16 articles Tag car

When is it the Right Time to Get a New Car for Small Families?

Obtaining a new car is a big step for a small family and a vehicle is often essential in order to address daily activities. When is the best time to consider a new car and what factors should you consider in advance?

Year-End Sales Events

All dealers are required to clear out old inventory before the new models can go on display. So, they will often offer discounts and other special packages such as extended warranties. The end of the year is a great time to see what is available, but keep in mind that others will likely have the same idea.

The End of the Month

Many experts feel that the end of the month is a great time to get a new car. This partially arises from the incentives that are offered to sales representatives. As they rely upon commissions, you could very well be presented with an offer that would not otherwise be possible.

Model Changeovers

Out with the old and in with the new. This phrase is particularly relevant within the car industry. Countless makes and models emerge every year and quotas need to be met.

Therefore, newer versions tend to roll out in the beginning of the year. This is one of the reasons why the month of December is a good time to begin performing research.

However, the end of the model year can sometimes occur in the spring or the summer. This is often the case if the dealer happens to be releasing recreational vehicles such as convertibles or SUVs. Keep up to date with your local dealerships to learn when new designs are coming to the market.

Online Shopping (and In-Person Testing)

The great thing about the online retail community is that you have an immeasurable amount of information at your fingertips. Check out local and regional dealer websites to first see what is being offered. Compare the price of each model with other providers as well as with the official listing (MSRP).

Also, be sure to research your leasing company first. Examine their history, what services they provide and what other customers have to say. Having said this, always perform an in-person test drive before committing to any deal. NEVER close an agreement over the Internet, as you might not be aware exactly what you are getting.

Holiday Sales Events

The holidays are great times to find a money-saving deal on your favorite vehicle. You will often find discounts equivalent to five or even ten percent. We should still mention once again that others will likely have the same idea. Try to schedule an appointment in advance.

A new car can provide your small family with room to grow and there is no doubt that such vehicles are a pleasure to drive. If you would like to discover even more family-oriented advice, be sure to subscribe to Mum’s the Word. There are countless tips and tricks here to make your life easier than you can imagine.

What to Consider When Buying a Family Car

We’re at that stage again where we need to start thinking about buying a new car; we’ve had our current car for just over a year, but it wasn’t exactly brilliant even when we bought it, and we’re desperate for a vehicle with more space. We’ve been thinking about what sort of car we want and we’ve got some pretty specific criteria, so I thought I’d share them with you in case you’re in the same position:

New or Used?

While it’s tempting to go for a new car, the fact is that used cars probably offer better value. New cars decrease in value the second you drvie them off of the forecourt and often have teething troubles, all of which are usually resolved by the time they’re sold on. Unbeatablecar have some great used cars on offer.

Function

What are you planning to use your car for? We do a lot of milage each week, doing a long school run on country roads, so we’re planning to upgrade to an SUV-style car, but if you only do a few miles a week on mainly urban roads, you could probably go for something small like a Fita 500.

Space

How many seats do you need? Do you need a lot of boot space? Is an estate car for you or would a hatchback suffice? There are only 4 of us (plus Maureen) but we’d love to be able to fit more people in the car, so a 7-seater with decent boot space would be ideal.

Fuel

Our current car is petrol, but if we opt for an SUV, we’ll probably end up buying a diesel, however it’s worth remembering that older diesel cars will be taxed higher than newer ones, so brushing up on the new laws will be essential before we spend a lot of money.

Features

When you buy an older car, it’s often possible to get one with better features for less money. Our ideal car is a Volvo XC90 and many of them come fully kitted-out with luxury features, costing WAY less when you buy second hand.

What would be an absolute must for you when buying a new family car? Leave me a comment below.

Things To Consider When Buying a Family Car

Last year, we decided that our old Volvo was probably on it’s last legs and needed replacing. We were on a bit of a budget and managed to find a Ford Focus on a 52 plate which was within our price, but ultimately it’s not been the perfect car for us, so we’re looking for something new. I have certain criteria when looking for used cars and I thought I’d share them with you in case it helps with your own search.

