’re willing to look beyond flashy alternatives, the trusty Ford Fiesta is a good bet for students on a tight budget. The Fiesta scores highly in the reliability stakes and suits the needs of most young motorists.

Fuel for thought

For cash-strapped young drivers, one of the major drawbacks of owning a car is the cost of keeping a vehicle on the road.

With fuel costs rising, it’s worth looking out for the most fuel-efficient models on the market.

It’s also important to account for vehicle tax, MOT tests and the general cost of upkeep for your new vehicle. On average, it costs around £472 to maintain a used car over the course of a year.

It might be worth considering Just Add Fuel options which combine finance, breakdown, servicing and tax costs into a single monthly installment if your heart’s set on a brand new vehicle.

Owning a car can give you your first taste of ‘grown-up’ responsibility, so it’s important to think wisely if you want to experience the joy of the open road on a student budget.

Sep 102018
 

New car showroomThere comes a time in a car owners’ life when it’s time to say goodbye…it could be a change in lifestyle, high maintenance costs, or just because you fancy something new. Whatever the reason, be sure you’re getting the best deal and not left out of pocket when buying your next car.

Looking to upgrade to a newer model?

Read our Warranty Direct guide on getting a swankier car, for less.

The benefits of upgrading

The advances in car technology are progressing at such a fast rate that if you stick with your current model for too long, you could miss out on new features that make driving both easier and safer.

Not only this, but cars depreciate quickly and after three years you could lose up to 60% of your vehicle’s original value.

So, when looking to upgrade your car, one of the first things you need to do, is to look at its current and future market value to make sure you upgrade before it’s too late.

Out with the old

Before buying your swanky new motor, you need to work out what you’re going to do with your old vehicle. Trade-in offers are typically less than you’d get in a private-party sale but can be much quicker and less hassle.

To work out if you’re being offered a reasonable price on your trade-in car at a dealership, you first must know what your vehicle is worth. Do some online research, print out the results and take them with you, as evidence to help with negotiating.

If you’re deciding between two dealerships with similar offers, you may want to lean toward the one at which you intend to buy your car. This may give you some leverage since you’re giving the dealership business on both the trade-in and the car purchase.

Look for models which hold their value

You may want to look out for cars that are about to be superseded by a newer model. These ‘run-out’ models are often found with discounts of up to 30% on the original price as dealers make way for shiny new stock.

However, some models shed cash quicker than others, meaning it will be worth a lot less in only a short period of time. So, make sure you check the resale price to see if some models may slump in value when their replacements arrive, (especially if you plan to sell it on in a few years).

You can also use our Reliability Index to help you work out how likely you are to have issues with a certain make or model.

Timing is everything

Dealers have targets to meet, with bonuses up for grabs, so they will usually be more willing to negotiate and offer more attractive finance packages at the end of each sales quarter. This means buying a vehicle at the end of March, June, September and December, could get you a better deal.

Try to avoid weekends or the start of the month just after payday. A dealership crammed with wannabe buyers isn’t ideal if you want to pick-up the best bargain.

Think about finance

While low-rate finance schemes with modest monthly payments may bring newer cars within your reach, you need to be sure you can keep up with the monthly payments as missing any can affect your credit rating and your car could be repossessed.

As mentioned earlier, newer cars can lose their value quite quickly, so you may want to look at pre-owned options first.

Used cars are cheaper initially and you could get more for your money, buying a top of the range older model for a similar price as a basic spec new car.

If you go down the used car route and the original manufacturer warranty has expired, you will also need to think about getting an extended warranty in place to protect your vehicle against unexpected failure and the costs that come with it. You can always get a quote with Warranty Direct to see how we could help you.

Policies underwritten by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Arranged and administered by Warranty Direct. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Oct 132016
 

The latest results from Warranty Direct reveal the Mitsubishi Lancer is the most reliable family car according to the latest data from their Reliability Index website.

The Reliability Index analyses all the vehicle data on live Warranty Direct and collates it into creating a reliability rating. The lower the rating, the better the reliability. As well as finding out the overall reliability of a car, the index offers information on which car parts fail most often  such as air conditioning, axle & suspension, braking, cooling, electrical components, engines and fuel.

