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

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

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

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

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

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

Where Best To Service Your Car

Thursday, 1. June 2017

More leasing companies and PCP providers are now insisting that cars be serviced at main dealers. Where the manufacturer either owns the funder or has major influence over the funder, through discounts provided on the vehicles supplied, you can understand that they may wish to protect their franchised dealerships.


And of course with changing technology having your car serviced at a main dealer with his specialist knowledge makes sense. But at what cost? I have told you what I do when my car has a service due. I call around and get a quote from an independent then ask the main dealer if he can match or beat the quote and guess what?


They beat it every time. Aftermarket warranty provider, Motoreasy, has carried out a survey into car servicing and found hourly rates from £36 per hour, charged by an independent, to £234 per hour charged by a sports car dealer in Reading. 6,000 independent, fast fit and franchised dealers took part in the survey. Other than the highly specialist sports car dealer the highest average rate was £81 per hour, charged in Surrey, whilst Selkirkshire had the lowest average of £49 per hour. In terms of individual quotes the cheapest was a garage in Manchester charging the £36 per hour.


Breaking the figures down further they found that the average rate charged by a franchised dealer was £99 compared to the average independent rate of £56 per hour – quite a difference. Now at this stage, and before it starts to get boring, I should explain a bit of a misunderstanding. You may have seen in the press or elsewhere references to the EU Block Exemption Rules.


In summary this enables those who buy a new car to have the car serviced at any independent garage or fast fit centre provided they use manufacturer approved parts and conform to the manufacturer’s service schedule. Provided they do this the warranty cannot be invalidated. However, this is different to the rules that the lender can impose upon you whilst you drive their motor car, this applies to PCP and Contract Hire (both business and personal).


He is entitled to insist that you have your car serviced at a main dealer as he owns the car and you are simply the registered keeper. Whilst this may not be in the spirit of the EU directive if it is part of the agreement you should adhere to the terms. Just thought I’d mention – make sure you read the contract. To finish off, 87% of those using an independent for servicing were happy with their experience compared to 80% who used a main dealer. 65% found independents more convenient whilst 55% found main dealers more convenient (what a dopey statistic).


Dealers scored higher in areas such as professionalism, knowledge and customer service. In an attempt to put up an argument on behalf of the independents Stuart James, Director of the Independent Garage Association said that independents are better at diagnostics as they have to work on a wider variety and age of cars – really?? Just make sure you don’t breach the terms of your contract. By Graham Hill

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

Variable Speed Cameras Raise Millions – Where Are They?

Friday, 26. May 2017

As we all know speed cameras are only there to help to save lives not raise revenue – yer right!! I actually don’t mind speed cameras if they are genuinely saving lives, in towns, near schools and old people’s homes or where there are likely hazards on a stretch of road such as horses or a particularly bad bend where people have had accidents. But what about the variable speed cameras on motorways?


The overhead speed signs that change with road conditions. Now gradually slowing cars down whilst you approach a traffic jam is fine but when you’ve passed the broken down car on the opposite side of the motorway, that all in front slowed down to have a look at, rubbernecking, and the road is clear in front but the speed limit lights are still showing 30mph is it right to cop drivers on camera anxious to get a move on?


Well it seems that these variable speed cameras are earning a fortune with cameras between junction 19 and 20 on the M4 in Bristol raising a massive £4,032,000 since they were installed in July/August 2014. Confused.com have revealed the top 5 money making variable speed camera stretches of motorway in the UK with the Bristol stretch of the M$ responsible for issuing 40,320 penalty notices.


The findings revealed that 210,000 motorists have been caught out by sudden speed changes raising at least £21 million in fines – staggering. The standard fine for speeding is £100 with 3 points on your licence but penalties can increase to £2,500 with a ban if you are excessively over the limit.


Want to know the other speed camera ‘black spots’? Next on the list was on the M5 at Almondsbury  – Easter Compton J16-17, since June 2014 variable speed cameras have raised £2,739.800, Luton in Beds. J10-11 on the M1 has raised £2,175,100 since September 2013. Next comes the M25 in Surrey, J9-16 that has raised £1,919,400 since 2014 and finally, again on the M25 near J27 in Epping, Sussex since January 2013 they have raised £1,888,800. So there you have it, you have been warned! By Graham Hill

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