Fuel Economy

Buying a second hand car means you’re probably not buying the most up-to-date vehicle with the best fuel mileage, but it’s still something worth considering. Given the fact that our Focus has a smaller engine than the Volvo and is a smaller car in general, I thought the fuel economy would be better, but it’s actually almost identical to the Volvo – not great when fuel is my biggest expense each month.

Insurance

When we bought the Focus, we knew that the insurance group was high, which is apparently something to do with the sheer amount of them on the road influencing average statistics, but we decided to take the hit because of needing something quite quickly. However, next time, I’ll be aiming to go for a car which is a much lower insurance group than this one.

Comfort

As a driver, I’m largely ambivalent to what I drive and have no major preferences on cars, but comfort is something which my passengers have to have a say on. When we switched from the Volvo to the Focus, Husband lost a lot of leg room in the front seat, and that impacts how far back he has his seat, and in turn how much leg room the seat behind has. Next time we buy a car, I’ll be making sure it’s comfy for everyone.

Safety

This is probably the single most important factor for us; one thing we really miss about our Volvo is knowing that it was an incredibly safe, heavy, well-built car, and unfortunately the Focus doesn;t inspire the same confidence. Husband and I will be checking the safety stats of everything we consider when it’s time to buy something else.

Parts

The one and only thing that we’ve liked about the Focus is the fact that the parts are pretty cheap, which is lucky seeing as we’ve needed to have SO much work done to it in a year. Any car we consider in the future will be checked to see if the parts are ridiculously expensive before we buy!

What To Do in 3 Steps if Your Car Gets a Ding

Car Dings – Three Vital Steps!

We have all been there at some point. We step out from home, work or the supermarket and find that some kind soul has left a scratch, dent or ‘ding’ on our car. A dented door, a cracked bumper or a horrible knock in the boot might seem like the end of the world. It’s certainly true that it’s a major inconvenience, but thankfully, with a few common sense steps, there are some things we can do to mitigate any further headache. All Nations Insurance have a helpful article on what steps to follow, but the below steps are a good starting point.

Step 1 – Take Photos and Find Witnesses!

Most of the time, whether the person who caused the damage was aware or not, they will not leave details. Gone are the days of popping a note under the windscreen with an apology and a phone number. If the person has left their details or is still at the scene, then that’s a great start, as insurance details and agreements on the next steps can be arranged, amicably, on the spot. It’s important, however, to take photos of the accident ‘as is’ so that the circumstances can be confirmed later. Additionally, despite the other side’s possible admission of liability, if there are any witnesses, the best course of action is to canvass them and obtain statements wherever possible. That way, if negotiations go south later on, you have a back up plan. Wrapping your car instead of getting it resprayed when its damaged it a really effective cost effective way of fixing paint work. There are lots of different car styling options available to achieve this.

In all cases, if the accident has taken place in public, it’s worth contacting the business whose premises may have CCTV, or the local public body who may have caught the incident on camera. There are no real considerations to worry about; most of the time, CCTV operators will simply check if they have caught the incident on camera, and if they have, will allow you to retain the relevant footage. Becker Law have helpful information on what type of photos to take, how many, and what any photographs should ideally include.

Contact Your Insurance Provider!

In all cases, if it looks like things are going to have to be repaired professionally, get in touch with your insurance provider, and in all circumstances don’t refuse to hand your insurance details over if asked. Furthermore, always get the other person’s insurance provider details. There is no bigger shock than receiving a call from your provider stating you hadn’t reported the incident; regardless of blame, it can put your claim on the proverbial ‘back foot’ and makes claims more complicated.

Make Repairs Through An Approved Facility

Always ensure repairs are carried out through an accredited and approved insurance repair centre. Outside companies may be cheaper or claim to be affiliated, but claiming the money back later can be difficult to impossible. Furthermore, the repairs are not always to standard, and will nearly always not be covered under any kind of warranty. Whilst it may be a cheaper option, it will cost more in the long run. Superior Auto Institute provide training to their repair operatives to enure PDR training has been completed to the relevant professional standard, and this should be the base line for considering any place of business to repair a ‘ding’.

