Posts Tagged ‘motoring’

car Drivers fined by police after insurers stop cover with no warningDrivers are finding themselves being stopped and fined by the police thanks to insurers cancelling their car cover without telling them.

The Financial Ombudsman Service says that they’ve seen a spike in complaints about policies being stopped without any warning and that, in the worst instances, motorists only find out about it when they’ve been pulled over for driving with no insurance.

The Ombudsman says that those who allow their insurer to renew their policies automatically, but don’t realise that they must declare any change in circumstances since first purchasing the cover, are the people most at risk.

Basically, if your insurer thinks that things are different, they may cancel your policy and there’s a chance they won’t tell you. It seems that motorists who have benefited from reduced premiums for having a no-claims discount are also at risk from getting their policy cancelled without being told.

And this is not to be sniffed at, as the penalty for driving without insurance is six points on your licence and a £300 fine. The Financial Ombudsman says: “These types of communication breakdowns can have very serious consequences for the people affected.”

So if your car insurance automatically renews, it is worth contacting your insurer and seeing if you can change that option or, indeed, ask them to provide you with clear correspondence of any changes in your policy.

picture 35 Honda and Daihatsu recall millions of cars over Takata airbagsAfter a round of recalls from Toyota and Nissan over defective airbags, over 5 million cars are being recalled by Honda and Daihatsu. The problem with all these vehicles is thanks to some potentially deadly airbag inflators that were made by Takata.

If you add all the recalls together, there’s 11.5 million cars being taken off the road over the same problem. There’s have been half a dozen deaths relating to this airbag issue.

Honda said that the affected models include the Fit subcompact and Daihatsu are recalling the Mira minicar.

The official line is that these recalls are precautionary and no accidents or injuries have been reported. However, it is worth noting that there is a known problem with the Takata airbag inflators not being properly sealed and that the airbags may burst under pressure, and have allegedly been spraying shrapnel inside the car.

Since 2008, around 36 million recalls have occurred relating to Takata’s airbags.

Product Recall Round-Up

Product recall: now even your ready-meals aren’t safe
Toyota and Nissan in 6.5 million airbag recall
Product recall Ikea safety gate
Now they want your mash and peanut butter
Galaxy Cookie Crumble chocolate bars may contain plastic

Your bad driving habits are costing you £700m

May 13th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

nick clegg electric car 300x213 Your bad driving habits are costing you £700mDrivers in Britain, collectively, are costing themselves £700m a year thanks to their lousy driving habits. That’s £84 per year, because you haven’t turned off your engine when your car is stationary or because you’ve been driving in the wrong gear.

Research is showing that over 636 million litres of petrol are being wasted each year in the UK, thanks to drivers failing to adopt eco-friendly driving techniques. Like what? You should be using your handbrake when you’re waiting a traffic lights, as well as making sure you’re in the right gear (that’d be the gears that propel your car, rather than drivers needing to wear leather stringback driving gloves and a monocle).

The Barclaycard Fuel study claims that younger drivers are, on-the-whole, better at driving efficiently, with 17-24 year-olds getting a gold star from the teacher, while half of those over 65 are in detention.

John Bostock, Account Development Director at Barclaycard, said: “With such a huge amount of money wasted on fuel, we would benefit massively as a nation if we were more mindful when it comes to driving in a more eco-friendly way. We keep a close eye on our grocery spending, so shouldn’t we do the same here when it’s apparent how much we could save just by driving more efficiently?”

Here are 10 ways you can drive more efficiently

- Make sure you’re driving in the correct gear
- Remove roof racks and roof boxes when they not needed
- Always be sure that you’ve checked your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure
- Use the handbrake when waiting at traffic lights and in traffic jams, rather than using the clutch and accelerator
- Use up-to-date map tools to plot the most fuel-effective route
- Try not to use the air conditioning or heating
- Try to keep the sun roof and windows closed
- Use cruise control where appropriate
- Don’t accelerate up to lights or traffic when you know you’re going to have to brake
- Drive along roads with speed bumps smoothly to avoid unnecessary acceleration and declaration

Bitterwallet appeal parking tickets1 Car lifted onto yellow lines for parking ticketThe majority of drivers have got a gripe or horror story about parking tickets, but one driver in Manchester has one that, if true, takes the whole biscuit tin.

