Sep 18

The 7 Most Bizarre Car Mods We’ve Ever Seen

Car modification can be a great way to express the owner’s individuality, mechanical skills and sense of style – and many modders have created absolutely beautiful cars. These… Are not those. These are slightly more questionable modifications, ranging from putting a car on stilts to transforming it into a creepy, eldritch sofa. Take, for example:

The Faux-rari

Car Mods Faux-rari

The Catfish

Car mods catfish

The Chrome Roller

car mods chrome

The… Sofa? The Deep-Sea Monster? We’re Not Sure.

Car mods etf

The Stilt Walker

car mods high up

The Depressed Transformer

Car mods depressed

The… UFO? What is this?

car mods wtf indeed


Mar 13

How New Drivers Can Cut Their Car Insurance Down

car-insuranceCar insurance can be astronomically high for young, new drivers looking to get behind the wheel after passing their test. Here are a few things they can do to keep their car insurance quotes as low as possible:

1. Get an extra qualification before driving

The Pass Plus course has many benefits. It can improve your driving in more unusual circumstances such as wet conditions, for example, and it can teach you the correct way to use the motorway. However, perhaps the greatest benefit is what pass plus demonstrates to insurers when you are looking for a quote. It signifies that you are not only capable of driving safely but are actively committed to learning how to be a more skilled and aware road user. It is likely to cut your insurance greatly.

2. Don’t even think about car mods

Car modifications do not look cool. And what’s more: they are not worth the expense. Getting customised wheel alloys, spoilers or body kits often seems to appeal to young drivers looking to make their cars unique. Anyone with sense, however, will see this as a red flag. After all, you might as well be driving through the street with the words ‘teen racer’ printed across the car’s body. Insurers aren’t blind to this either and will charge significantly more for insurance when they are told of these modifications.

3. Make your first car one that insurers favour

You probably have a dream car in mind, but you might want to wait a few years before you buy it. While the insurance rates are potentially enormous for new drivers, it may be cheaper to choose a vehicle that insurers favour until you have proven to them you are a safe road user. Cars like the Vauxhall Corse Hatchback, Volkswagen Up and Kia Rio are considered to be the most cost-efficient.

4. Think about having a black box installed

Lumping all young drivers into the ‘teen racer’ bracket is hardly fair. For every driver who disobeys the law and takes no consideration for other drivers, there are hundreds more that will be considerate and abiding road users. It’s an unfortunate reality, but you can prove to insurers that you are in the majority by installing a black box. Monitoring your speed, braking, cornering and more, your insurer will look at the data collected on the box and determine your insurance policy accordingly. In short: Drive well, pay less.

5. Join the same insurance company as your family

Insurance companies will look more favourably on your price if you have one or two other family members registered with them. Find out who your mother or father are registered to and perhaps consider them as the first place to call. You very well may receive a discount.

Dec 15

The Competitive World Of Airport Transfers

airporttaxiThe taxi market is an increasingly competitive one. Not only are there many rival firms jostling for customers in each of the United Kingdom’s major cities; they are also up against apps like HAILO and Get Taxi that allow customers to get a lift with the click of their smartphone. However, the market has never been anywhere near as competitive than as it is right now in the airport transfer business.

Airport transfer companies provide a valuable service for travelers who wish to avoid the expensive car parks, the shuttle journeys and the petrol needed to get them to their place of departure. Companies provide them to most of the major airports in the United Kingdom with airport transfers going to Manchester, Liverpool John Lennon, London Heathrow and more. There are quite a few different taxi and transfer services that are providing airport lifts. This is forcing airport transfer companies to do innovative things in an attempt to standout from their rivals. Some are using technology to get live, up to the moment reports about road incidents. Others are providing deals for large parties to massively undercut the cost that a normal driver would incur.

It’s not just other companies that airport transfer businesses are competing against though. It’s also the general public. More and more people are beginning to reject airport transfer services in favour of simply asking a friend or family member to drop them at the airport instead. There are some obvious advantages to this. It similarly saves the costs of parking and allows you to get dropping directly outside the terminal as opposed to on a far-away car park. It is bringing about tough times for a lot of airport transfer businesses.

So what can airport transfer companies do to remain relevant in such a competitive marketplace? Well, for businesses trying to succeed in London, the answer is fairly simple. London’s airports have four or the top five most expensive airport transfer prices in the whole of the United Kingdom for customers who wish to take the train or bus. Taxi services can simple undercut public transport, promising to take customers right from the terminal to or from their accommodation.

In the regional areas of the United Kingdom, this is a lot more challenging. Airport transfer companies must figure out what it is that makes them unique – what makes them a better choice than a reliable colleague or family member – and deliver that to a high, professional standard.

