QuickTips: Car importing

Despite recent changes in Europe and the UK there are still big savings to be made by importing your new car from Europe or Ireland.

If you use a reputable import agency the process should be as easy as buying a car from a franchised main dealer or any other garage.

Car Import Agencies can remove the hassle associated with importing your car, give helpful advice on new models etc. and complete or help you with all of the necessary paperwork with the DVLA and Customs & Excise.

Apart from the usual savings available agencies can often obtain fleet discounts to reduce prices even further.

Here’s More Info From DOT

This service will be of interest to individuals wishing to permanently import a car, motorcycle, or goods vehicle into the UK.  Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) exist for this subject and can be viewed by following this link: FAQ’s – Importing A Vehicle

In order to successfully register a vehicle in the UK, the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) needs to be sure that the vehicle in question is suitable for use on UK roads. Evidence of compliance can usually be provided in one of the following ways:

  • Vehicles that are less than 10 years old, designed and built for the European Union and being imported from another European member State can have a certificate issued by VCA under the Mutual Recognition Scheme (see below).
  • Vehicles that are less than 10 years old and are being imported from another market outside of the European Union – Japan, USA etc., will usually need to have passed a Single Vehicle Approval (SVA) Inspection.  This scheme is managed by our sister Agency VOSA, and more details can be found by following this link: Link to www.gov.uk (registering an Imported vehicle) (page opens in a new browser window)

  • Low Volume / Small Series Type Approval is a third option open to manufacturers and some vehicle importers.  For more information on this subject please follow this link to our main Car Type Approval page: Type Approval for Cars

The Mutual Recognition Process

The Mutual Recognition process (which is also sometimes known as the Commission Notice Procedure) requires that the person seeking to register the vehicle makes a number of declarations about the suitability of the vehicle for use on UK roads, and provides evidence of any alterations made to the vehicle.  Alterations may be necessary to ensure compliance with the UK Construction and Use legislation, and the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations.

Following receipt of all necessary paperwork and the appropriate administration fee, VCA will issue a certificate that can be presented to the Driver Vehicle Licensing Authority in support of the request for UK registration.

A list of the requirements, procedures involved and necessary forms can be found on thewww.gov.uk website – section entitled: A guide to the Mutual Recognition scheme (page opens in a new browser window).

For cars

Application Form with guidance:

For Motorcycles

Application Form with guidance:

For Goods Vehicles

Application Forms with guidance:

For Vans / Light Goods Vehicles

Application Forms with guidance:

For Motorhomes

Application Form with guidance:

Payment

Link to our Payment Form: Adobe Acrobat PDF document Payment Form (PDF 625.3KB)

Please note that VCA is not able to offer an “over-the-counter” service. For security reasons, unannounced visitors will not be admitted into the building.

If you would like to check that your vehicle qualifies for treatment under the Mutual Recognition scheme, please contact a member of our team on +44 (0) 117 9524191.  Otherwise contact details can be found within each of the above documents.

Note that VCA also offer service to manufacturers and importers who plan to take vehicles into the United States. Details about this service can be found here.

Financing Your Car Purchase, The Pros and Cons

Choosing a method of car finance can be as confusing as choosing a car itself.

Just as there are many makes, models and specifications to pick between when opting for your vehicle of choice, there are many methods of car finance which each present their own strengths and weaknesses.

Why you should plan ahead and budget.

The most important factor when deciding on a method of car finance is to plan ahead. Make sure you research the topic (as you are doing here!) and think carefully about which car finance option suits your circumstances. Consider what you can comfortably afford each month, and how much you can afford to pay in the long term. Look at all options when choosing car finance – choose the option that is right for you.

Also try and save money wherever you can – shop around for the best deals, consider buying a new car online and familiarise yourself with the value of the vehicle you’re purchasing.

What are the different methods of car financing available?

There are many car finance options available to you – broadly these are buying the car outright; hire purchase; personal (car loan); car leasing and personal contract plans. The following sections examine each method and their pros and cons.

Buying the car outright: pros and cons.

If you have plenty of money to spare, buying outright is the most cost effective option as there are no interest payments – you simply pay for the value of the car.