Clair Morris says she parked her car legally, but the council moved it on to newly painted double yellow lines and promptly issued her a ticket.

Fresh lines were being painted that day, and to allow for the work, she believes her car was moved to a spot over the road, which just so happens to have parking restrictions.

She said that she found the parking ticket when she went to pick up her vehicle. Alongside the parking ticket which had been issued earlier, Morris said there was a vehicle “re-position notice” from Manchester City Council which was dated 7th May, which was the day she left her car on the other side of the road.

“It is crazy,” said Morris; “I know traffic wardens have a job to do but you would have thought common sense would have prevailed. Someone passing told me they saw my car being lifted by a tow-truck and moved across the road. They thought I was being towed away.”

“I’m going to dispute [the parking ticket] but it will be a load of hassle and a waste of my time.”


A Manchester City Council spokesman told BBC News: “The car should not have been moved to a location with double yellow lines, and this ticket should not have been issued and will be cancelled. Our contractors apologise for this error and we are now insisting that they follow our strict codes of conduct.”

Cars! Everyone loves them again!

May 8th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

car scrap Cars! Everyone loves them again!Maybe it is something to do with our public transport being so bleak? Maybe it is because fuel prices have fallen for the first time in ages? Maybe people are so jaded and tired of other humans that they’d rather sit in isolation?

Either way, consumers are buying cars again!

Reports show that April’s new car registrations are on the up by more than 5%, compared with the same month last year. This is all thanks to a 9% increase in the fleet market and a 2.7% growth amongst private buyers.

185,778 new vehicles were registered in total, compared to the 176,820 in 2014, with year-to-date registrations for 2015 up 6.4%. We can only assume that the furry dice industry is currently booming as well.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said April’s performance shows a 12-year high for consumer confidence and continued the pattern of growth in new car registrations around General Elections, which dates back to 1979. Seems that walking to a polling station makes people think ‘Jeez – I wish I drove here in a nice new car instead of using my stupid legs’.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “The figures highlight the current strength of consumer confidence, even at a time of such political uncertainty. We are confident that the UK’s new car market – so symbolic of economic mood – will continue to thrive, but long-term success will depend largely on economic and political stability in the months and years ahead.”

Are you being double taxed on your car?

May 5th, 2015 5 Comments By Mof Gimmers

tax disc Are you being double taxed on your car?Since the tax disc system changed in the UK, there’s been a bit of confusion. It looks like some drivers are being ‘double taxed’ for when their cars change hands, according to the AA.

The motoring agency reckons that, as a result of this double tax, the Government are getting £38 million in the process. So you can imagine that they’re in no rush to fix that.

As you know, since the change, everyone’s tax details are stored online, and under this new system, car tax is automatically cancelled when a vehicle is sold to someone else. However, the person who sold the car is only able to claim back a full month, not a fraction of a month, while the buyer has to tax the vehicle immediately.

So if you sold your car on the 3rd of the month, you can’t claim a refund on the tax for the rest of the month, while the new owner pays for the full month from the 1st of the month. That means, the car has generated two amounts of tax for a single month.

The AA say that this partly the reason why there’s been a 71% increase in the number of cars clamped for being untaxed.

AA president Edmund King said: “October’s abolition of the vehicle tax disc and a new process for transferring a vehicle’s ‘keeper’ is a massive change after 90 years of the old and familiar system. We are particularly disappointed that there was not an equally massive communications campaign to ensure the UK’s 35 million drivers got the message.”

