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Your Driving Licence on Your Smartphone?

Having to remember where your driving licence is or fumbling around in the glove box for it will soon become a thing of the past. By 2018 motorists will be able to store digital licenses on their smartphones.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will test the system this September and roll it out in spring 2018.

DVLA Chief Executive Oliver Morley insists it will be 'quick, easy and secure' to prevent forgeries but plastic licenses will still be available.

He wants the free digital service to allow people to share and validate information with 'trusted' third parties such as employers and insurers.

It comes as The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) plans to modernise driving tests to prepare for driver-less cars.

The tests could involve virtual reality but a spokesman refused to go into further detail.

He said: 'We will also make sure we explore the opportunities for further developing driver training and testing in line with relevant technologies - for example, virtual reality.'

Virtual reality is already being used to aid drivers. Motorists can take a test on their phones that's designed to reveal how distracted they are by roadside hazards, annoying passengers and text messages while driving.

The DVLA also said that MOT tests will have to adapt to modern technology and take into account sensors, cameras and other instruments used by driver-less and semi-autonomous cars.

It is believed that we could see driver-less cars in Britain in four years as Business Secretary Greg Clark aims to make Britain a world-leading hub for the technology

He has pledged £100 million of government funding to a project to build them along the M40 corridor between London and Birmingham.

He said the industry would be worth £63 billion by 2035, adding: 'Our collaboration with industry will create a cluster of excellence that will ensure we are perfectly positioned to lead.'

Further details on the timetable for the digital license service have been included in the DVLA's business plan for the next 12 months.

It states: 'During 2017/18 we will be developing a quick, easy and secure service to allow customers to view a representation of their driving licence on their smartphone.

'The driver will be in control of their data and this can be used to share and validate driver information with trusted third parties through a secure website.

'This service will not replace the full driving licence. The digital licence service will only be available to driving licence holders who have authenticated themselves on gov.uk through the existing driving licence service.

'This service will be available 24/7, wherever the driver has a web connection.

'We will develop a private beta service by September 2017.'

DVLA said work is in the early stages, with further details on what the service will look like to be released in future.

So the future of digital licences, new MOT tests, virtual reality and driver-less cars will soon be with us!

18/04/2017

Highlights from the 2017 Geneva Motor Show

There's no better place for jaw-dropping new cars than the Geneva Motor Show, so here we take a look at some of the highlights.

• European car of the year - the Peugeot 3008 wins!

• Alpine A110 - Renault sports car sub-brand is reborn with the all-new A110.

• Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport - Vauxhall goes further upmarket with plush four-door coupe.

• Audi RS5 Coupe - 444 bhp and 0-62mph in 3.9s, the new RS5 is a serious performance car.

• Volkswagen Arteon - New VW saloon replaces Passat CC and takes on BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.

• SEAT Ibiza - New SEAT supermini gets a fresh looks ahead of all-new Arona crossover.

• Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross - All-new crossover injects some style into Mitsubishi's range and takes on the Qashqai.

• Honda Civic Type R - Honda's new hot hatch will cost from around £32,000 (yes 32k!) when it arrives in the summer.

• Nissan Qashqai facelift - Britain's best-selling crossover gets styling tweaks and big tech upgrades.

• Range Rover Velar - Geneva debut for new Range Rover that bridges the gap between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport.

• Ferrari 812 Superfast - Ferrari's replacement for the F12 has a 6.5-litre V12 and 789bhp.

• Ford Fiesta ST - Next-generation Ford hot hatch gets a cleaner 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo engine with 197bhp.

• DS 7 Crossback - First DS exclusive model is a Range Rover Evoque rival with hybrid power and autonomous tech.

• Volvo XC60 - New five-seat SUV inherits the looks, safety kit and plush cabin from the larger XC90.

There were well over 150 cars launched this year with new releases ranging from BMW’s M4 face-lift, right up to the official release of completely new cars such as the McLaren 720S and a whole load of concept cars.

One of the great things about the Geneva Motor Show is the presence of so many tuning companies, small series manufacturers, hypercar companies, and innovative automotive technology firms. This truly makes the Geneva Motor Show the most interesting and most anticipated motor show on our annual calendar.

And we can all dream can’t we?

18/04/2017

Stop-Start Technology: is it good for my car?

When driving around town stop-start technology should be making a real-world difference, but will your car’s engine be affected in the long term? It appears that the jury is out on this one.

What is a stop-start engine?

Stop-start is a system installed on most modern cars which cuts power on a petrol or diesel engine when the car is stationary, in order to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. When the brake is released, or the clutch is engaged when the driver is ready to move again, the engine starts again. Simples!

How does the system work?

The system halts fuel delivery and ignition spark to the engine, with a computer sensing when both the car is stationary, and the brake pedal is depressed, or the car is in neutral. The process happens automatically, but drivers can choose whether the system is active or disabled by pushing their car’s stop-start button, in most cases, a capital A with an arrow circling clockwise.

Does stop-start damage my engine?

So when it comes to durability and long life, all the bases relating to the starter gear itself should be covered, but the higher number of stop-start cycles lead to increased engine wear unless steps are taken to prevent it.

“A normal car without automatic stop-start can be expected to go through up to 50,000 stop-start events during its lifetime,” says Gerhard Arnold, who is responsible for bearing design at Federal Mogul.

“But with automatic stop-start being activated every time the car comes to a standstill, the figure rises dramatically, perhaps to as many as 500,000 stop-start cycles over the engine’s life.”

That’s a big jump and one that poses major challenges to the durability and life of the engine’s bearings.

A fundamental component of the engine and also one of the heaviest is the crankshaft. It’s supported as it spins by a number of precision ground journals along its length running in ‘plain’ main bearings (no ball bearings or rollers, just smooth metal). These are the main bearings and the effect is greater on the bearing at the back of the engine immediately next to the starter motor. When the engine is running, the crankshaft and main bearing surfaces don’t actually touch, but are separated by a super-thin film of oil, fed under pressure and pumped around the bearing surfaces by the action of the spinning crankshaft. This process is called ‘hydrodynamic lubrication’ but when the engine stops, the crank settles onto the bearing, the two metal surfaces coming into contact.

When the engine starts, there’s a point before the two surfaces become separated by the oil film called the ‘boundary condition’, where the crankshaft is spinning, but there’s metal-to-metal contact between the bearing surfaces. This is when most wear takes place. Fitting stop-start means the boundary condition (and metal-to-metal contact) could exist perhaps 500,000 times in the life of the engine instead of 50,000 and normal bearings would wear out long before that.

However, two things prevent that happening:-

·The first is that bearing manufacturers are developing new bearing material with greater self-lubricating properties to resist wear on start-up.

·The second is improvements in lubricating oils. A modern engine oil contains an additive package comprising a complex chemical cocktail. Too complex to go into here!