Advantages of buying a car outright…

  • No interest to be paid.
  • You own the vehicle immediately.

Disadvantages of buying a car outright…

  • Involves a large sum of money leaving your account at one time.
  • No long-term security.

Hire purchase: pros and cons.

For most this is the traditional way of financing a car. It’s often arranged through a dealer but you can approach car finance companies directly if you wish. In effect you are hiring a car with a right to buy – you do not own the vehicle until every repayment is made.

Hire purchase advantages…

  • The car is yours at the end of the term.
  • Rates and minimum deposits are generally low.
  • Total interest should be low and may be negotiable.
  • You can end the agreement voluntarily and settle any balance remaining on your agreement.

Hire purchase disadvantages…

  • If you don’t keep up repayments your car may be repossessed.
  • Hire purchase rates can be higher than the leading personal loan rates.
  • Monthly payments will be higher than leasing or PCP.

Personal loans: pros and cons.

You approach a bank or a loan provider for a car loan. You then take that cash to the dealer and buy the car outright. Your repayments are made to the loan company. Remember to shop around for a good loan rate.

Personal loan advantages…

  • The loan is not secured on the car so you can sell whenever you like.
  • Total amount of interest to pay is low compared to other options.

Personal loan disadvantages…

  • Don’t assume it is a cheaper option than hire purchase – some dealers make commission by selling loans and so they might offer better deals.
  • Monthly payments can be high, especially if you have a less than excellent credit rating.

Car leasing: pros and cons

With this method of car finance you pay a monthly sum over (usually) a two-four year period and at the end of the agreement you simply hand the car back in. You never own the car though some leasing companies will give you the option to buy at the end of the term.

Car leasing advantages…

  • Great for those who want a new car every few years.
  • Monthly payments are generally low and there is nothing to pay at the end.
  • Generally only a small deposit is required.

Car leasing disadvantages…

  • The car is never yours – though some leasing companies will give you the option to buy.
  • The long-term cost of leasing will exceed that of buying if the owner keeps his vehicle for years after the loan end.
  • You will be given a mileage limit and will be charged for exceeding it.

Personal contract plans: pros and cons

Personal contract plans (or PCP), is a similar process to hire purchase but you don’t buy the car at the end of the term. Instead the manufacturer/dealer works out how much the car will be worth at the end of the term and you pay off the difference, plus interest. At the end of the term you can buy the car outright, walk away or use the difference as a deposit on your next car.

Personal contract plans advantages…

  • Low monthly payments.
  • Maintenance charges are often included.
  • If the car is worth more than the predicted value you can sell it on; if it’s worth less you can hand it back to the car finance company.

Personal contract plans disadvantages…

  • You will be given a mileage limit and must stick to it if you want to return the vehicle at the end of term.
  • At the end of the term you do not own the car unless you are willing to pay the balloon payment or take on another loan.
  • Chance of a negative equity is higher than with other loans.

What other factors should you be aware of?

Always remember to ask for the ‘total amount payable’. This is the total cost to acquire the car after all interest payments and additional fees are included.

Also be aware of additional charges – such as administration and documentation fees that can be used to bump up a car finance company’s profits.

Look out for special offers too – such as 0% finance. Though on the surface this appears to be the most cost effective way of buying a car, there are often conditions attached such as paying up to a 50% deposit or paying off the loan within one year.

Finally, be wary of taking on more than you can afford. It is not a good idea to extend your mortgage to finance a car as you will pay far more in the long term. Always think about what you can comfortably manage on your budget.

Where should you go to finance a new car?

gauk Motors is one of the busiest motoring web sites in the UK and enables user to look at offers from brokers, main dealers and car supermarkets. You can look at the car financing options and cars available online at your leisure.

15 QuickTips: Buying a Quality Used Car

Buying a quality used car can be difficult unless you know what to look for.

Many people only look at the selling price and see a bargain, indeed this can be very tempting but you could in fact be putting you and your family at risk.

You should make sure the car has had a full check and seek professional advice to avoid getting a dud deal.