Is Your Car Ready for Winter? #TestYourTreads

I don’t know if it’s just me, but after a pretty mild Autumn, it feels as though winter has sneaked up on me out of nowhere! Christmas is less than a month away but we’ve only just started wearing proper winter coats and boots and I think this year has been the latest we’ve ever put our heating on too. Living in the countryside means that we have to do certain things to prep for winter; we’re off the grid for gas, so we have to make sure we’ve had a delivery of LPG to last us, and we also use a log burner for heat which means making sure our wood is well seasoned and checking whether we might need to have more delivered.

Obviously, living remotely means that our car is really important to us, too, as we’d be stranded without it, so there are a few things we check there like anti-freeze, low-temperature screen wash and also our tyres. TyrePlus is urging everyone to #TestYourTreads to remind them that tyres which are worn below the legal limit can be even more dangerous in the winter.

Their experts say “Tyres aren’t just those great big rubber things that carry you from A to B. They’re a lot more sensitive than they look which is why we want you to help us spread the message about the importance of giving your tyres the TLC they need. They might look tough (and indeed they are) but deep down, they need a fair bit of looking after. Unfortunately, there are still far too many people who think The 20p Test is something you might find at a fairground amusement arcade.”

“This handy little test actually requires you to pop a 20p coin in the grooves of the tyre and if the outer band of the coin is visible at any point, the treads are below the legal limit. Carrying out simple checks like this one on a regular basis will keep car safety in check, reduce damage to vehicles and help eliminate unnecessary road accidents.”

A lot of people take it for granted that if their MOT is up to date then their tyres MUST be legal but this isn’t always the case, so performing the test above could really help to keep you safe. Also, take a look at any advisories on your last MOT because if your tyres were worn close to the legal limit and noted on your test, there’s a good chance they need replacing.

Obviously, the risks of having unsafe tyres are potentially fatal, so I’m sure I don’t need to reiterate how important it is to check them. What are you waiting for? Check them NOW!

Car Travel with Baby: Priceless Pointers for Hitting the Road with a Little One

With some parents feeling scared or anxious about driving with their baby in the car, the thought of a road trip can be extremely daunting for some however, many parents have clearly risen above this initial fear. It is estimated parents drive an average of 27,000 miles just driving their kids around. Whilst this statistic includes driving teens, most parents become content with driving their babies and younger children around in the long-run.

But if you are still feeling a little apprehensive about a long drive with your baby, it’s totally normal! Every parent moves at their own pace and it’s no secret that accidents do happen on the roads. So if you’re looking for some top tips and extra reassurance for hitting the road with a little one, here are some important pointers to take on board!

Make sure you have enough space

Especially for long journeys that require hours, if not days, of driving, being comfortable and having the right amount of space is essential for both you and your baby. You’ll likely have luggage with you so make sure to pack efficiently instead of just throwing everything in at the last minute.

And, where your baby is concerned, you’ll probably have a plethora of diapers, wipes and changes of clothes that need space too – not to mention the car seat! The most obvious solution for this would be to invest in a large, family-friendly vehicle like the Dodge Journey which is ideal for long road trips.

But, if your current finances won’t stretch to a new car, make sure to take whatever space you have and don’t over-pack, as being uncomfortable and cramped for hours on end won’t be good for your baby (or you!). 

Take snacks

There’s nothing worse than a hungry child screaming in the backseat when you’ve got no food in the car (especially when you can’t just turn up the Saker Racing car speakers and drown them out!). And, as the driver, it’s vital that you keep your energy levels up as you don’t want to feel lethargic behind the wheel for safety reasons.

Make sure to pack plenty of snack options for both yourself and your child. If your child is too young to eat solid foods, ensure you have plenty of pre-prepared bottles ready to go as the last thing you want is to make your baby uncomfortably hungry just because you didn’t plan ahead.

Bring toys or blankets

Being stuck in a car for hours on end is likely to be somewhat distressing for your baby no matter how much you plan ahead. But, if you bring some of their favourite cuddly toys or soft blankets along, this will create a sense of familiarity for them and will likely calm them down if a tantrum arises.