“UK drivers now pay ‘double tax’ for the month that a vehicle changes hands and the DVLA’s clampers are now netting 3,000 more untaxed cars a month than this time last year. It is right that those who deliberately evade paying vehicle tax are caught and punished. But it is a very harsh lesson for those who may not be aware a tax disc is now automatically cancelled when a vehicle changes keepership.”

A DVLA spokesman said: “Ending vehicle tax at the point of sale is a consumer protection measure to prevent used-car buyers unknowingly buying or keeping an untaxed vehicle which they believe to be taxed. Previously, two-thirds of all used vehicles were sold without tax so it is no different for the majority of motorists.”

“Any potential revenue gains are offset by automatically refunding more motorists. Between October 2014 and January 2015 we refunded around £120 million, which is more than double the amount in the same period a year before.”

Deathwatch: Carcraft

May 1st, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

car scrap Deathwatch: CarcraftCarcraft – the second-hand car dealership chain – has gone into administration, with 500 people losing their jobs in the process.

Customers who have servicing, MoT, warranty or roadside assistance deals with the firm, will no longer be covered. Grant Thornton, the administrators, said Carcraft – who were the seventh largest car dealership in the country and had an annual turnover of £120m – is to be wound up.

The administrators will be contacting affected customers to tell them that all or part of their contract will no longer be honoured. Luckily, finance plans for cars themselves were provided by a third-party, so they should be fine.

Joint administrator, Daniel Smith said: “With great regret a conclusion was reached that it is no longer viable to keep Carcraft in operation. In order to prevent further losses it has been agreed with management and creditors to cease operations with immediate effect.”

What Happens Next?

If I have bought a car from Carcaft recently, due to pick up your keys in the next few days or having paid a deposit, you should contact the administrators via

You should contact the same email address as above if you want to know what happens next if you have a Drive Happy Plan. Circumstances will differ, so you need to speak to someone.

If you want any other information, then a helpline has been set up for customers, at 0800 923 9495.

Hail the penis potholes!

April 28th, 2015 4 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Manchester’s roads are filled with potholes. That’s not unlike most other places in the UK, but in Manchester, something is a little different. Someone is drawing wangs around them.

That’s right! Thanks to an artist called Wanksy, they’re going around drawing penises around potholes. You might think this is all puerile, but after the holes were ignored for ages by Manchester City Council, within 48 hours of Wanksy’s efforts, many of them had been fixed up.

wanksy 500x373 Hail the penis potholes!

“I wanted to attract attention to the pothole and make it memorable,” Wanksy told MEN. “Nothing seemed to do this better than a giant comedy phallus.”

A Bury council spokesman moaned: “Every penny that we have to spend cleaning off this graffiti is a penny less that we have to spend on actually repairing the potholes!”

The council member is a massive idiot though, because Wanksy drew the appendages on in industrial chalk, which means they’ll fade after a couple of weeks without any cleaning required.

wanksy1 500x281 Hail the penis potholes!

On the Wanksy Facebook page, the artist is getting a fair amount of fan mail. Someone from That America wrote: “We need you in Madison, Wisconsin aka pothole hell!”

On the page, you can see many, many nobs drawn around unsightly holes. Won’t make much difference to most of your viewing habits, will it?

Driving abroad? Warning!

April 27th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

flooded cars 300x128 Driving abroad? Warning!Are you planning on going abroad this year and driving while you’re there? Well, there’s something you need to know - after 8th June, you’ll need to take a special code with you if you want to hire a car.

This is all to do with the computerisation of the paper counterpart of UK driving licences. Now, if you want to hire a motor when overseas, you’ll officially need a code to show convictions for offences like speeding.

You’ll have to go to the DVLA website for all that.

Get this – the code will only be valid for 72 hours, so if you’re planning on hiring a car after three days of your trip, you’ll have to get a code while you’re on holiday. If you don’t have internet access, there’ll be a phone number you can ring. All sounds like a bit of a faff, doesn’t it?