Family cars are usually chosen for being specifically good at daily domestic work, which means considering a certain set of parameters rather than just an outright type of model. Many couples are more likely to choose a vehicle based on its ability to meet family needs. Practicality, running costs and price all score high on the hit list, though some want style and something fun to drive, too.

Top ten most reliable family cars

Position Model Sector
1 Mitsubishi Lancer Small Family
2 Honda Insight Small Family
3 Mercedes-Benz CLC Small Family
4 Honda Accord (08-) Family Car
5 Honda Civic (00-06) Small Family
6 Toyota Prius (03-09) Family Car
7 Hyundai i30 Small Family
8 Nissan Almera Small Family
9 Honda Civic (06-) Small Family
10 Toyota Prius (09-) Family Car

The Mitsubishi Lancer, is the most reliable family car with the time spent off the road for repairs typically less than an hour and the average repair cost only £69. The Honda Insight came in at second place, but due to a high number of reported issues occurring with its axle suspension, the costs of repairs are over double that of Mitsubishi’s averaging at around £137. This lowered its position in the rankings.

Both cars received good family car reviews with the Mitsubishi Lancer being praised for its practicality spaciousness and superb value and the Honda Insight deemed a good choice for those who need more space than you find in a small hatchback, but who still want a town-friendly, smooth and fuel-efficient car.

80% of the top ten most reliable cars were Japanese models and Honda did particularly well with 4 of its models making the top ten. The only non-Japanese cars to enter the top ten were the Mercedes-Benz CLC which came in at position number three and the Hyundai i30 which came in at position number seven.

The reliability of Japanese vehicles is believed to stem from Japan’s superior production processes and more meticulous testing regimes. Japanese brands also tend to be more conservative when it comes to adopting complex new technologies – though hybrid technology is an obvious exception to this trend.

The least reliable family car is the Skoda Superb, due in part to the large number of reported issues occurring in its engine (30%) and repair time averaging at around 3 hours. Costs of repairs were also particularly high averaging around £578. Results such as this are an example of how typically reliable cars can be pulled down in the rankings by unreliable parts.

Speaking about the latest results Philip Ward, COO of Warranty Direct commented:

 “Families demand a lot from their cars and need vehicles that won’t let them down. Mitsubishi’s success in the reliability rankings is chiefly down to low failure rates and when things go wrong, they are cheaper to fix. It’s imperative for buyers to consider reliability when purchasing a used family car. Manufacturers demonstrating their cars are durable and cheaper to maintain will continue to be the most popular choices amongst buyers.”

A more extensive list of vehicle information is available on the Reliability Index website.

Nov 302015
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Need a small family car? It has to be either a posh VW Golf or a hardworking Ford Focus.

Why Buy?

No one ever made a mistake by choosing a VW Golf. Even now, after the diesel scandal, these are still regarded as well built, practical and reliable. The Ford Focus has a bit more of a twist, it is still practical and cost effective to run, but it is also fun to drive. Many buyers like that.

Which models?

 The 2004-2009 Golf is regarded as the period when the model returned to form. They have decent safety equipment and the SE is the best spec. The all-new Focus had a tough act to follow, but it is stylish, spacious and reliable. LX specification has air conditioning.

Are they reliable?

The Golf has proved to be very trustworthy, the trouble is that fixing the Golf is always more costly than the Ford, by some margin. Also, Warranty Direct makes it clear that overall the Focus has proved to be the more reliable buy. So for cost and overall reliability the Focus wins.

How much do they cost?

It is now possible to buy high mileage examples from 2004 to 2005 at below £2000. Late examples are now around £8000, usually the high spec sporty ones. The focus is often discounted and around in large numbers so prices start at just over £1000 rising to £7800 or so.

Sum Up: Golf means style and quality, but it will cost more to run. The Focus means low running costs and reliability, the sensible choice.

Volkswagen Golf

 Average Repair Cost: £306.97

Axle and Suspension: 19.41%*

Electrical: 16.47%*

Engine: 21.76%*

Warranty Direct Rating: Average

* Failure rate

Ford Focus

Average Repair Cost: £280.83

Electrical: 30.39*

Axle/Suspension: 15.31%*

Engine: 16.47*

Warranty Direct Rating: Above Average

* Failure rate