Emissions Standards Need To Be Changed

Thursday, 18. January 2018

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

It is now becoming ridiculous as Government policy on vehicle emissions falls into disrepute. We have Chris Grayling and Mayor of London Khan along with other ‘experts’ destroying the diesel market by demonising diesel cars and forcing new car buyers to consider moving back to petrol.

Fleet operators are now considering moving over to petrol cars under pressure from environmentalists. However, we still judge the environmental friendliness of new cars by the amount of CO2 they emit.

The higher the CO2 output the more customers will pay in first year road fund licences and employees, who drive company cars, pay benefit in kind tax based on CO2 emissions. So those considering changing cars, whether businesses or consumers, are left totally confused.

To add to the confusion we hear from the Department for Transport in a release from Buyacar.co.uk, that CO2 emissions from new cars have risen for the first time in 14 years. 2017 saw an average CO2 emission rise from 120.3 g/km to an anticipated 121.1 g/km.

So the next thing we will see is a change to the ozone layer and fears that holes will be re-appearing. So on the one hand we are being told that diesel cars are out but those eying up the ozone layer are suggesting that we should be moving back to diesels to bring back down CO2 output.

We need clearer direction from the Government as to what cars should be bought or the environment will continue to suffer and customers paying more for their cars than they need to. Graham Hill

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EU Crackdown On Emissions Will Become UK Law

Thursday, 18. January 2018

Following the VW debacle the EU has introduced fines on manufacturers who’s cars don’t meet EU emission standards.

Each member country is expected to carry out emissions tests and any cars falling below the EU emission standard will cause the manufacturer to be fined 30,000 Euros PER CAR.

The EU has introduced tougher rules to compliment new laboratory and real world emissions tests for new vehicles. It seems that only the manufacturer will be fined and not the driver, which is fair.

Each member country is expected to carry our random inspections and if cars are found to be outside certain emissions limits not only will the manufacturer be fined a Europe wide recall will be imposed so it’s important that the manufacturers don’t fiddle emissions in the first place.

The new rules come into play in 2020. This could result in some massive fines which will result in the cost of new cars increasing. And I feel very uncomfortable with these ‘real life’ tests not being as accurate as many would expect.

I like the idea that we are trying to clean up our act when it comes to the environment but such heavy fines are, I feel, a little over the top.

The UK Government is expected to adopt the new emissions tests and the associated fines, even though we should be out of the EU in 2020. Graham Hill

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General Data Protection Regulations – Fit For Purpose?

Friday, 12. January 2018

I start the year in total confusion, not because I’m dosed up with anti flu treatments but the fact that we are seeing tighter and tighter legislation being introduced by the FCA and now Data Protection with the EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) to be introduced in 2018 but little that genuinely helps consumers.

 

The FCA rules deal with fine detail, record keeping, annual returns and providing contractual information that few customers ever read. But there are no competence tests on those providing or arranging the finance and when you start digging around the various Acts of Parliament, as I’ve been doing recently to prepare my latest report on PCP’s, they are shockingly weak.

 

Whilst we are now going to have to come up with data storage routines that protect customers from having data collected from our computer systems via a virus with all sorts of penalties if something goes wrong there is still no protection against false information being provided on the Internet that could be costing customers fortunes.

 

As an exercise I went onto a well known legal forum before Christmas and posted a problem. I said that I had bought a car costing £14,000 from an individual. At the time I asked the seller if there was any finance on the car and he told me there wasn’t. In fact I wrote on his receipt ‘Free from any finance’ and got him to initial it.

 

Several weeks later I had a knock on the door from a representative of a finance company. They showed me a copy of a PCP agreement, signed by the person I bought the car from, and said that as this was their car I should hand the keys over and it was then up to me to recover my money from their customer.

 

I said that I had fobbed off the representative but what should I do? They would be calling the following day to collect the car. I quickly got a response from one of the forum members asking if I had checked HPI to see if the car was on finance. I told him no.

 

He then inferred that I was pretty stupid and that there was nothing I could do about the situation, I would have to hand the keys over as the car remains the property of the funder until the final payment has been made, along with any option to purchase fee. Others on the forum were agreeing, some with sympathy at losing £14,000.