Dec 12

Top Tips For Hiring a Van

Hiring a van can be a lifesaver in those tricky work or home life situations. However, as with everything, there’s a right and a wrong way to do it.

So don’t be left in the lurch – read our tips for a safe and useful van hire.

1. Identify Your Needs

It pays to know exactly what you need before you even start to look at van hire companies. What will you be using the van for – a personal project or work? How much load will it need to be able to carry? Do you plan on transporting everything in one trip? How many hours do you think you will need it for?

Having at least a vague idea of your requirements will help to avoid you spending money unnecessarily, and allow the van hire company to offer you the vehicle that best fits the job.

2. Be Clear About the Costs

When getting quotes from companies, first ask what sizes and models of van they have, before asking for their daily or hourly rates for each one. Brands and models can vary from firm to firm, so it’s helpful to compare the costs of similar sized vans with others.

If a firm charges by the hour as opposed to by the day, then take the time to work out which is cheaper in terms of overall cost. Ask the company to be clear about extras, such as whether or not insurance is included, and if not, how much it will cost.

Don’t forget to ask about mileage limits too, as this could be another factor influencing your cost. Try to go for unlimited mileage deals if you can.

When you eventually receive documentation with your van, check you are only being charged for what was agreed at the beginning and query anything you are not sure about.

3. Check Your Vehicle Closely

Before driving away with any van, check the van for any damage both inside and out. Any wear or tear should be detailed on your van’s documentation, so point out anything you are not sure about.

Check the van’s mileage and fuel levels – it should be all topped up before you leave. Ask your van hire Liverpool provider what to do in the case of an emergency or breakdown – there may be a specific number you need to call.

4. Take Time to Get Used to Driving a Van

If you’ve never driven a van before, the experience can feel very different at first to driving a car. It will be much higher and perhaps even a little wider than what you are used to. Even small vans will also take longer to turn around than a normal car.

Take your time with it; perhaps even drive around the block a couple of times first. Don’t be afraid to familiarise yourself with the experience.

5. Don’t Forget to Ask About Drop-Off

Different van hire services will have different rules about dropping off the van. Check the hours in which you are allowed to return your van and, if out-of-hours drop-off is available, what you should do with the keys. Ask what to do in the case of any damage (how much are your covered for?) and whether there will be any charges for dropping it off later than expected.

Dec 12

What’s Legal And What’s Not With Mileage Correction

What is Mileage Correction?

Mileage correction is the manual ‘clocking’ of a vehicle’s mileage so that the meter assumes a desired reading. It is performed by specialist mileage correction firms and can be done on cars, bikes, vans, lorries and any other type of vehicle.

Mileage correction is not technically illegal in itself; however, the UK’s Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) is worried that it is being used to dupe drivers into buying used cars that are older than they look.

When Is Mileage Correction Okay?

Mileage correction is normally used when a vehicle’s digital odometer has been damaged or there is a fault with the mileage reading. A mileage correction firm can reset the meter to its original reading.

In modern cars, data stored in the digital odometer becomes corrupted due to a collision or other kind of traumatic impact. Digital mileage correction can correct this, as well as speedo recalibration, also offered by most firms.

This type of mileage correction is designed to help the owner of the car and is perfectly legal. Legitimate firms will require the owner to verify the vehicle’s correct mileage before the correction process.

The Darker Side of Mileage Correction

A recent report by the BBC’s Radio 5 Live has shown that some people are using mileage correction as a way to sell vehicles at a higher price than their actual value.

Of ten secretly recorded calls made to ten web-based mileage correction services, six said they would willing to wind back the clock on the car, even though there was no legitimate reason for doing so. In fact, the firms were all aware that it was being done in order to deceive a potential buyer.

A Freedom of Information request to VOSA revealed that in the year to March 2010, recorded mileage on MOT certificates for 669,127 cars had dropped when compared to the recordings taken 12 months earlier. The same was also found for 26, 512 motorbikes and 19,224 delivery vans.

Although Trading Standards told the BBC that these firms account for only a small number of cases, it is a worry for anybody buying a used car. It advises all buyers to check a vehicle’s MOT history on the website before purchasing.

Meanwhile, if a driver is in need of a mileage correction following a collision or meter fault, they shouldn’t be tempted to go lower for the sake of extra gains when they sell the car.

How to Spot When a Car Has Been Clocked

Trading Standards has recorded many cases where drivers have purchased a used car only to find out later on that its mileage had been clocked.

To tell if a vehicle’s been clocked, look out for:

  • Wear and tear on the vehicle, combined with an appealingly low mileage that seems ‘too good to be true)
  • Pedals, a gear stick and/or steering wheel that look newer than the rest of the vehicle
  • A misalignment of the numbers on the odometer.

You will be able to claim compensation if you have been sold a car with a higher mileage than what was quoted to you by the seller. This is also the case if the seller was not aware of the real mileage but failed to check before selling the vehicle.