Below are some tips on finding a good and safe bargain:

  • Make sure that when looking at the selling price you also take into account any work that may need done, insurance and tax. Do some price research beforehand
  • Do not look at a car at night as it can look completely different and you may miss many faults.
  • Check all documentation thoroughly, such as the MOT certification and make sure they are up to date and detail the cars history. Make sure the owner also has valid insurance.
  • Make sure you see the V5 vehicle registration as this will ensure that you know who the owner is. Many people sell on behalf of others so you need to meet the real owner.
  • Make sure the car comes with the keys that were originally issued as these can often be very expensive to replace.
  • Always test drive the car before you purchase to ensure you like the way it feels and that it works properly.
  • Look for any traces of a DIY repair job; check for markings of spray paint, replaced door panels or tailgate.
  • Keep an eye out for damage to the underneath of the cars seats, seats can be expensive to replace.
  • Do not give the seller any money until you have finalised all arrangements such as a scheduled delivery or collection and any work to the car that has been agreed to be fixed.
  • Do not be bullied into buying a car and if you feel unsatisfied by what is on offer then remember that you are perfectly within your rights to walk away.
  • Be sure to check the warranty before signing anything to ensure you know what is and is not covered and to make sure it will not cost you any extra.
  • You can also attend auctions to buy a used car but make sure you do not get too carried away with the excitement of bidding. Set yourself a budget and stick to it.
  • Always read the terms and conditions of any sale that you may commit to.
  • When possible, take someone that has some experience/knowledge on buying used cars.
  • Always fully test the car as soon as possible after buying.

Never, Ever Get Shafted When Buying a Used Car… What the Criminals Don’t Want You to Know!

See our Motoring Guides for comprehensive advice on buying a used car

Car Thieves Targeting Family Cars

It’s fifthly, slightly scratched and incredibly messy inside (thanks to your kids) but your family car is actually more appealing to thieves than you think.

A recent survey has shown that car thieves are changing their habits and targeting your average family car instead of the prestige vehicles such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes. It’s all down to the recession.

The struggling economy has caused car buyers to tighten their belts and search out a bargain, pushing car thieves to adjust their targets. It now appears that lower value cars are just as valuable to the car thieves as the fancy sports cars, including your battered Vauxhall Meriva.

How can you protect yourself?

Luckily, advances in car security have made new cars harder to steal than ever but crime figures are still on the rise. Theft by the stealing of car keys is up to 80% and more and more car thieves are resulting to burglaries, car-jackings and muggings just to get their hands on your car keys. Scary stuff!

Many owners are now investing in a GPS vehicle tracking system to protect their vehicle. If your car is stolen, GPS technology pinpoints the exact location of your vehicle, allowing the 24 hour operating centre to liaise with Police, Security and Recovery services.

Some car security systems even arrange for a security guard to wait with your vehicle until recovery can be arranged.

It does appear that some things never change however, with the BMW X5 remaining as the most commonly stolen car. London and Greater London also remain as the hot spots for car theft with Essex and Greater Manchester following closely behind.

Make sure you’ve locked the car door!  

Top 10 Car Problems

Problems from frustrated drivers railing against dodgy dealers, greedy governments and capricious councils. Here are the most common complaints.

Buyers’ rights after purchasing a car

Consumers have the same basic rights against any dealer retailing a car for about £2,000 upwards. Unless you are forewarned and buy on that basis, any significant faults that occur within six months of purchase are deemed to have been developing on the day of purchase, thereby rendering the car of “unsatisfactory quality” and are the responsibility of the dealer to repair. You can either return the car to the dealer to fix it, get a refund, or agree to part fund a repair if that is “reasonable” – what you can’t do is simply have it fixed elsewhere and send the dealer the bill. If dealers deny any knowledge of consumer protection law, it begs the question why they should be allowed to trade. It stands to reason that you cannot reasonably expect 10-year-old bangers selling for a fraction of their original price to be completely fault-free, therefore there is an arbitrary £2,000 figure.