However, suffice to say with low-friction bearing and lubrication technology in place the potential threat to engine life by stop-start systems should theoretically be overcome. But the current technology is still relatively new and only time will tell whether every car manufacturer has got it right.

Does stop-start actually save any fuel?

How much fuel is saved is often disputed and depends almost entirely upon the type of driving undertaken with the system. Obviously, more stationary time means more fuel saved. There are also occasions when stop-start will not kick in, for example if the engine is cold; the system is less likely to intervene, to allow the engine to warm up fully. It may also not shut off the engine if the battery is below a certain level, if, like Volvo’s system, the driver unfastens their seat belt, or if you turn the air conditioning on.

Stop-start is also designed to decrease emissions in urban areas where traffic is more likely to be stationary for longer, so despite the benefit to drivers’ fuel consumption; there are more benefits to the systems than monetary ones. Silver linings!

10/04/2017

Why your car servicing costs could be about to rise

A row has broken out over who should have access to all the data that new cars generate.

Manufacturers want to have control of it all, but independent repair shops, fleet operators and insurance companies, argue that this would be blatantly anti-competitive. So, how does this affect you?

Well it could mean that your car servicing costs become more expensive, and you may have to pay more for other services that rely on such data, from independent repair centres to "pay-as-you-drive" insurance companies.

I think we all recognise that nowadays modern cars are effectively computers on wheels, full of sensors measuring everything from the wear and tear on your brake pads, to your fuel efficiency, and also they are capable of communicating wirelessly with manufacturers, traffic management systems, and other vehicles in real time. So your car's manufacturer probably knows where you've been, how fast you drove, and how soon you're likely to need a service.

And now it wants to turn that knowledge into revenue. Well, why wouldn’t they?

Say your car's on-board sensors detect that a certain part is about to fail. The manufacturer will have wireless access to that data and could then alert you and even book a service for you automatically. It sounds great doesn’t it? However, if the repair centre is owned by the car manufacturer you might not be getting the best price for the new parts and servicing. And what if their authorised repair centre is a lot further away than your local garage?

"While the manufacturer is monitoring the car, it has the power to recommend its own spare parts. This is a privileged position and would distort the market," says Neil Pattemore, technical director at FIGIEFA, the European association representing car parts retailers and repair shops.

On the other hand manufacturers say they're worried about hackers taking control of a car's electronic systems, as has been shown to be possible on several occasions. They also fear that allowing third parties to peer into their cars' "brains" would jeopardise "trade secrets, know-how or information covered by intellectual property rights".
But a growing number of industry bodies think this has more to do with manufacturers trying to control a potentially lucrative revenue stream.

"In the connected era, every vehicle will have its own in-built telematics device and the functionality of a smartphone," says Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA).

"The data this generates opens up a whole new range of opportunities to develop driver-based infotainment and navigation services.

It also promises to revolutionise the ways vehicles are maintained and managed, enabling vehicle owners to share them between multiple users, fix them before they break down or streamline the repair and servicing process.

There are huge amounts of money to be made or saved here, but only if you have access to the vehicle data," he says.

At the moment all cars have to have an on-board diagnostic (OBD) port. This allows mechanics to plug in a cable and access the data stored in the car's computer or electronic control unit (ECU). Under European law every manufacturer has to fit one, primarily so testers can gain access to emissions data and check that the vehicles comply with pollution regulations.

But, obviously, mechanics can only access the OBD when the vehicle is stationary. So unless they can access this diagnostics data wirelessly, they say they will be at a competitive disadvantage.

The ACEA says manufacturers would be prepared to share this kind of data with third parties through their own cloud servers or via "neutral" servers operated by other companies.

But Mr Keaney says his members and vehicle owners would then have to go "cap in hand" to the manufacturers to access it, and would probably have to pay for it.

"Independent service providers will suffer and there will be less choice for consumers and vehicle owners," he says.

The aftercare industry wants equal access to wireless in-vehicle data and believes the technology is already here that could provide it securely.

Public cloud providers like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure run programs called hypervisors that create virtual machines on computer servers. These virtual machines enable many different clients to store their data safely and separately on one computer, thereby saving computing resources. It's this technology that has enabled cloud computing to take off in the way that it has.

"Cars could also run hypervisors that allow virtual environments and enable third parties to access car data in a safe and secure way," says FIGIEFA's Mr Pattemore.

Several other industry bodies - Cecra, FiA, ADPA, Leaseurope and others - agree, saying that an "in-vehicle interoperable, standardised, secure and open-access platform" would be preferable to preserve a competitive market.

This may be a complex issue, but it could directly affect the pound in your pocket. Expect to hear far more about this in the months to come.

Watch this space!

10/04/2017

You couldn't make it up! The best car insurance claim stories

Car insurance - you assume that most people call upon it when they really need it. They’ve had a small bump in the city, and want to make a quick claim and get back on with their day as soon as possible.

Well, that’s not always the case. Here we take a look at some of the more amusing (and unbelievable) motor insurance claims that people have come out with... enjoy.

• “I was driving along the motorway when the police pulled me over onto the hard shoulder. Unfortunately I was in the middle lane and there was another car in the way...”

• “Going to work at 7am this morning I drove out of my drive straight into a bus. The bus was 5 minutes early...”

• “The accident happened because I had one eye on the lorry in front, one eye on the pedestrian and the other on the car behind.”

• “I started to slow down but the traffic was more stationary than I thought.”

• “I pulled into a lay-by with smoke coming from under the hood. I realised the car was on fire so took my dog and smothered it with a blanket.”

• Q: Could either driver have done anything to avoid the accident? A: Travelled by bus?

• The claimant had collided with a cow. The questions and answers on the claim form were – Q: What warning was given by you? A: Horn. Q: What warning was given by the other party? A: Moo.

• “I started to turn and it was at this point I noticed a camel and an elephant tethered at the verge. This distraction caused me to lose concentration and hit a bollard.”

• “On approach to the traffic lights the car in front suddenly broke.”

• “I was backing my car out of the driveway in the usual manner, when it was struck by the other car in the same place it had been struck several times before.”

• “When I saw I could not avoid a collision I stepped on the gas and crashed into the other car.”

• “The accident happened when the right front door of a car came round the corner without giving a signal.”

• “No one was to blame for the accident but it would never have happened if the other driver had been alert.”

• “I was unable to stop in time and my car crashed into the other vehicle. The driver and passengers then left immediately for a vacation with injuries.”

You really couldn’t make them up. Safe travels everyone!

04/04/2017

Trade up for a great Easter drive

2 million used cars changed hands in 2016 – that is a 7% uplift on the previous year. So, what is the appeal of 'trading up' to a used car, and should you buy now and enjoy an Easter treat?

Well perhaps you should, as almost every economic expert agrees on one thing - it can’t stay as cheap as it is now, to borrow money to fund the purchase of a car, for much longer.