Concerning the paper bit of your driving licence, the DVLA is saying you can shred it and bin it after 8th June. However, the AA aren’t so sure about that. They clearly don’t trust a word the DVLA says. It would be wise to hang on to that document, in case some hire companies aren’t aware of the new arrangement.

“Not all car rental companies, or indeed traffic police abroad, will be aware of the changes, so a ‘belt and braces’ approach of also taking the counterpart might help,” said AA president Edmund King.

Amazon to deliver to the boot of your car

April 27th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

amazoninstant Amazon to deliver to the boot of your carWhen we heard that Amazon were going to start delivering packages directly to car boots from next month, we thought they were either tapping into the car boot sale market, or selling drugs. How wrong – and disappointed – we were.

Amazon have teamed-up with DHL and Audi, which means that selected Audi-owning Prime customers in Munich will be able to stand next to their car for ages, waiting for someone to drop a package off for them, when they could be doing something less boring instead.

That’s actually not true. The person delivering the package will get a one-time keyless access to the car boot to drop off a package, meaning that a stranger will be able to get in your car. That should cause a few furrowed brows. Audi are adamant that there’s going to be no insurance issues with all this.

Amazon said: “During the checkout process, customers simply indicate the approximate location of their car during the delivery window. When a carrier driver arrives, the vehicle’s car trunk can be momentarily accessed via a unique, order specific digital authorisation.”

“The delivery agent then simply places the order into the trunk and closes the hatch which locks the car again.”

If you’re not bothered about someone getting in your boot, then this could be a handy way of receiving goods and save you messing about waiting for someone. Participating drivers will have to have their cars adapted to enable third-party access though.

Amazon says it wants this feature to be available to all Prime members, regardless of their car, at some point.

Are you being conned with fuel efficient cars?

April 23rd, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

fuel1 5106391 300x199 Are you being conned with fuel efficient cars?Fuel efficient cars might be having you on and not giving you the efficiency they claim, according to a Which!!! report.

Drivers may well be coughing up an average of £133 more on fuel, per year, than they thought they were thanks to suggestions that car-makers are misleading everyone by overstating the fuel-economy figures.

According to the report, only three of the 200 models tested across 2013 and 2014 managed to reach the official miles-per-gallon (mpg) figure stated in info from the car’s manufacturer. On average, vehicles with falling short by 13%.

The three cars that managed to live up to claims were the 1.2-litre 5-door manual Skoda Roomster, the 2-litre version of the Mazda 3 Fastback and the 2-litre, five-door, automatic diesel model of the Skoda Yeti. The worst performing vehicle in the Which!!! report was the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV hybrid.

Now, Which!!! want the European Commission to introduce its new testing procedures to make sure figures reflect the reality of what cars can achieve.

Which!!! executive director Richard Lloyd said: “The cost of fuel is one of the biggest concerns for consumers which is why fuel efficiency has become an important selling point for new cars. The new test should be brought in without delay so consumers are no longer misled by fantasy mpg figures.”

old driver car Car insurance down   but it isnt all good newsCar insurance premiums in Britain fell by 1% in the first quarter of this year, which is reasonable news, but no great shakes. Still, a saving is a saving right?

These figures are from the AA, who say that the average quote for an annual comprehensive car insurance policy dropped to £530.47, which follows numerous months of price rises. However, insurers have form when it comes to trying to lure motorists in with price drops in the first quarter.

However, messing things up are the number of claims for whiplash, which is putting an upward pressure on prices, according to the AA. They say that the cost of claims is larger than premium income for many insurers.

Of course, Bitterwallet talked about this a while ago, with drivers coughing-up £93 each (on average) due to the volume of whiplash claims.

“We’re starting to see insurers quoting higher prices and I think that’s the beginning of a trend, but the market remains very competitive,” says Janet Connor, managing director of AA Insurance.

“My greatest fear is that if insurance fraud such as whiplash injury claims isn’t brought under control and quickly, we will see a repeat of the spiralling premiums of 2010 and 2011 when the cost of the average policy rose by over 40 per cent in just 12 months.”