The state of the roads

The general state of roads, together with the proliferation of speed humps and speed cushions, is a campaign issue called Cash (the Campaign Against Speed Humps). Not only do speed humps, and particularly speed cushions, damage vehicle tyres, suspension and engines (through grounding of their sumps), a constant pounding from vehicles also destroys the substructure of the roads. That’s why you see subsidence and potholes in and around speed humps. Money that should have been spent on road maintenance was diverted by the previous government into “traffic-calming measures” that have damaged the roads, increasing the maintenance bill. A speed cushion with a pothole in it is a metaphor for the state in which the previous administration left the country.

Insurance disputes

These are split into three:

  • Protected No-Claims Discounts (for which policyholders pay a premium) don’t amount to much when, even after a “no fault” claim, they find their premium has escalated because they are then judged to be an increased insurance risk.
  • Valuation disputes occur when insurers write off a car that could easily be repaired and pay the owner a settlement that is inadequate to replace the car like for like, only for the owner later to see his written-off car fully repaired and for sale. One garage even had bailiffs threaten to obtain the spare keys from the previous owner of a repaired write-off that was supposedly scrapped.
  • Credit Hire expenses are where an “accident management specialist” takes over a claim, puts the injured party in an equivalent hire car for the duration of the repair, then delays the repair to extend the period of the hire. A repair cost of £4,000 and a hire car cost of £9,000 are typical where, if the insurer had anticipated the hire car bill, it would have written off the car in the first place. Never sign any document that leaves you liable for hire costs if the other party’s insurer (rightly) refuses to pay. The worst examples have been hire car bills of £29,000 and £40,000 – sums that could have bought the hire cars outright.

Repair disputes

Most garages and all franchises are now members of www.motorcodes.co.uk under which garages subscribe to a set of standards of service and repair and agree to a conciliation and arbitration process over customer disputes. However, thousands of garages remain non-subscribers to Motor Codes, so disputes over repairs to increasingly complex vehicle engines, transmissions and emissions systems are escalating, often forcing car owners to take to the small claims track at the county courts.

Parking disputes

A legacy of our departed administration is Penalty Culture, by which means the nasty process of fining people for minor breaches of petty rules. This has extended to demands of £50 to £100 penalties for overstaying the allotted or paid for time in private car parks, including those at motorway service areas where we are urged by Government to “take a break”. The car park operator uses an exemption from the Data Protection Act to buy the car owner’s details from the DVLA and then hits them with an official-looking “fine”.

However, all the operator can legally do is sue the car driver for a breach of the contract by which he parked, and if such cases ever go to court the concept of “reasonable” compensation for the breach of contract comes into play. A court is unlikely to affirm that £100 is “reasonable” compensation for overstaying a two-hour motorway service area limit by 10 minutes. Like you or I, it is more likely to consider this totally outrageous. Some people who have received a penalty notice from a private parking operator have sent a cheque for £5 to £10, together with a letter stating that they consider that amount to be “reasonable” compensation for the minor breach of contract and if the parking operator considers it to be “unreasonable” they will see them in court.

Fuel economy not as promised by EC certification

Because car taxation is CO2-based, the race has been on to lower certified emissions. All kinds of tricks are applied to achieve the lowest possible CO2 in tests conducted by the manufacturers themselves. You would be delighted to be able to buy cars with low annual CO2 tax or free of tax altogether but are less enamoured with the consequent certified average fuel economy from the lab tests, which many of them find completely impossible to achieve (or even get close). Telegraph Motoring publishes the EU Urban fuel consumption figures wherever possible these provide a more realistic guide to what you might achieve in everyday driving.

ESP failures

An Electronic Stability Program (ESP) is now being legislated into every car by EC Directive for “safety reasons”. Unfortunately, failure of valves inside ESP modules is rife from about four years old. When this happens, VW prescribes a complete new module costing about £1,500, but will partially contribute depending on the age, mileage and history of the car. BMW offers a fix costing about £500. Audi, Seat, Skoda, Volvo and Mazda have different policies. A British company, ECU Testing, offers a fix that is claimed to eliminate the fundamental problem. VOSA refuses to issue a vehicle safety recall because it holds the view that drivers are adequately warned of the failure of a system that is supposed to compensate for their lack of skill and save their lives.