We’ve experienced record low interest rates for nearly six years now, and we should expect the next move in the cost of borrowing to be in the upward direction.

So, you have a backdrop of an uncertain market, with garages in a period when they have plentiful stocks - and can only see those volumes rising - and therefore facing increasing pressure to keep selling in order to hit their turnover and profit targets. Great for you - the customer.

At the moment local dealerships are in a position to offer some very attractive deals in order to prevent being stuck with slow-selling stock. The idea is that they can show people that they can keep their promise of offering a regularly-changing choice of vehicles.

So, why not “Spring into Action”?

Let’s remember the simple fact that the coming spring and lighter nights are far and away the best time to devote the effort needed to being able to properly look at cars and make comparisons.

Test driving a car is also so much more attractive when you can do it for extended hours, while the roads are dry and when you haven’t got to worry about where all the light switches are and how they work.

If you’ve always hankered after a convertible car, now could be the time to take the plunge, while there’s a reasonable guarantee of a fair few good weather days ahead, in which to enjoy that unique top-down driving feeling. Our online showroom has got a rather attractive looking BMW 3 Series Sport right now which might be right up your street!

Buying a car is sure to be something that you’re going to want to enjoy the fruits of as soon as you possibly can. During the spring and summer, you should find that the weather and daylight are both more conducive to you really getting to know your car, and to testing out its capabilities. Whether that’s how much luggage you can cram in, or finding out how comfortable it can be on a long journey.

Happy spring motoring, everyone!

04/04/2017

April 2017 New Car Tax Rules Explained

From 1 April 2017, the system for taxing new cars in the UK is changing.

Many drivers looking for a new car this year – especially those in the market for an economical supermini, hatchback or hybrid – are likely to discover they’ll be paying more than before. But what are the changes and how will they affect you?

Here’s a brief summary of the changes:-

- At present, the rates are annual based upon CO2 emissions. A £10 discount rate does currently apply to Alternative Fuelled vehicles

- From April, there will be a first year rate (based on CO2 emissions) ranging from £0 for electric vehicles up to £2000 for vehicles emitting more than 255 g/km of CO2

- From year 2: 3 rates (Standard, Alternative Fuel and Electric)

- Year 2 rates are £140 (Standard) £130 for Alternative Fuel and £0 for Zero Emission Vehicles – Electric.

- If the car has a list price of over £40,000, it will pay a supplement of £310 on top of whatever rate applies from year 2. This supplement is for 5 years. For example, a high-end electric will pay £0 for year 1, and then £310 for the next 5 years

So what does this mean in the real world?

Here are two examples to show you:-

1. A popular new fiesta, for example, which emits 99g/km CO2, will pay a first year rate of £120, followed by a standard £140 a year. At present, it pays ZERO. Over 3 years, this means an owner will pay £400 more over 3 years from April.

2. A gas-guzzling model which emits more than 255 g/km CO2 will pay £2000 as a first year rate, before reverting to £140 a year standard rate from year 2. However, if it has a list price of over £40,000, it will pay £2,000 for year 1, followed by £450 for years 2 – 6, and then reverts back to £140 a year.

How will the changes affect me?

How the changes affect you, of course depends on the type of car you are buying. If you’re looking at an electric vehicle costing under £40,000, you’ll pay no road tax. Buy an economical supermini or hybrid vehicle and the chances are you’ll be worse off. If you’re buying a car with a list price of over £40,000 you’ll pay an additional £310 per year for five years. It’s worth noting that this list price is after any options and accessories have been added. And although you might be able to negotiate the price down to a figure below £40,000, the government will use the published list price, so you won’t be exempt from the £310 fee.

What do the tax changes mean for cars already registered?

Tax rates for vehicles registered before 1 April 2017 will not be affected by this change.

So it might be time to consider a quality used car!

27/03/2017

How to stay safe when your car breaks down

We are all susceptible to a vehicle breakdown. It could happen anywhere—on your driveway, in the middle of a busy city street, or out in a country lane.

Such breakdowns could happen due to many different reasons, including:

· no petrol
· mechanical issues
· dead battery
· an accident
· flat tyre

However, looking for a safe place to pull over could be tough when your vehicle dies on you, especially in a busy city or on a dual carriageway. There are, however, some ways to improve your safety if your vehicle does give up the ghost:

- Steer clear of the road and try to place yourself behind safety barriers, if there are any, and only if it is completely safe.

- Find the safest spot to stop and park, one on the leftmost side if possible.

- Activate your hazard and parking lights, most especially if there’s poor visibility.

- Look for traffic prior to exiting your car and don’t cross the road if you really don’t have to. If possible, exit your car from the passenger side, away from oncoming traffic.

- If you think it’s safer to stay in the car — such as during night time or if your car broke down in a remote place, stay inside.

- In the event that your car dies out on you in a tunnel, turn on all your lights immediately. Remain inside and fasten your seat belt. Note that operators monitor major tunnels and will send help as soon as possible.

Although most of us could easily change a flat tyre or fix their car under normal conditions, the simplest tasks aren’t always safe or simple when you’re dangerously close to high-speed traffic. So it is important to be vigilant of your surroundings to make certain that a simple breakdown doesn’t lead to safety issues, not only for you but other motorists as well.

Safe driving!

27/03/2017

Beware of the crash con!

In road traffic accidents, where one vehicle is hit by another, the driver of the car behind is often deemed to be the one at fault. This is something which fraudsters have taken more advantage of in a recent years.

In a crash con accident, a car may brake without warning in front of an innocent driver, leaving them likely to run into the car ahead. With some fraudsters even going as far as to disconnect their brake lights in order to give the car behind even less chance of stopping. Great guys eh?!

It is thought that growing insurance industry efforts to clamp down on bogus whiplash claims for accidents which never happened, and have been completely made up, are prompting gangs to stage more real-life crashes so they will have more “evidence” to back up their claims.

Cases like these not only pose a physical danger to the innocent victims who get caught up in them, they also have serious financial consequences with the impact on the premium of the innocent driver who has been caught up in the scam. 'Crash for cash' cases eventually filter through to increase the costs of everyone’s insurance.

According to some industry estimates, frauds of all types add around £50 to the cost of a typical car insurance premium.

Another particularly unpleasant feature to 'crash for cash' scams is that fraudsters will target drivers who they think won’t kick up too much fuss – which could include anyone from mums with young children in the back of the car, to older people who might be easily intimated.

They will also home in on well-kept vehicles which look like they’re likely to be insured, so if your car is your pride and joy, this could also make you a target.

Hopefully, you will never find yourself caught up in an unfortunate situation like this, but if you do, here are some tips from Aviva which could help:

- Firstly, stay alert when you’re driving and always keep a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front.

- Does the car in front look like it has been in other accidents, especially showing damage to the rear?

- If you notice that the brake lights aren’t working on the car in front, remain cautious and perhaps try to distance your car from theirs.