 

The fact is that this was totally incorrect advice and had I followed it I would certainly have been out of pocket to the tune of £14,000. The finance company would have asked me to sign a document confirming that I had voluntarily surrendered the car and the problem would then be passed to me. This is incredibly bad advice. In fact I would be regarded in law as an innocent buyer.

 

There is no legal obligation on the part of lenders to record finance details on HPI, or any other platform, so there is no legal obligation on your part to check it. Of course it would be wise to carry out a check but you shouldn’t lose your car if you don’t. And this is my point.

 

This information was provided on a legal platform so who should take the blame for my loss when I find out that I could have kept the car? Who is responsible for the data? It’s all well and good going to extreme lengths to protect client information but what about the quality of data presented to you on web sites? Wrong priorities! Graham Hill

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Strange Tyre Advice From Michelin

Friday, 2. June 2017

Now here’s some strange advice I thought I would never be sharing. Michelin has urged drivers not to change their tyres too early. The reason, because changing tyres early is not good for the environment and costs individuals and companies money.

 

Research that was carried out by Michelin found that if tyres were changed with 3mm of tread remaining instead of the legal limit of 1.6mm would cost drivers in the EU an extra £6.9 billion per annum in extra tyre purchases and extra fuel consumption through increased friction on the road surface.

 

So there you have it, you should wait till your tyres are just about on their limit before changing them. By Graham Hill

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Up To Date Information On The Use & Fitting Of Baby Seats

Thursday, 1. June 2017

It’s been a while since I mentioned baby and child seats. As designs and rules have moved on since I last talked about them I thought it would be a good idea to bring things up to date. High street store suppliers now make sure that they send staff on IOSH courses to qualify them to discuss requirements with customers. Mothercare sends out mystery shoppers to assess the quality of advice given by staff.

 

Seat manufacturer Britax provide training for retailers to enable them to fit car seats properly. The most frequent problem is that parents move the child up to a larger seat too soon. This was a major finding by What Car in which 36% of children were found to be too small for the seat whilst a very small number were still in seats that were too small for them. What Car has listed 10 checks that you should carry out to protect your youngster as follows:

 

Is your child too small or large for the seat? If in doubt seek advice of an expert.

 

If the seat is secured by the car’s seatbelt make sure that it isn’t twisted and that it is fitted tightly enough around the child seat. It should be tight enough not to move if you push it.

 

When moving from wearing thick winter clothes to thinner summer clothes make sure you adjust the harness so that it isn’t too loose. Pinch the harness in front of the child’s collarbone and if you can pinch a lot of fabric between your fingers the belt is too loose.

 

If you’ve adjusted the seat’s headrest because your child has grown ensure the harness has been correctly routed back into place.

 

If using a travel system seat with a carry handle, don’t forget to put it back to the correct position after putting your child in the seat.

 

If using an Isofix seat, check that it is correctly clipped in. Indicators will change from red to green on the seat when fitted correctly.

 

If using a seat with a leg support check that the leg is fitted firmly to the car’s floor, that it’s at a 90 degree angle to the floor and that it’s not resting on an underfloor storage department unless this has been filled with a car manufacturer approved filler.

 

If using a seat with a top tether, ensure that it is routed over the back of the seat and clipped into the correct mounting point, not a luggage hook.

 

Don’t secure a high back booster with the car’s head rest: this needs to be moved out of the way so the child seat sits flush with the car seatback.

 

If you’re using a seat that is suitable for a wide age range, check it regularly for wear and tear; don’t just assume that it will stay safe for many years.

One final piece of research showed that babies should be kept as flat as possible as long as possible so avoid long journeys during which the baby is angled at 45 degrees. If it is necessary make frequent stops and lay them flat as often as possible.

By Graham Hill

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Consumer Rights Act – Confusion Over Rejection

Thursday, 1. June 2017

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has issued a notice regarding rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 vs Distance Selling Regulations. Consumers taking cars on finance are confusing the two and looking to reject the car they have just taken delivery of simply because they don’t like it. The distance selling rules allow you 14 days from receipt to reject anything you haven’t seen i.e. goods you have ordered on line.