Choked diesel particulate filters (DPFs)

Another brilliant EC Directive (EU5) has led to the fitting of particle filters to diesel cars to trap unburned hydrocarbon particulates on start-up, then burn them off safely later in the car’s journey. There are various ways of persuading the filter to do this but few are compatible with the use of a diesel car to drive short distances from cold starts. Because there is then no “later” in these cars’ journeys, the particulates are not burned off and eventually choke the filter. Worse still, where particulate regeneration is achieved by injecting additional fuel to the engine, but the filter is choked, this fuel dribbles down the bores into the sump, raising the sump level to the point where an engine can start running on its own sump oil and, being a compression ignition engine, becomes impossible to stop. More recent DPFs work better.

Unintentional acceleration of automatics

“My car ran away with me,” is a plaintive cry attempting to transfer blame from the driver to the manufacturer. “Out-of-control” automatics kill between 10 and 120 people a year in Britain which is why it is recommended drivers use their left foot to brake. If drivers are taught that the only way to drive an automatic is with the right foot operating both accelerator pedal and brake, problems are inevitable. The accelerator pedal and automatic “creep” cannot be relied upon to finely control the speed of an automatic car, especially in a confined space. A sudden surge can move the car several metres, and a panic misjudgment (when the driver hits the accelerator instead of the brake) can result in catastrophe. This was recently put to the test in a scientifically controlled and observed wet braking exercise at ADAC in Germany. Right-foot braking, the car could be stopped from 80kph to 10kph in a best of 32 metres. Using left-foot braking, the figures ranged from 25.6 to 28 metres.

Rust warranties

In the Nineties, Mercedes-Benz’s management decided that it was over-engineering its cars, previously claimed to be “engineered like no other”. Accountants cut costs and Mercedes went for volume, introducing models such as the A-class and getting involved with Smart. They also introduced a “30-Year Mobilo Warranty”, which many buyers took to mean that the bodywork of their Mercedes would be warranted against corrosion for 30 years. Unfortunately, the cost-cutting meant that Mercedes cars built between about 1996 and about 2004 have a fairly shocking propensity to rust. To limit the damage (to its balance sheet), Mercedes seems to have decided to limit its “no perforation” body warranty to eight years. It will repair fully and correctly serviced Mercedes up to eight years old. After that, judging by feedback from readers, owners might find they have a problem.

Honest John

13 Financial Concerns to consider When Buying A Car

Different financial aspects that you should consider when buying a car.

Some of them you may be aware of already, others may be completely new to you. All should be taken into account though when you arrive on a forecourt, to ensure you’re not stung at a later date.

  1. How will you finance the purchase? PCP? Personal loan?
  2. Deposit – if you can put down more, quite often you can negotiate a greater discount on the car.
  3. Petrol or Diesel? If you’re buying new, diesel engines tend to cost more, but you’ll recoup that if you do a lot of miles by having a greater MPG.
  4. Depreciation – if you are buying new, do you mind taking the hit? Why not look at a car a few years old, which could save you the greatest part of the depreciation.
  5. Miles per gallon is the usual old performance vs economy debate that comes into play when considering miles per gallon. However, this is becoming less of a factor as cars are now using smaller engines which return greater fuel economy and better performance but you may need to pay more to get one of those newer cars!
  6. Insurance group – how much is the car going to cost you to get insured? If it’s a cheap vehicle, could you afford to go third party, fire and theft only?
  7. Find out which insurance group the car falls in to. If in doubt, call up a few insurers, they’ll be able to give you a free quotation and you could find yourself getting a lower premium than expected
  8. Servicing for some cars is notoriously expensive. How often is another factor. Some highly tuned engines need serviced more than others. Get an idea of servicing costs from the local branded garage as well as an independent specialist.
  9. Parts – how readily available are they? Are they much more than you’re used to paying? For example tyres for a BMW3 can give you a shock particularly when you’ve been used to a smaller hatchback.
  10. Known faults issues in vehicles that are out of warranty can be expensive to repair. Check out Parkers, VOSA and other sources to see if the type of car you’re buying has anything apparent. It may not happen to yours but if it does you’re better off knowing it’s a possibility beforehand.
  11. Tax bands are now quite wide these days. Are you prepared to pay more for a vehicle that emits CO2? If so, make sure you get the performance to match.
  12. Hidden costs (such as a car that drinks a lot of oil) should also be thought of but often aren’t revealed until you take a look at specialist/enthusiast sites.
  13. Hidden history – does the vehicle have outstanding finance, is it stolen or has it been in an accident? Any one of these factors could have a massive impact and if not disclosed could lead you to all manner of heartbreak.