- Is the driver involved behaving oddly? Are they speeding up and slowing down for no apparent reason? If they and/or any passengers also appear to be focusing on the back of the vehicle, this could be another sign that they’re looking for an opportunity to stage an accident.

- If you are caught up in an accident which you suspect might be fraudulent, try to stay calm and not get involved in an argument with the people in the other vehicle.

- Call the police immediately, tell them your suspicions and ask them to attend the scene.

- Capture as much information about the incident as you can, including details about the vehicle, the passengers and whether anyone, or for that matter, no one was complaining that they were injured.

- Take down the names and contact details of any independent witnesses who were at the scene.

- Contact your insurer as soon as you can after the accident and tell them what your suspicions are. Give them all the information you have recorded and keep your own record of this, just in case it’s needed in future.

20/03/2017

Some of the best current car innovations

As every new car drives off of the assembly line they come loaded with more and more new gizmos and gadgets, but are they a welcome benefit or a distraction? Or, are they both?

Here we take a look at some of the best modern innovations in car technology:

Self-Park

Perfect for the urban driver, the Self-Park system is quickly becoming available from most manufacturers, and looks sure to become standard in all models in the future. The system works by reading sensors that are mounted around the body of the car; these detect the space around your vehicle for parking into tight spaces. Some models take over completely, parking for you, while some guide your hand and ensure you get into even the most awkward space. The popularity and success of self-parking is in many ways paving the way for drivers to pass even more control over to their vehicles.

GPS

Dash-mounted or in-built, the Global Positioning System has quickly become a standard tool for any driver and has caused the once reliable A-Z map’s sales to fall by 25% since 2005.

Monitoring your position via satellite, the system would originally display the simplest and most efficient route for any trip. However new innovations have even allowed the devices to collect and correlate traffic news and delays meaning that you’ll never be caught in a jam again. On the downside though it could be argued that GPS has replaced not only the A-Z but good old fashioned road sense.

Run-Flat Tyres

If you ever fear being stranded at the side of the road with a punctured tyre this innovation might be for you. Currently available for BMW and Mini, these tyres are designed with very thick sidewalls meaning that they will retain their integrity when punctured allowing you to continue your journey for a further 50 miles before the tyre will need to be replaced. Unfortunately these tyres cannot simply be installed on any car before its suspension and other factors are altered, so while retro-fitting your car with these new tyres is possible, it may be costly.

Heated Windscreens

Spending your mornings scraping the ice from your car’s windows can be an infuriating start to any day but the Ford exclusive Quickclear system can put an end to this frustration. A thin layer of mesh imbedded in both the car’s front and rear windscreens quickly thaws the windows clear in minutes.

Bluetooth Connectivity

Mobile phones are an essential part of most people’s lives and being unable to use them while driving was a problem that was always going to be quickly solved. Bluetooth is standard in most modern cars and most can be upgraded with the system that allows both hands-free phone calls and also the ability to stream music straight from your phone through your car’s speaker system.

Connected Cars

The next big innovation mooted for the automotive industry is connecting our cars to the internet. The rise in “Connected Cars”, which are cars that can connect and communicate over the internet, has been relatively quiet but made large leaps in 2014.

The wave of connected car tests conducted by the major car manufactures ranged from installing computer systems that monitor and display your cars diagnostics, to the rise in vehicle-to-vehicle communication using Wi-Fi like signals that allow cars to “talk” to each other, potentially lowering car accidents.

But where connected cars may shine in the future is the new ways we will be able to control our vehicles with our smartphones. We will be able to check our fuel levels, turn on the heating before we enter, and BMW has even announced an application that will make your car drive to you automatically at the push of a button.

So as current innovations set out to make driving easier, it seems in the future the cars will do the driving for you!

20/03/2017

Buying Your First Car

Buying your first car, especially if the first car is a used car, can be a daunting experience. However, it should also be an exciting time as you start to taste the freedom of having your own “wheels”.

So, here are some tips to help.

First of all decide how much you can afford to pay for your first car. Not just the price of the car itself but also the running costs - car insurance, MOT, road tax, petrol, repairs and servicing.

Then do your research. Take a look at magazines such as Parkers or The Which Car Guide which rate, review and price all types and models of cars. Road tests will give you detailed information on performance, reliability, handling and other important points. When you come to negotiate the purchase of your first car such information will prove vital.

Below is a simple checklist that will help you:

Your Used Car Inspection Checklist

Bodywork - look for rust, as this is always a bad sign. Look all over the car, checking the wheel arches and as much of the underbelly of the car as you can. If you can't get a proper look underneath the car use your hand to feel underneath. If you see small amounts of rust on the bodywork, this may indicate more serious rusting below the surface.

The Engine - open up the bonnet and inspect the engine. Does it look well-maintained or dirty or neglected in anyway? Pull the dipstick out and check the oil. If the oil looks black this may indicate that the oil hasn't been changed regularly, and that the car hasn't been serviced at regular intervals. The oil should be look fairly transparent.

Check to see that all reservoirs, brake, coolant etc, are adequately filled. If they aren't, then this may indicate the car has been neglected. With the engine on, make sure the engine doesn't rattle or make any other strange noise.

Tyres - check the tyres including the spare. Are they legal? Replacing tyres is costly, so the deeper the tread, the longer the tyres will last. Check the tyres for cracks and bulges. If you find any, the car is unlikely to be legal to drive.

Service History - Ask the seller to provide you with a copy of the service history and the user manual. Look at the service history to see how often the car has been serviced. The manual will tell you the service schedule. Each service entry should be stamped with the mechanics stamp and dated.

Look to see if any other work has been carried out on the car. A good service history should also have receipts for work carried out. If the seller can't provide any service history information then assume the car has been poorly looked after.

The Test Drive - Some Tips

- Are you insured to drive the car you're about to test drive?
- Always start the engine from cold
- The test drive should last at least ten minutes and you should drive on a variety of roads if possible
- Listen for any knocks or rattles and during the test drive listen to the engine. If it sounds too noisy there could be a problem, likewise the exhaust
- Test the suspension by driving over some bumps
- Turn on the radio and all other electrical gadgets. Make sure they work.
- Changing gears should be smooth and easy. If not then the gearbox may soon need replacing
- Perform an emergency stop and test the brakes. If you hear any strange noises, especially a grinding noise the brakes may be wearing thin

Once you have completed the road test park the car, let the engine tick over, open the bonnet up and check for the following:

- Water or oil leaks
- Engine rattle or other odd noise
- Black or blue smoke coming from the exhaust, which will indicate a badly worn engine

Finally, remember, no car manufacturer makes just one of any model. If the seller looks dodgy, the car is too cheap, or there is anything else that makes you suspicious then walk away. There will be another, much better example next time.