Road trips can be stressful at the best of times, especially if you have a baby on board and have never driven long distances with them in the car before. But as long as you plan ahead and ensure everyone is as comfortable as possible, your journey won’t seem half as daunting!

A New Family Car for Us

It’s a sad fact that our old jalopy just isn’t going to cut the mustard for much longer. It’s 20 years old now and although it’s still working just fine, I’m not convinced it’ll go through the next MOT and there are lots of bits which seem to have just given up the ghost – the door lining is peeling off (although I DID use my new glue gun to mend it, which I was most pleased about!), the wiring has seen better days and the fumes that the exhaust blow out absolutely STINK! Our budget isn’t huge, although we might consider getting a car loan  to help us afford something a little better, but here are the things which will be the most important factors when choosing:

Safety

The main reason we have our current car is that it’s made by a manufacturer which is known to be super safe. Whenever we look at second-hand cars, we always check the safety rating and if it’s less than satisfactory then the model doesn’t make it onto our list.

Economy

As much as I’d probably have great fun driving around in some huge tank of a car, it’s really not an economically sound choice for us. We’re looking for something with a mid-sized engine, decent fuel consumption because I do a fair amount of miles, something which isn’t going to be in the higher Road Tax bracket and also a car which is cheap to fix if something goes wrong!

Size

Our current car is an estate, and while it’s been handy (like when my tumble drier broke in the middle of winter and I went and collected a replacement in the boot of the car!) to have the extra boot space, we probably don’t need it. More seats would come in handy though, so I suppose we’d consider a 7-seater, if there is such a thing as an economical 7-seater!

Comfort

One thing that can be said about our current car is that it’s pretty comfy. The seats are decent and the car feels like our little home from home. Before we had this car, we briefly had a little Fiesta which we drove to Liverpool in a few years ago and the seats were so uncomfortable that I was numb down one side by the time we got back!! I don’t expect Rolls Royce-level comfort but seats which don’t hurt my ass are pretty important.

Entertainment

I know that the girls would absolutely love a car with screens in the back of the headrests for them to watch on our journeys and we do spend a lot of time in the car so I certainly don’t begrudge them that. For me, a radio and decent speakers are super important – I’ve never liked driving in silence and I NEED to be able to listed to Pop Master on BBC Radio 2 every morning!

What family car do you have? Do you love it? Would you recommend it? Do leave me a comment below, all inspiration is more than welcome!

Upgrading Your Family Car for Less

family carAlthough we love our current car, the fact of the matter is it’s getting a little bit old now. It’s still running really well for now but we’d like to upgrade to something which gives us a bit more peace of mind in terms of reliability. However, we’re not in the market for a brand new vehicle at the moment, so I’ve been looking for ways that we can invest in a newer vehicle without breaking the bank. Here’s some of the things I’ve come up with:

Check What You’re Entitled To

Are any of your family members eligible for a motability car from Robins & Day? If so, you could possibly get a brand new car through a lease scheme for less than usual, especially if you look around for some good deals. Motability cars often roll tax, insurance and services into the cost so you’ll be saving money in the long run and there are often models available which don’t require a down-payment.

Go for an Unpopular Make

This one might sound bonkers but there are still brands of cars which people largely turn their noses up at and are therefore lower priced. Skoda, for instance, still have a weird stigma attached and yet they’re made by the same people as Volkswagen, which means you can pick up a decent quality car for less money.

Think About Size

Do you currently drive an MPV or estate car? If so, do you REALLY need the extra space and often lower fuel economy? Down SIZING your car often means that you can afford a slightly newer or better model.

Buy An Older Car

Okay, this might sound bonkers but bear with us here. The reason we have our current car is that the model is very safe and very reliable. Going for an older model meant that we were able to buy a car for the same budget as a slightly newer one but a higher spec and in good condition. Newer cars aren’t always better and by choosing a manufacturer with a reputation for quality, you can still get something decent.

Choose an Unpopular Colour

This one is absolutely INSANE to me, but it’s a fact that there are people out there who are STILL superstitious about cars of certain colours and that green vehicles still command lower resale prices than the exact same model of car in another colour. Break the mould, buy a green car and reap the rewards of shunning silly superstitions!