Your car is a huge purchase so be a more aware consumer and bear all these things in mind. Go in fully aware of at least some of these points when looking at a new car.

A Guide To Car Loans And Finance Deals

Cars are expensive purchases and when you’re looking at a gleaming new set of wheels, you can quite easily get emotionally involved in the purchase. This is why it’s so important to know what type of finance or loan will best suit your needs prior to visiting the forecourts.

*Please note options do change so keep an eye on special offers, etc.

Personal Loans

Perhaps the simplest option is to go for a personal loan from a bank. APR (Annual Percentage Rate) can vary, but essentially the way this works is the interest you pay on the amount you borrow.

These are normally to a maximum value of £25,000 and over a ten year repayment period. One thing to note is that your credit status can dictate the maximum value you can borrow along with the APR itself.

A better credit rating means you’re more likely to have to pay less in the long run as there is less risk for the loan provider.

Check the APT as this makes a huge difference.

Secured Loan

This type of loan is secured against a property so you’d need property to secure it against. A longer repayment period and a higher maximum value can be borrowed with this type of loan but obviously comes with the risk that you property could be repossessed by the bank should you default on the loan! Not really worth risking your home for an expensive car.

Car Finance

Generally speaking, when you go to buy a new or used car, the dealer will either have their own credit provider or be linked with an established company. When a dealer offers you credit, look over all of the paperwork very carefully. You may find it a good deal, or alternatively choose to arrange a loan through your own bank, depending on what sort of APR is being offered.

PCP

PCP (or Personal Contract Purchase) is an alternative way to buy a car. It’s actually a good way to get a higher priced vehicle but at a cost. Simply put, PCP can be better for some people as it includes road tax, sometimes maintenance too and comes with fixed monthly payments that are quite often lower than other forms of finance.

The drawback comes from the fact that once you paid off the initial period, there’s a balloon payment at the end, called an ‘optional final payment’. It’s at this point that you can hand the car back, pay off the money and keep the car or use it as a deposit on a new vehicle.

The choice is entirely yours. Overall, PCP tends to come with lower monthly costs associated but a higher total payable when the optional final payment is taken into consideration.

Fees To Consider

When organising a loan, sometimes you’ll find there are ‘hidden’ costs. A good car dealer if being arranged on the day of purchase, should discuss with you all of the options and where additional costs are accrued on the loan.

Here’s a breakdown of some of those additional costs when arranging finance:

  • Application fee: A fee that is charged when applying for the loan
  • Arrangement fee: Normally added to the cost of the loan when your credit has been checked and agreed
  • Courier fee: Depending on what is required, some companies will charge a courier fee.
  • CHAPS fee: Clearing House Automated Payment Service – a way to transfer money from one bank to another, quite often in a single day.
  • Early settlement fee: Some companies charge if you settle the loan early, as it means they won’t be getting the full interest. This tends to be based around the amount of interest remaining so depends on the value of the loan
  • Optional final payment: Should you choose the option of PCP, the optional final payment is the lump sum you pay at the end in order to keep the car

Other things to consider

Understanding Car Loan Interest Rates

When purchasing a car, unless it is brand new, it is recommended to run a vehicle data check. It’s fairly cheap to do could well help you spot a bad buy.

Consider putting down a larger deposit. This will reduce your monthly repayments when it comes to your loan, which can be very useful.

Perhaps most importantly when considering finance, choose the right car for you. Remember that you are getting into debt for what could be a significant amount of money so it is important that you’re happy with your purchase.

Should the worst happen and you fall behind on your payments, do not panic. Talk to the loan provider, they may be able to arrange something to help you. Alternatively, seek financial advice from a specialist, your bank and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

One thing almost everyone does at some time in their life is take out a loan to buy a car. While everyone wants an attractive low interest rate few people know the factors used to determine the rate they receive. For the institution financing any loan comes down to a simple question: What is the likelihood default? The method used to determine the likelihood of default is made up of many variables; some are within your control and some are not.