13/03/2017

The 5 Best Motorway Cars

If you are looking for a car that will give you that smooth motorway ride, and eat up the miles with little stress, then you might want to consider these 5 cars.

Mercedes C Class

If you rack up a high annual mileage on our motorways the C220 or C250 CDI Blue Efficiency diesels offer the best blend of performance and low running costs, with some later versions of the C220 CDI posting emissions figures low enough to qualify for £30 annual road tax.

The petrol C250 CGI is also a great choice if you don’t drive quite as much – it comes with an impressive turn of speed, great refinement and reasonable economy. Regardless of whether you choose petrol or diesel, try to get an automatic gearbox, as it suits the character of the C-Class far better than the manual and will give you an enjoyable motorway ride.

Ford Mondeo

The Mondeo is an ideal motorway cruiser helped by economical engines. These include a 1.6 TDCi diesel that emits just 94g/km and will average more than 78mpg according to the official figures. This model averages about 47mpg on 65% motorway driving and general running around. We would recommend this car to anyone wanting a good combination of size, economy and smooth driving, in a long distance vehicle.

VW Passat

Our choice here is the Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDI 150 SE Business. The Volkswagen Passat is as much of a staple of the firm's range as the Golf. It was first introduced in the 1970s, and over the years it has grown in size and quality to become an upmarket family car. It offers a serenely quiet cabin and road-massaging ride, and as such is an easy choice for that motorway journey.

The Passat Mk8 was introduced in 2015, and it uses the largest version of the VW Group's MQB platform. This features lightweight construction and sophisticated components that help the Passat to deliver decent economy and reasonable handling.

BMW 3 Series

The BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics Sport is our choice here. The 3 Series replaced the popular 2002-series of small saloons in the mid-Seventies. Over the years, the 3 Series has grown in size, but has largely stuck to the same formula, by offering four doors, a front-engine and rear-wheel drive transmission.

Optional extras include variable ratio sport steering and Adaptive Drive damping for the suspension, and are hooked up to the Drive Performance Control system when fitted. If your budget allows, the adaptive suspension transforms the way the 3 Series drives, allowing it to be sportier when you say so, but more comfortable on longer motorway drives.

Skoda Superb

Our choice here is the Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI 150 SE Business.

The Superb’s mission is to be an executive limousine for the masses, so the focus is firmly on comfort and refinement ahead of pin-sharp driving dynamics. And whether you’re wafting around town or cruising quietly along the motorway, it’s clear that Skoda has done a great job. It might not be everyone’s choice as it still probably suffers from the stigma of years gone by, but you could do far worse. Give it a try!

13/03/2017

The 5 Best Family Cars

Of course the word “best” is a very subjective thing and is dependent on what criteria you are using to judge, but, we at LMC have taken a view on what we consider to be the 5 best family cars.

- Mazda 3:

The Mazda 3 is stylish and well equipped and considered one of the best cars in its class. It's positive points include, efficient petrol and diesel engines, its fun to drive, and with a decent standard kit. The Mazda 3, benefits from Mazda's ‘SkyActiv’ weight saving technology. This focuses on fitting the right engine for the car's size, instead of turbocharging a smaller unit.

We would say that the Mazda 3 is one of the best handling hatchbacks on sale.

Four engines are available in the Mazda 3: a 2.0-litre petrol with 119bhp or 163bhp, a 104bhp 1.5-litre diesel and a 2.2-litre diesel with 148bh.

We also think that the Mazda’s build quality and interiors have improved over time, particularly with the current generation of cars. The cabins are a cut above many Japanese competitors, and we would recommend this as a fun, family car.

- BMW 1 Series

The BMW 1 Series is a compact premium family hatchback designed to rival the likes of the Audi A3, Volkswagen Golf and Mercedes A-Class. It’s a desirable car, good to drive and surprisingly cheap to run – and with the best infotainment system in its class. Also, as with all BMW’s it has clear instrumentation with simple, easy-to-read dials in front of the driver.

If it’s fuel economy you are looking for then the most frugal version of the 1-series is the 116d Efficient Dynamics Plus model, which returns an official average of 83.1mpg, putting it ahead of the Audi A3 and Mercedes A-class.

In short the BMW 1-series is a fine choice if you want a premium hatchback that’s fun to drive and affordable to run.

- VW Golf

The VW Golf is a family car favourite and for good reason. It is easy to drive, comfortable with a smart and spacious interior, and for many people it is still seen as the benchmark family car.

The seventh-generation Golf was first introduced in 2013. It is available in three and five-door hatchback format, as well as an estate. The five-door range is the broadest, and across the range you can pick from five core trim levels.

The VW Golf also has a good reputation for safety. All cars get seven airbags (including driver’s knee airbag), while the five-star Euro NCAP rating is impressive, especially the 94% rating for adult occupant protection. Other standard safety features include an electronic parking brake with auto hold function, electronic tyre pressure monitoring, stability control, front passenger airbag deactivation and hydraulic brake assist. An old favourite - the Golf – safe, reliable and smart.


- Audi A3

The Audi A3 is the very definition of a well-rounded, well-priced premium family hatchback. Whether you choose three or five doors, you get strong refinement from a line-up of punchy, economical turbocharged engines, and a beautifully built interior that’s practical enough for most everyday needs.

In addition, the A3’s three-year running costs are lower than those of much of the mainstream opposition, helped by rock-solid resale values – always a plus.

- Nissan Pulsar

The Nissan Pulsar is a family hatchback that’s designed to appeal to those seeking a straightforward, no-nonsense car. It is a spacious and quiet car with a well-equipped interior.

Nissan has to compete in this space with the likes of VW, Audi and BMW and has made its USP in the car’s spaciousness. So if space is your number one priority then the Nissan Pulsar is worth a look, particularly when you also factor in the high levels of standard specification and low running costs.

View our showroom today to see our full range of family cars.

06/03/2017

What is Gap Insurance?

Having your car stolen or written-off can be worrying enough without having to grapple with your insurer over your claim. And with insurers usually paying out the current market value of your vehicle - not the price you paid for it - you can find yourself out of pocket, especially if your car was brand new.

Guaranteed Asset Protection, more commonly called Gap Insurance, is designed to work alongside comprehensive car insurance to help you cover the shortfall.

Here we take a look at the types of Gap Insurance available, and how they could help you:

- Finance Gap insurance

One of the most basic products on the market, Finance Gap Insurance helps you pay off any outstanding loans on your car if it's written-off.

- Return To Invoice Gap Insurance

Return To Invoice Gap Insurance tops up the claims pay out from your car insurer to the amount you bought the vehicle for. Many providers offer Finance Gap Insurance as part of this product, to also cover the cost of borrowing.

- Vehicle Replacement Gap Insurance

Rather than helping you reach the amount you paid for the car, Vehicle Replacement Gap Insurance bridges the distance between your car insurance pay out, and the cost of replacing your vehicle with a new one.