Getting A Second Car – What You Need To Know

If you’re ready to take the plunge and head back to work, you might be searching for jobs all over the place. Working from home doesn’t suit everyone, and it rarely pays enough. More importantly, you would benefit from a workplace pension and some paid annual leave! It’s difficult to find a job within walking distance of your home. After being out of work for a while, you may be just a one-car family at the moment. But now could be the time to invest in a second.

A second car will need to be insured and taxed in pretty much the same way as your other one. The trouble is, if they are both in your name, you can’t use your no-claims bonus on both. When a partner owns the other car, they are accumulating their own no-claims. But you may not have any. This makes insurance very expensive, so choose a small, second-hand car to reduce the costs.

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When you have a car that isn’t brand new, it’s important to have it serviced and maintained. This is in addition to your annual MOT. The best way to find a reputable garage for the odd fix is one of those ‘Click for quote’ websites that reviews mechanics. You don’t want to have a breakdown on the way to your brand new job! And if you’re driving the kids about at the weekend, you definitely want your car to be as safe as possible.

A second car will need to be parked overnight. You might keep it in the garage, on the driveway, or outside on the street. The insurance company will ask which it is. And your answer could cost you more on your premium. Make sure you have the right cover. If you’re commuting to work, the insurance company needs to know that. If you’re relying on this vehicle to get you to a new job, be sure to get the best level of cover you can afford.

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The cost of petrol and diesel has gone up a lot (again). Sadly, it will rise even higher thanks to Brexit. Try to choose a car that is cheap to run. Driving carefully can also reduce the amount of petrol you use. Avoid hard accelerations and using the air conditioning excessively. The best way to reduce the amount of fuel you use is to reduce the amount of driving you do. If you can use public transport to get to work, see if this works out cheaper over the year than buying another car.

Of course, the convenience of having a car at your disposal is great. You may have got used to walking the kids to preschool or nursery. Perhaps you became fitter too. But when that cold and wet weather comes in, chances are you’ll be glad you have a car. Turning up to work soaked and windswept isn’t a great look either. Having a second car in the family may be a little more expense each month, but it could also be the key to getting the job of your dreams.

 

Car Maintenance You Can Do Yourself

Car Maintenance You Can Do YourselfAnyone who knows me knows that I’m quite headstrong, which means that I don’t like deferring to other people if there’s something I can do myself. Sure, I ask for help with the bigger things which are beyond my skill-set but there’s plenty of things I do by myself, including certain areas of car maintenance. Youtube is a great source for videos on how to do things yourself and I thought I’d give you an insight into things I do myself, especially before an MOT!

Keeping Tyres Properly Inflated

If your tyres are under-inflated it can have various knock-on effects and can even have an effect on the fuel consumption of your car. Making sure they’re fully pumped up is something that can be done at home and it’s wise to get an air compressor bundle to make the whole process easier.

Changing Your Wiper Blades

Ensuring that your wiper blades fully clear your windscreen is really important from a safety point of view and is something they’re hot on during an MOT. Changing them yourself is surprisingly easy and most models of car have blades with just clip off and on. It’s very simple to do and will save you a labour cost if you take them to a garage.

Changing Bulbs

Bulbs are another area where you can possibly fail an MOT so checking them before you take your car in can save you money. Buying from a local autoparts store, bulbs will set you back under a couple of quid each but more unscrupulous garages will charge four or fives times what they pay for them wholesale.

Topping Up Fluids

Checking your oil is something that most people remember to do, but it’s important to keep your radiator, screen wash, brake fluid and power steering fluid topped up too. They’re all available to buy quite cheaply and checking a diagram of what’s going on under your bonnet will show you where each of them is supposed to go – just don’t get them mixed up!

Valeting

Believe me, as a mum to two messy kids who spends a lot of time in the car, I know how messy things can get and it’s always tempting to drop it off at a valeting centre and take yourself off for a cup of coffee, but doing it yourself can save you a bunch of money. Get the kids involved with washing and hoovering the interior and they might think twice before messing it all up again!

Do you do your own car maintenance or is this something that you’ll happily pay a little extra for someone else to do? Leave me a comment below!