Within your control is the first determining factor your credit score. Your credit score is basically your payment history on other debt converted into a number. This number represents what kind of risk based on your payment history it is to loan you money. The second is your debt to income ratio. To understand this ratio you must add together your pre-tax income from all sources and multiply it by 36 percent. This 36 percent is the amount of money you have to pay your monthly debt. From that total you must subtract all of your current monthly debt payments such as rent or mortgage, credit card payments, and other loan payments. The amount left over is what you have available to pay a car loan. The higher the loan takes you to the threshold of that 36 percent the higher a risk you are.

Other factors you control are the car you choose and how long you will take to pay the loan back. Used car loans have a higher interest rate than new car loans. Used cars are more likely to have owners throw up their hands and walk away because of problems with the vehicle. Often people stretch out the payments on vehicles they cannot really afford to fit within their debt to income ratio. Longer loan terms increase your interest rate because being under burdensome debt becomes exhausting and many people just give up. The longer you have to pay for something the more likely you are to default.

Affecting interest rates outside your control is the prime lending rate set by banks. The prime rate represents the lowest interest rate offered for a type and length of the loan. Any conditions other than optimal on your part drive the rate up from there. Although each bank sets its own prime rate they all follow the Federal Reserve rate, after all a bank cannot loan you money for less than they are borrowing it for. Fortunately, the current trends of the Federal Reserve rate with car loans following is to keep interest rates low and loans fairly easy to secure. Loan rates have dropped and remained constantly low for the last couple of years and by all indications will remain low through the rest of 2013 and beyond.

If you are not able to secure the rate you wish understand that most car loans are simple interest loans. Simple interest is calculated using only the amount of principal owed each day. This means you benefit greatly and reduce the total amount of interest you pay over the life of the loan by making any additional contribution towards the principal. If you intend to make additional contributions towards the principal and paying the loan off early be sure to ask if there is any prepayment penalty.

Top tips for Using Your Car for Holidays

Be prepared when setting off for summer holidays by car. 

Whether you are planning on driving to Europe for a continental break or staying in the UK there's a wide variety of things to consider.

With less people flying there are a greater number of people on the roads that are unfamiliar with certain areas and the varying laws across Europe. It is extremely important that drivers realise the necessity to ensure their car has been completely checked before setting off on a long journey. There is nothing more frustrating than breaking down with a car full of luggage and the whole family onboard excited to get to their destination.

Be Prepared

  • Always prepare your car before leaving on a long journey. Check: tyres / brakes / windscreen wash / lights / oil / water levels
  • Ensure you have adequate car breakdown cover and the emergency number with you

In case of Breakdown 

Hopefully, good planning will help ensure that nothing goes wrong but in case it does, here are some useful guidelines to follow in the event of a breakdown:

  • Breaking down on the side of the road can be extremely hazardous. Consider you own safety first – if possible get your vehicle off the road and ensure all passengers are safe
  • Place a warning triangle at a suitable distance prior to the scene and switch on your hazard lights
  • If you are on a motorway switch on your hazard lights and pull onto the hard shoulder as far as possible and turn your wheels away from the road
  • Wear a reflective jacket or tabard – it is now illegal in some countries not to wear one
  • Call for assistance. The emergency telephone number in EU countries is 112
  • If it’s warm and you wish to leave the car, exit with extreme caution on the side of the car away from the traffic

A Few Top Tips For Travelling In Europe

  • You must take copies of your vehicle registration document, your MOT certificate and your insurance certificate (but do not leave them in the car)
  • Check all the family’s passports and your driver’s license to make sure they are valid
  • Make sure you have appropriate travel insurance
  • Look for the best commission-free currency deals and remember that cash machines can be few and far between in remote regions of Europe

The UK’s First Fatal Car Accident

Bridget Driscoll, circled, in a family photograph was said to be bewildered by the car’s approach

Almost 4,000 people are killed on the world’s roads every day, according to the campaigning charity RoadPeace which is marking National Road Victim Month. So who was the UK’s first fatal car accident victim – exactly 114 years ago – and what happened?