- Return To Value Gap Insurance

Return To Value Gap Insurance is similar to Return to Invoice Gap Insurance, but instead of helping you get exactly what you paid for the car, it pays the difference between your car insurance settlement and the value of the vehicle when it was first purchased. This could prove useful if you bought the car second hand, or you have had the vehicle for a long time.

- Lease Gap Insurance

If you leased your car rather than buying it outright, Lease Gap Insurance helps you pay the rest of your contract, and any fees that may apply for cancelling your lending agreement early.

Here at LMC, we can help to advise you on the right type of Gap Insurance for your needs. Simply ask an adviser about Gap Insurance when enquiring about your car purchase.

06/03/2017

A Simple Guide To Car Finance

Type: Hire Purchase

Features:

- Small deposit, typically 10% of the car value
- Repayment period usually 1-5 years
- Interest rates fixed at the start of the contract
- You own the car at the end of the agreement

Suitable For:

- You’d like to own the car eventually
- You can afford the repayments


Type: Personal Contract Purpose (PCP)


Features:

- Deposit usually required
- Contract term typically between 24-36 months
- Monthly repayments tend to be lower than HP as you only pay part of the car’s value over the agreed term
- 3 options at the end of the agreement
- Pay the balloon payment to own the car outright
- Exchange the car for a new one and start a new agreement
- Hand the car back

Suitable For:

- Wanting to pay lower repayments
- You plan on changing the car at the end of the agreement
- If you have a low annual mileage


Type: Car Loan/Personal Loan


Features:

- No deposit required
- You can agree the interest rate, term and length of agreement
- Monthly payments paid direct to lender
- Car is owned outright

Suitable For:

- If you don’t have a deposit
- You want to own the car outright

24/02/2017

Motoring Trends for 2017

In this article we take a look ahead to a few motoring trends to watch out for during 2017.

1. Premium Super SUV’s - Established players such as Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover, BMW X5 and Volvo XC90 will be joined by some new entrants, notably the Maserati Levante, Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio SUV and perhaps most surprising Rolls-Royce is having a go with an SUV in testing.

2. Self-Driving Cars (or at least autonomous capability) - 2017 will see the introduction of new autonomous features that will appear in almost every new car. Examples include self-parking and adaptive cruise control. These capabilities will be found in virtually every vehicle in the future and while self-driving cars won’t be on the road in 2017, the direction that it will happen one day is clear. Ford announced that were going to be mass producing self-driving vehicles by the year 2021. Tesla motors and Google are also developing these self-driving cars.

3. Insurance Premium Tax - Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) is a tax similar to Valued Added Tax that is added to your total insurance premium. The standard rate of IPT rose to 10% in October 2016 – the second rise in a year. In June 2017, it’s set to rise to 12%, as per the chancellor’s autumn statement. So get ready for a hike in your premium!

4. 3D Printing - In 2017, 3D printing will begin to appear in the motor industry in the form of basic car construction done by all the mainstream car manufacturers’ as well new players in the game. 3D printing makes it a lot more cost effective to build things which will challenge and if not displace the fundamental way in which cars are currently being made. Today cars are designed and built to withstand between 3 and 5 crashes and last around seven and a half years, some last much longer. 3D printing will enable motor vehicle manufacturers to build a car on a solid chassis with a body that will be designed to have one crash in its life. The body will be able to be cost effectively replaced while leaving the skeleton fully in-tact. 3D printing could even disrupt our concept of repairing a vehicle after an accident and could even render panel beaters as obsolete.

Interesting times ahead!

24/02/2017

Police Warn People not to Pull over for Unmarked Police Cars.

DRIVERS are being urged to only pull over if requested to do by marked police cars after vehicles were stolen by impersonators in unmarked cars.

Two vehicles have been stolen on motorways in Essex within the last week.

And Essex Police is advising motorists not to pull over if requested to do so by unmarked vehicles.

This warning follows a second theft between junctions 28 and 27 on the anti-clockwise M25 at around 2.10pm on Monday.

In similar circumstances to a theft which occurred on the M11 on Saturday, a silver Ford Mondeo equipped with blue flashing light requested a grey Volkswagen Transporter van to pull over.


Three male occupants purporting to be police officers made the driver get out of the vehicle. No weapons were seen but one of the men had handcuffs.

Two of the men then got in to the van and both vehicles drove off. The driver did not get the index number of the Mondeo. The stolen vehicle was registration RE16 UCV.

On Saturday, between junctions seven and eight on the M11 at Hatfield Heath a white Mercedes Sprinter van was stolen after four men in a silver Ford Mondeo stopped it purporting to be police officers.

One of these men was armed with a firearm. This Mondeo was registration LO62 FOU and the stolen Mercedes van KR60 NHZ. The two occupants of this van were also left at the side of the road unharmed.

DCI Stuart Smith from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, who is leading both investigations due to their similarities, said: "In a direct response to these incidents occurring a direction has been given to our officers that they should not, unless in emergency circumstances, be in an unmarked car and attempt to stop a driver.

"We have taken this decision to safeguard motorists in Essex while these offenders remain outstanding. Our victims have told us that the suspects are purporting to be police officers and are wearing body armour to further enhance this deception in order to steal these vans.


"Anyone who is signalled at to stop by someone in a car which may appear to be an unmarked police is asked not to stop but to call 999 immediately to verify whether the vehicle and its occupants are genuine.”

Anyone with any information about either of these incidents is asked to call detectives on 101.

Credit:
http://www.echo-news.co.uk/

27/07/2016

How To Check Your Oil Level Correctly.

Step 1 - Switch Off Engine
Your car should be parked on level ground. Turn the engine off and wait five minutes before you start.

Step 2 - Locate Dipstick
Open your bonnet and look for the dipstick - this should be brightly coloured and easy to find! When you find it, slowly remove it from its housing.

Step 3 - Clean Dipstick
Use your cloth or tissue to wipe the oil off the dipstick. Make sure you keep an eye out for the oil level marks of the end.

Step 4 - Check Oil Level
Check your engine oil level by slowly pushing the dipstick into its tube, then pulling it out again. It should be between the upper and lower marks - if it is closer to the lower one, it's time to top up.

11/07/2016

Driverless cars – Are they really a good idea?

For a long while now there has been talk of driverless cars. Google is probably the biggest name trying out autonomous vehicles and have been very successful in their testing. However, if you think about it, will they ever be as good as having a real person behind the wheel? Will they make the right decision in an emergency situation? What are the knock on effects?

The first thing that springs to mind is there are those that enjoy driving and those that don’t. Some people will enjoy being chauffeured around. They will be happy to sit back, relax and let the car make the decisions. But what about the people who enjoy driving? They love nothing more than getting in a car and hitting the open roads. They would hate being a permanent passenger.