Oct 17

Truth or Myth: Are Car Sales Really a Good Indicator of Economic Growth?

Reports of rising car sales have had us excited recently, with growth in manufacturing and retail being traditionally regarded as indicators of a thriving economy.

Just this month, it was reported that new car sales in Northern Ireland have risen by 9% compared to last year – the fastest sales growth area in any part of the UK. Experts are saying that sales for new cars in the UK over the first 9 months of 2014 are just over 1% above the level of sales for the same time in pre-recession

But what does all this mean, and can car sales really be a reason to get excited over a potential economic recovery?

Let’s look at the facts.

The Value of Car Sales as an Economy Indicator

In Northern Ireland, car sales are regarded as a good measure of economic health as there are no general retail figures. Trevor Finn, chief executive for Evans Halshaw (one of the biggest car dealership chains in the UK) says car sales have been up 20%, with car manufacturers Dacia and Maserati benefiting most from the boom. He says the increase shows “optimism” among UK consumers and that people are feeling “more comfortable” with the prospect of making big purchases as employment figures are looking up. We’re inclined to trust his judgement, as car sales crashed long before the rest of the economy in 2007.

However, its worth noting that cheap money plays a part in a lot of this, with 80% of cars being purchased on credit. Whilst this is a good thing option for consumers, it also raises questions abenefit-fraudbout the stability of the economy’s return to growth. Rather than being built on businesses investing more and exporting overseas (like the government hoped), its a result instead of people spending more and saving less.

The Other Side

Our overall economy is still 3.3% smaller than it was pre-recession in 2007/8. But the services sector – that which is reliant on consumers parting with their cash – is just 0.2% smaller. In fact. its very almost back to where it was before. This suggests that consumer activity alone isn’t enough to gauge the full health of the economy.

In addition, there are a number of other factors that act as leading indicators of economic trends, in addition to retail sales. These include the stock market (often where people tend to look first); manufacturing activity (influences GDP strongly); inventory levels; building permits; the housing market and of course new business startups.

The Role of ‘Cheap Money’

Whilst ‘cheap money’ (staggered credit and payment arrangements like Pay As You Go Car Finance) are incredibly useful to consumers, they can certainly distort the figures of new car sales. What’s more, they don’t create the strong picture that consumers are feeling better off financially (or at least, as much as we’d like to think).used-cars

What it does do, on the other hand, is serve as a catalyst for a thriving car industry. according to consumer site This Is Money. Dr Christian Stadler, from Warwick Business School, explains that the boom in new car sales is due to used cars being more expensive. With so few car purchases during the financial crisis, there are now fewer used cars around, so people are biting the bullet and opting for the new car route.

However, chief executive of HIS Global Insight Howard Archer warns that rising interest rates could soon put an end to this latest growth spurt. Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: “A concern for car manufacturers is that current muted earnings growth threatens to be a constraint for car sales while some consumers will also be worried by the prospect that interest rates will start to rise before long.”

So whilst new car buyers have a great opportunity to jump in and enjoy the benefits of an affordable motor payment plan, it may be wise to remember that the health of the motor industry is only one very small slice of the pie.

Sep 29

The 5 Best Cars For New Drivers

It is a great time for new drivers to invest in their first car with vehicle manufacturers making more competitively priced automobiles than ever. Whereas it was once a question of what car a new young driver could possibly purchase, it is now more a question of which to choose from. Here are five ideas for those who have just passed their test and are itching to hit the road.


5. MINI Hatchback

The MINI Hatchback is the classic choice for young drivers hitting the road for the first time. The iconic design and bright colours makes it both cool to look at and incredibly good fun to drive. However, there is one or two big problems with the MINI hatchback that keep it low on our list. If you are offering your mates a lift, the legroom is unsurprisingly tight. Meanwhile, the £13-15,000 price tag may put it out of the range for most new drivers unless they looked into car financing from the likes of Pay As You Go Car Finance.


4. Hyundai i10

The Hyundai i10 is a choice that no first time driver would regret. It is a favourite among newly qualified road users because it not only provides a comfortable drive with great handling, but does so at a delightfully low buying cost of between £8000 and £11,000. It does not have the most beautiful design — it is fairly bland compared to other vehicles on offer — but it functions like a dream.


3. Ford Fiesta Hatchback

Stylish, reliable and boasting a reasonable price tag somewhere in the region of £9-12,000, the Ford Fiesta hatchback is a great choice for drivers new to the road. It is also one of the safest cars you can purchase having received a full five-star rating from the European New Car Assessment Programme.