Avoid MOT retests by checking your tyres

April 20th, 2015 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Mechanic Conducting MOT Test1 Avoid MOT retests by checking your tyresGiving drivers any advice is a tricky business, because as soon as you say anything, along comes Nigel Who Knows Everything Ever to say ‘well duh’ or ‘actually, I think you’ll find…’.

For the rest of you motorists who aren’t tedious Nigel, here’s a thing that could save you a decent amount of money when it comes to MOT time.

One of things that rinses drivers is MOT retests, which could be avoided if you simply make sure your car’s tyres are correctly inflated before the initial test date. You see, under current legislation, any car that has a warning light showing on the dashboard fails its MOT. If you have a car that is fitted with TPMS, the wrong pressure on your tyres could see the rest of your good work coming unstuck.

Basically, under-inflated tyres are costing drivers millions across the board.

Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe said: “Although TPMS technology has been around for decades, its inclusion in new model vehicles has only been mandated in Europe since 2012 and on all new cars since 2014. This led to a gradual introduction into the market over a period of years and with little or no fanfare to help educate motorists.”

“Garages have been telling us that they’re encountering a lot of customers who either aren’t aware of how these systems work and need to be maintained or just see them as an expensive luxury rather than the crucial safety feature they are.”

petrol AA say drivers pockets are being plunderedThe AA has slagged off fuel vendors for “plundering drivers’ pockets” by putting up the price of petrol and diesel disproportionately.

They noted that, over the last few weeks, the price of oil has fallen by nearly 5% – but guess what? Surprise, surprise – petrol prices are up by 1.2%. The AA said that drivers are now paying an extra 1.73p a litre of petrol, and an extra 0.63p a litre of diesel.

The fuel industry said that wholesale costs are up, which is why prices have risen at the pumps. The fact that oil is priced in dollars and the pound has fallen against it, isn’t helping either.

Edmund King, the AA’s president, isn’t having any of it and said that motorists are losing out. ”Cars are like blank cheques for whoever feels the need to balance the books by plundering drivers’ pockets,” he said. ”Now the fuel retailers are taking £3 a tank extra on diesel to steady their finances.”

This comes on the back of the RAC saying that fuel prices were ‘highway robbery’, which again, saw the sellers saying that everyone should leave them alone and that no-one understands them.

What the most – and least – reliable cars?

April 16th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

eating in the car What the most   and least   reliable cars?Cars are expensive, so you’d hope that once you’ve forked out all that cash for them, they’ll be nice and reliable and not a massive pain in the hole.

Well, What Car? have teamed-up with Warranty Direct to find out which cars are the least reliable. They’ve also tried to find out which cars you can count on, generally speaking, too.

Of their 38-strong league table of cars, surprisingly, the super expensive luxury cars from Bentley and Porsche came bottom of the pile. If you’re spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on a car, you’d hope it was flawless wouldn’t you? Then again, if you can afford these vehicles, then you can afford to keep getting it serviced, no doubt.

At the top of the chart came Honda and Suzuki.

The faults that were most common across the board, were electric faults, as well as problems with axles and suspension faults. Between then, around a quarter of all visits to the garage were for these.

Apparently, air conditioning is the least concern to drivers, with just 3% reporting faults in them. Maybe they get loads of problems with them, but just don’t report them because they can just open a window?

What Car? editor Jim Holder said: “Honda’s success in the reliability index is chiefly down to low failure rates… but, when things do go wrong, the cars are also relatively cheap to fix.”

“Reliability is always one of the key attributes buyers look for when considering a used car purchase, so manufacturers that consistently demonstrate durability will always do well with the consumer.”

Most reliable cars!

1. Honda
2. Suzuki
3. Toyota
4. Chevrolet
5. Mazda
6. Ford
7. Lexus
8. Skoda
9. Hyundai
10. Nissan