If there is an accident, how will insurance companies work out who is a fault? Obviously they will be able to download data from the driverless car but will it give information that is completely black and white? Will it be more of a hassle for actual drivers to make a claim if they have been in an accident with a driverless car?

What would happen to those who use vehicles as part of their job role? In Britain there are an estimated 1 million full or part time workers who use cars, taxis, lorries, trucks and coaches. If everything went driverless what would happen to them? Companies might save money but as a country how would that affect things?

The biggest problem could come from decision making. Could a car replace a human driver and make important, possibly moral decisions? Time will tell.

What are your thoughts? Do you think driverless cars are a good idea? If we had one in stock would you buy it? Or do you think they will be more trouble than they are worth? Just a fad and will never take off? Leave your comments on our Facebook page and let us know what you think

30/03/2016

Dashcams are becoming more and more popular

Dashcams are becoming more and more popular and we think everyone should have one. In this blog we will talk about the benefits of owning one and what you should look for when purchasing a dashcam.

What is a Dashcam?

Simply, it’s a camera for your dashboard. However, you can get ones that attach to the windscreen too. They are great for capturing footage of accidents either ones you are involved in or those that happen in front of you.

What are the benefits of owning a dashcam?

1. As mentioned, if you are involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault the footage will show this. If the other person tries to deny it, you will have proof and the claim will go through a lot quicker.
2. You could capture an amazing event. If you look at YouTube there are many dashcam videos that have captured the weird and wonderful from low flying aircrafts, and meteors to people doing odd things. You might even make money from your clip if it its good enough.
3. It might make you a better driver. Dashcams record your whole journey. When you watch it back you might notice you do something that could be dangerous or damaging to your car. Also, if you know you are being recorded you may drive more carefully. You wouldn’t want anyone to see a film of you driving like a lunatic would you?
4. You may be able to capture video of bad drivers and report them. They could be drunk or just dangerous. You could also record road rage incidents and the footage could be used as evidence.
5. If you lend you car to someone or if your kids drive it, you will be able to see how they treated the car


What you should look for when buying a Dashcam?

There are so many makes, models and prices of dashcams it can be difficult to find the right one for you. Here are a few things to look out for.

1. Single lens or multi lens – Single lens will record everything it sees out of your front windscreen where as multi lens can record what is in front and a camera can be added to the back of the car which can record everything behind you. Useful if someone goes up the back of you
2. Video quality – Make sure the recording quality is at least 720p. You should be able to get a decent picture. However, 1080p would be better
3. Parking mode – When you are on the move your camera will record everything it sees. However, what if you have parked your car while you go shopping and someone drives into you? Parking modes are useful as they switch on and record when they detect an impact. Useful for those hit and run occasions
4. Night video quality. You will want a camera that will work well in low light so it can capture decent footage
5. Loop recording – This is useful for when your memory card is full. Instead of stopping when it runs out of space it will overwrite existing footage.
6. Auto on/off – This is very useful. You would want a camera that switches on when you start the car. It would be a pain if you forgot to switch it and something happened.

NB, at no time should operate your dashcam whilst driving

15/03/2016

TLC for your car

It’s March which means it’s nearly Spring and the clocks will be going forward. Longer, lighter evenings and no colder, darks nights. Fabulous!

Now is a good time to give your car bit of TLC too.

Here are a few tips on how you can show your car some love.

Firstly, give it a good clean inside and out. Having a shiny clean car will make you feel good too.

Check your battery – The cold weather can cause battery problems, such as corroded cables. These will have to be replaced. Also, more charge is used in the winter through keeping the car warm. Because of this, if you have an unsealed battery you might have to top the water up..

During the winter months your car deals with rain, ice, snow (if you have had any). If it’s cold enough there may be grit on the roads which can shoot up to your windscreen. Your wiper blades will be working extra hard during the winter so take a look at them and make sure there’s no damage. If there is you will need to replace them to ensure you keep your windscreen clean

Check your tyres – The temperature can affect the air in the tyre so this is something you should check regularly regardless of the time of year. Winter roads can be more abrasive due to ice, snow and grit which can cause extra wear. Look for any damage or bulges in the tyre. Also, check the tread. The minimum tread allowed on a tyre is 1.6mm. If your tread is below this, it is not only dangerous but it can also land you a large fine.

When the weather is wet stopping distances increase so we end up using our brakes more. Now would be a good time to check them to ensure they will continue to stop the car when needed. Obviously, worn brakes are very dangerous. Not only to you but to everyone else on the road.

Check your fluids such as oil and windscreen washer fluid. Make sure everything on the car is topped up.

If you have air con in your car make sure the gas is topped up to. When the warm weather comes you won’t want to be without it.

And if you want to change your old car for a newer one, Spring is a great time to do it!

If you have any questions about any of the above, or are looking for a particular car to buy, feel free to leave a comment on our Facebook page or give us a call on 01708 863247

01/03/2016

Auto or Manual?

Which is better? A manual or an automatic car? This is a question we get asked quite a lot via Facebook and in our showroom so we thought we would put a few of the pros and cons in a blog as it may help you make a decision when you decide to buy your next car.

Manual Car Vs Automatic Car

From talking to our customers we have found there are those that buy a car for practical reasons, to get them from A to B. Then there are those that like to drive. They want to get out on the road and enjoy their car. Generally, the people who enjoy driving are the ones who buy manual cars. They want complete control over the car. Everyone else just wants a car that's comfortable, no fuss and easy to drive.

Cost

Generally, manual cars are not as expensive when compared to automatics. Also, they are cheaper to run. For example, if the gear box goes in a manual it can be replaced quite easily. However, in an automatic the gear system is far more complex so will cost more to replace.

Back in the day automatic cars were notoriously bad at fuel consumption. It would cost a small fortune when compared to a manual car. However, autos have improved a lot over the years. Automatics are built better and have tech in them which can help with fuel usage. Many automatics now have a system where the engine stops when the brake has been pushed and the car has stopped. When the foot is lifted from the brake the engine restarts again. It's great for when you suddenly hit traffic and definitely helps conserve fuel. On the downside when you are at a busy junction and you finally see a gap to pull out in, you need to wait for the engine to restart so you can pull away. Timing is everything as you may miss your gap if you take your foot off at the wrong time. On the plus side, you won't stall an automatic when you pull away at a junction. That is something I still dread now even after all my years of driving. Pulling away in 1st gear then the car conks out and I am surrounded by people angrily blowing their horns as I am in their way.

There is a bit more wear and tear on the brakes in an auto. This is due to the car automatically moving when the brake isn't pushed. At a junction, rather than holding it on the clutch, as you would in a manual, you have stop the car with the brake pedal.

Overall which is better?