2. Skoda Citigo

The Skoda Citigo is the manufacturer’s attempt at making a small city car to rival the Volkswagen, SEAT and Hyundai. When the company announced its low price of between £8,000 and £11,000 many people thought it would be a cheap alternative to its rival automobiles. However, the Skoda Citigo is actually just as good – if not better – than its competition. It is economical, stable, safe and practical.


1. Kia Picanto

The Kia Picanto is not just an excellent car for new drivers; it is an excellent car for any driver. It is a sleek, modern vehicle with some of the latest technology installed such as MP3 connectivity. The automobile is also spacious and beautifully designed so that drivers are provided plenty of comfort. The Picanto comes with a seven year warranty too and guarantees low carbon emissions.

Aug 29

The Best Websites For Car Buying Info

carwebsitePurchasing a new car often seems like a stressful, lengthy challenge. You are not only looking to find the perfect car for you; you are searching for the best value possible. However, the internet has made this challenge fairly painless. With a few decent websites it is easy to make sure you are making the right choice for your next car. Here are some of the best websites for car buying information:

1. Auto Trader

The first place to start is the car itself. There are many dealerships located around the United Kingdom stocking brand new vehicles, and there are plenty of individuals looking to sell their old cars second hand as well. To find your perfect car, Auto Trader has a database of hundreds of thousands of vehicles currently being sold across Britain. You can browse by postcode, condition, make and model. You can also enter the minimum and maximum prices you are willing to pay for a vehicle. Once you have picked out a handful of cars that have caught your eye, you can save the searches for future reference.

2. Wise Buyers

Are you getting the best value for money on the cars you have singled out? There is a simple and straightforward way to discover the answer to this question. Find out the exact version of the car you are interested in, the year it was manufactured and how many thousand miles it has already travelled. You can then enter these details into the WiseBuyers website and find out an estimated price. The website’s service will not only help you figure out if you are getting ripped off by a seller; it will also assist you in figuring out what price to aim for in future negotiations.

3. AA

Once a customer has picked out a few appealing cars, in terms of both quality and value, the next thing to consider is the quality of these vehicles. The AA has been testing cars for over half a decade looking at aspects such as control, safety, security and practicality. The company’s website contains a list of all the cars they have tested (they generally tend to assess 90 of the most popular models every years) and rates the aforementioned specs on a scale of one to ten. Whether you are looking at a new or used car, it should be an essential stop to make sure you are getting the best vehicle possible.

4. Pay As You Go Car Finance

You have chosen the car you want, you are happy with the decision and you have been offered a fair price to purchase it. One problem that many customers encounter at this point is finding the money to pay for it. There are plenty of loans that you can take out from various banks and building societies in order to finance the purchase. However, those who have no credit history or have struggled to get loans in the past — perhaps because of money issues, self-employment, driving convictions, etc. — will not find it easy to acquire car finance. If this is the case, check out Pay As You Go Car Finance who specialise in helping those who have been refused elsewhere.

Aug 26

Roundup Of The Most Economic, Fuel Efficient Cars

eco_carAs fuel prices seem to continue to go up and the environment becomes more important, the number of people asking their car dealer about how economic a car is seems to be on the increase too. Here is our round up of some of the most economic, fuel-efficient cars, in no particular order:

Volkswagen XL1

To put it bluntly, this is one of the most fuel-efficient cars in the world.

The diesel-hybrid is overtaking its competitors left, right and centre, offering impressive stats such as 313mpg and emissions of just 21/km of CO2. It looks like it is from the future and the fuel-saving tech expands onto the dashboard as well.

However, all this lovely eco-friendly power doesn’t come cheap, with a price tag of close to £100,000 (£98,515 to be exact) and there are just 30 expected to arrive on our shores, out of the 200 being produced in the Volkswagen’s Osnabrück factory, Germany.

Don’t let the huge price put you off, because there are other alternatives to traditional car financing, such as Pay As You Go Car Finance.

Vauxhall Ampera

The Vauxhall Ampera is known as a Range-extending hybrid, which basically means that they use a small petrol engine onboard as an electricity generator to power the electric motor that sends its power to the front wheels of the vehicle. There is also a Chevrolet version, called the Volt.

You also have the option of recharging the car at home, which gives around 35 miles of range off just one single charge, with zero tailpipe emissions. This can extend to 300 miles though, when the engine kicks in to recharge the batteries.

Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid

Thanks to this Volvo’s clever plug-in hybrid technology, it has three options. It can either run on just electric power, just diesel or a combination of both of them.

Although it can only travel for short distances in the ‘Pure’ electric mode, it makes it the perfect option to select in traffic jams, because as it clears, you can switch to the combination setting.

Toyota Prius Plug-In

The Prius is usually one of the first cars to spring to mind when people mention “green cars” but this plug in develops the concept even more. The technology offered is similar to that offered from the Volvo, but it comes with a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine instead to assist the electric motors.