 

You don’t need a reason to reject, you can simply return and get your money back. In the case of the Consumer Rights Act you have 30 days to reject the goods, i.e. a new or used car in our case, but there must be a problem. It must have something more than a minor fault, be not as described or not be fit for purpose for a rejection under the Consumer Rights Act.

 

You can still allow the dealer to put right the fault but it is your decision and if he doesn’t repair the fault you can still reject the car at a later date. But you can’t simply return the car because you don’t like the shape any more or you’ve gone off the interior colour. It seems that the FOS are receiving complaints from consumers because the dealer won’t take the car back because confused consumers think they can reject the car for no reason as they can under distance selling rules.

 

Having said that there are far too many dealers refusing to accept car rejections for absolutely genuine reasons as they will lose money as a result. Many feel the law isn’t working and I have proof that it isn’t from disgruntled customers – not mine I hasten to add. So it’s a good reason to make sure you have a professional independent broker working on your behalf when buying or leasing a new car in particular. That’s my plug over! By Graham Hill

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Having An Early MOT Test Could Lead To A £2,500 Fine

Friday, 26. May 2017

Some people think that having an MOT test proves that a car is in good condition and without faults. This of course isn’t true so if you are buying a used car you should have a full inspection carried out on the car rather than just an MOT. Also if you have an MOT coming up and you want to know the likely ‘damage’ you should ask for a pre-MOT check rather than having an actual MOT carried out.

 

The reason for mentioning this is that if you have a car MOT tested and it fails this is recorded on the DVSA register as a failure. Scrapcarcomparison.co.uk has warned that some drivers have had their cars MOT tested long before the MOT is due, failed the test but believed that it is still OK to drive the car till the old MOT has run out. This isn’t true and not only is it dangerous it is also illegal.

 

Driving a car that isn’t roadworthy is not only dangerous and illegal it can also invalidate your insurance and if the police pick it up via their ANPR cameras it can lead to a fine of £2,500, a driving ban as well as 3 points on the licence. Last year 36.8% of cars failed their MOT tests on the first attempt with over 2.4 million cars requiring fixes before passing. So remember, if your car fails an MOT test at any time you can only continue to drive the car if it is on the way to be repaired (proof required) or to a pre-arranged MOT test appointment. By Graham Hill

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Self Repairing Roads To Combat Potholes

Friday, 26. May 2017

According to the RAC pothole related breakdowns were up by 63% over the last year. Between January and March this year breakdown patrols helped 6,500 drivers who were in trouble due to poor road conditions. The problems ranged from punctures and broken suspension through to distorted wheels.

 

So I was interested to read that researchers at Delft University in the Netherlands may have the answer. They have come up with a self-repairing Asphalt. Normal Asphalt is made to be porous in order to reduce road noise, but the pores allow cracks to build up and eventually turn into a potholes. In order to overcome this the clever people at Delft have come up with the idea of mixing in steel wool into the asphalt.

 

The steel wool makes the mix conductive to electricity. So if a crack appears a magnetic induction machine is rolled over the surface to heat the mixture that will close the cracks before they become potholes. This system has been under test since 2010 on 12 Dutch roads with none of them requiring any more repairs. The Asphalt mix costs around 25% more but they say the new mix could double the life cycle of roads saving money in the long run.

 

Personally I have yet to be convinced as firstly they have to identify the cracked roads very early on, then they need to tow to the site a special induction machine on wheels that then sends a current through the wool to heat up the Asphalt. And once a pothole appears you are back to a man with a shovel and a heavy boot to repair it. Let’s face it if we had the ‘crack warning’ early enough and the resources we could dispatch the man with his shovel to fix it just as quick and more cheaply. But what do I know? By Graham Hill

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Do You Know If You Have A Spare Wheel In Your Boot?