Now THAT'S the question. The honest answer is it is all down to personal preference. Sometimes I like to drive a manual car. I like to be in control of everything. I can change gear when I want and get the best speed and performance out of the car. It feels fun. However, I also like to drive an automatic. If I am driving around a busy town or city and have to stop and start due to bad traffic its far easier in an auto. My left leg gets a rest. Also, on long drives I can concentrate more on the roads, I can have both hands on the wheel at all times. It's a far smoother ride. Oh and it's far less stressful in an auto. If you keep hitting traffic you don't have to keep manually changing up and changing down every few minutes. Let the car do it and stay relaxed.

With regard to the cost, yes the manual looks cheaper on paper, however there are lots of variables that can affect that. Fuel for example, regardless of whether you are in a manual or an auto, if you drive badly you will burn fuel very quickly. If you drive carefully and safely your fuel consumption will be a lot less. Lots of cars show you how many miles per gallon you get and it changes depending on how you drive. Also, regardless of which car you have if you take lots of short trips it will burn fuel quicker than if you took lots of longer journeys.

We always say to anyone who is thinking of buying a car, take it for a test drive. If you have only ever had a manual and fancy an auto, just try before you buy. You might like it. I have heard people say time and time again that once they have driven an auto they have never gone back to manual.

What do you think? Do you prefer a manual car or an automatic? We have many manual and auto cars in stock and our team are more than happy to answer your questions. Why not pop in and take a car for a test drive or give a call on 01708 863247 if you have any questions. Alternatively, leave a comment on our Facebook page and we will get back to you.

16/02/2016

Marketing Assistant Vacancy

LMC Cars are growing and we are excited to announce our latest vacancy – if this sounds like your ideal job, send us your CV today to sales@lmc-cars.co.uk

Position: Full time marketing assistant

Required: ASAP start for the right person

We require a marketing assistant to carry out the following duties:

• Take digital photos of our vehicles for sale
• Write detailed compelling descriptions of vehicles for sale to stand out from the rest

Skills required:

• Full driving license
• Experience using a digital camera
• GSCE Grade C or above in English
• Computer literate with confidence in Word, Excel, Internet Browser and the ability to crop photos
• Creative thinker

Apply to join our successful team at LMC Cars today by sending your CV to sales@lmc-cars.co.uk

Should you require more information, please call us on 01708 863247

28/01/2016

Buying a used car

Buying a used car is far more common than buying a brand new one. After all, you spend all that money buying a car brand new then it loses a lot of value in the first year due to depreciation.

If you are on the lookout for a used car, here are a few tips to help you make the right choice:

Firstly, decide on what sort of car you need. For example, if you are starting a family then a 2 seater sports car might not be right for you. Do you want a car for short trips or long motorway journeys? Petrol, Diesel or a hybrid? A family car or something sportier? Do you need a car to tow a caravan? Does it need a big boot? There are lots of things you may want from a car. Think it through so you are clear. Once you have decided what you need from a car do your research and find a car that meets your needs. Remember to check how much road tax and insurance the car will cost you.

You now have the car/s in mind and it’s time to buy. Should you buy privately or via a dealer like us. Obviously, we would say go with us or another reputable company. However, there are many reasons why we would advise this. Over the years we have heard many horror stories about people buying cars privately and there have been issues once the transaction has gone through. Unfortunately, when you go down this route you have very little in the way of legal rights. If you buy a car through a dealer, you get legal protection under the Sale of Goods Act.

Buying a car from a dealer has many benefits. Firstly, you should get a warranty with your car so you have that piece of mind should anything happen. We offer a warranty and a new MOT with all of our cars. The dealer will have made the car look as good as new ensuring it works and any dodgy parts are replaced. Also, the dealer can offer great finance packages so you can get the car you want without giving them large lump sums. You may even be able to get a better car than you had planned.

Always go out for a test drive. Don’t go for a quick trip around the block. Go for a proper drive. Take it on slow and faster roads and listen for anything that doesn’t sounds right. How does the car feel? Is the seat comfy? Enough legroom? You need to take these things into consideration before saying yes.

Finally, when you buy the car make sure you are insured to drive it. You would be surprised by how many people buy a used car then realise they need insurance.

Hopefully, the above information is helpful. However, if you have any other questions or queries feel free to call our team on 01708 863247 and they will be more than happy to help. Alternatively, check out our Facebook page and you can either inbox us or leave a comment there.

26/01/2016

What to consider when buying your first car

At long last. You have finally done it. After weeks, months or maybe years you have passed your driving test. Congratulations!

Now you need a car. Do you buy new? Do you buy a used car? What model should you buy? As there are so many things to think about we thought we would write a blog on some of the things you should consider when buying your first car

Buying your first car is more than just handing over the cash and driving away in your new wheels. You need to consider all the extra costs such as:

Insurance
Fuel
Servicing and maintenance
Yearly MOT and car tax
Breakdown cover

Before buying a car make sure you have budgeted enough money to pay for everything you need. You have to have insurance and all cars over 3 years old have to have an MOT. If you don’t have either of these you can be in a lot of trouble.

Unless you have parents that have lots of money and like you enough to buy you a brand new car, there is a good chance you will be paying for it yourself. However, if you do not have enough cash you can always go for the financing option. Depending on the deal you might have to pay a small deposit or there are some where no deposit is required. Taking out car finance is a good way to get a decent car that runs well whilst not breaking the bank. Again, when working out if you can afford a car make sure you budget for the monthly payments.

So, you have run through all of the figures and you can afford a car. Which one do you buy? Whilst it would be great to have a big, expensive motor, in the real world it’s not practical for a first car. New drivers will have to pay a bit more for their insurance. Having a flash car will whack up the premiums.

Go for a car that will be economical to run. Something that doesn't guzzle fuel and it’s also fairly cheap to insure. We have many cars available that meet that criteria such as:

Fiat 500 - You can buy this for £6500 or pay monthly from £118.92
Kia Picanto - You can buy this for £6600 or pay monthly from £133.28
Seat Ibiza - You can buy this for £7000 or pay monthly from £130.58

These are 3 examples from a large range of cars suitable for a first time buyer.

One of the most important things you can do when buying a car for the first time is to go to a show room and take a look at a car in person. Touch it, sit in it, and see how it feels and most importantly ask lots of questions about the car. If you don’t know much about cars take someone with you who does. We take lots of photos of each car we have in our showroom so you can get a good idea of how it looks inside and out when viewing the car on the website, but nothing beats seeing it in real life. You can even give it a test drive to ensure it’s the right one for you.

Head over to our online showroom and take a look at the cars we have available. We are sure there will be something that you will like. When you see one or maybe two that takes your fancy, pop in and see us. Our team will take you round, answer all your questions and advise you of all the options we have available. Also, you can always ask us questions by calling us on 01708 863247 or sending a message via our Facebook page.

Happy Driving!

12/01/2016

trainee car sales person

We are looking for a trainee used car salesperson to join our busy team,sales experiance prefered but not essential,please send a cv to sales@lmc-cars.co.uk

14/12/2015