Thursday, 13. April 2017

If you have taken delivery of a new car recently have you checked the spare tyre situation? Many people are still driving around in the belief that they have a full sized spare sitting in the boot but if you lift the carpet mat you may be shocked to find that you only have a skinny spare, about the width of a pound coin or worse, as manufacturers try to save another gram of CO2, a can of spray tyre inflator and rubber weld in the hole that once contained a spare wheel.

Even worse if you have a BMW because you may open the boot carpet to reveal – nothing! No skinny wheel or can of tyre repair gunk. Just – nothing! Because most BMW’s are now fitted with run flat tyres, which is good because if you get a puncture the tyre will feel spongy and an alert will tell you that there has been a sudden drop in tyre pressure but you can keep going for a further 50 miles at 50 miles per hour.

The bad news is that whilst there are repair kits available to the trade few tyre repairers are happy to carry out a repair as it can be difficult to assess the ancillary damage caused to the structure of the tyre by driving it without air. So generally speaking you are into the cost of a new tyre following a puncture with the additional pain that run flats are more expensive than a normal tyre.

Incidentally, I have had clients call following the delivery of a car with a repair kit in the boot in place of a spare wheel believing this to be illegal. It isn’t. In order to reduce weight, CO2 output and fuel consumption many manufacturers are turning to the spray can so if you’re not sure check it out.

And with the RAC advising that punctures are the most common call out alongside engines that won’t start it might be wise to check the boot. You will at least be prepared and if you prefer at least a skinny spare you can normally get one from a dealer as an after fit. By Graham Hill

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Car Owners To Be Fined When Passengers Throw Litter Out Of Cars

Thursday, 13. April 2017

As I get older I’ve stopped doing many of the things I did as a young driver, mainly revolving around road rage. If someone pulls out in front of me on a roundabout now I no longer lean on the horn whilst screaming blue murder over the thumping sound of  Will I Am’s latest dance release, sticking two fingers up at the driver then spending the next 10 minutes trying to cut the dopey old 90 year old up at every opportunity to ‘teach her a lesson’!

These days I’m as likely to even slow down and let the driver pull out in front of me on the roundabout, only the one of course, my benevolence doesn’t stretch to being courteous to more than one driver at a time – behave! But there is still one thing that still causes me to see red and that is to be driving behind a car and the driver or the passenger in the car in front dispose of the remains of a Chicken McBucket meal for 4 out of the driver’s window.

Of course there are a few with a social conscience who either get the passenger to throw the rubbish out of the passenger window so that it doesn’t end up on the screen of the car behind, or if there are no passengers in the car open the passenger window and lob the rubbish out from the driver’s side contributing to the 700,000 bin bags of rubbish collected annually from the roadside.

Either way it causes me to get angry because it’s one of those things that I can honestly say I’ve never done. It’s despicable to mess up the roadside with rubbish. It’s no big effort to keep the rubbish in the car till you get home, to work or fill up at the garage – isn’t it? But having said that I don’t go knocking on car doors armed with a tyre lever to point out the error of their ways for two reasons.

Firstly cars no longer come with a tyre lever and to walk up to a car window armed with a can of Holts Tyreweld would be more than mildly silly. Secondly I heard of an old lady who became incensed when she saw the passenger of a parked car happily dropping the packaging and remains of their lunch on to the road from their window, asked politely to pick up their litter before they left, and ended up in traction for her efforts.

I’m not that brave over an empty crisp packet but I’m please to say that the law is tightening up on litter louts. From later this month local authorities in London have the power to issue £100 fines to those caught dropping litter out of cars and can be caught using CCTV cameras.

Caroline Spelman, Environmental Secretary is also considering rolling this out across the country with an increased fine of £200 and making the owner of a car responsible for the fine even though the rubbish may have been ejected by a passenger whilst the car was being driven by someone other than the owner.

The fact is that dropping litter is a criminal offence and you can be fined by a magistrate up to £2,500 so it is already serious but a fixed penalty of £200 may work better. Something else that makes me see red is seeing a driver either texting or driving with a mobile phone lodged under their chin – no that isn’t hands free! Oh and then there are the times when you let someone pass cars on their side of the road and they don’t even raise a finger in gratitude oh and then ……………… By Graham Hill

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