There was little more than a handful of petrol cars in Britain when labourer’s wife Bridget Driscoll, 44, took a trip to the Crystal Palace, south-east London, on 17 August 1896.

So she could be forgiven for being bewildered by Arthur Edsall’s imported Roger-Benz which was part of a motoring exhibition taking place as she attended a Catholic League of the Cross fete with her 16-year-old daughter, May, and a friend.

As the Times recalled 70 years later, when giving mention to a memorial service for Mrs Driscoll at her local church, hers was the misfortune of becoming the UK’s first traffic fatality.

“At the inquest, Florence Ashmore, a domestic servant, gave evidence that the car went at a ‘tremendous pace’, like a fire engine – ‘as fast as a good horse could gallop’,” it read.

“The driver, working for the Anglo-French Motor Co, said that he was doing 4mph when he killed Mrs Driscoll and that he had rung his bell and shouted.”

The car’s maximum speed, the inquest heard, was 8mph but its speed had been deliberately limited.

One of Mr Edsell’s two passengers during the exhibition ride, Ellen Standing, told the inquest she heard the driver shout “stand back” and then the car swerved – giving her a “peculiar sensation”, according to a contemporary edition of Autocar.

Mrs Driscoll had hesitated in front of the car and seemed “bewildered” before being hit, the inquest heard.

Three of the German-manufactured, French-assembled cars were being demonstrated at the Dolphin Terrace, an area at the back of the palace, according to an edition of local paper the Norwood News published on 22 August 1896.

It reported May Driscoll as claiming the driver “did not seem to understand what he was doing” and that he had zig-zagged towards them.

“The car then swerved off, and [the] witness looked to see where it was, and it was then going over her mother. (Here witness broke down.) Her mother was knocked down, and the car was at once pulled up,” the paper reported, in rather equine terms.

‘No outrage’

However, there were conflicting reports about the speed and manner of Mr Edsall’s driving and the jury returned an accidental death verdict.

He had been driving only three weeks at the time and – with no licence requirement – had been given no instruction as to which side of the road to keep to.

The Croydon Chronicle quoted one witness as saying “the machines made a great noise” but that he did not think it would drown out the tinkling of the alarm bell.

The era’s matter-of-fact newspaper reports give no hint of public outrage or hysteria at the new menace.

Melvyn Harrison, of historical group the Crystal Palace Foundation, says people would have been simply bemused at the sight of these “horseless carriages”.

“It was such a rare animal to be on the roads and, for her to be killed, people would have thought the story was made up,” he says.

And as Jerry Savage, local history librarian at Upper Norwood Library, notes: “The Victorians had no real sense of health and safety. They would just sort of accept the death as what they would call a horrible tragedy.”

Nonetheless, the National Motor Museum’s libraries officer Patrick Collins admits there was “quite a lot of anti-car feeling” in the UK at the time.

“A lot of people didn’t want drivers running around the country scaring horses,” he explains, adding that there were fewer than 20 petrol cars in Britain at the time.

This was reflected in the rules of the road at the time. To the frustration of early drivers, the nation’s first cars were subject to strict safety laws which had been designed for steam locomotives weighing up to 12 tonnes.

Red flags

Each vehicle was expected to have a team of three in control; the driver, the fireman – to stoke the engine – and the flagman, whose job was to walk 60 yards in front waving a red flag to warn horse-drawn traffic of the machine’s approach.

The flag requirement was ditched in 1865 and the walking distance reduced to 20 yards, although speed limits of 2mph in towns and 4mph in the country remained in place.

Mrs Driscoll died just a few weeks after a new Parliamentary act – designed for the new and lighter petrol, electricity and steam-driven cars – raised the speed limit to 14mph, while the flagman role was scrapped altogether.

The coroner told her inquest that he hoped hers would be the last death in this sort of accident.

Little did he know how times would change over the following century, with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents estimating more than 550,000 people have been killed on Britain’s roads since then.

Everything you need to know about Statutory Off Road Notification SORN

If you’re the registered keeper of a vehicle that’s not being taxed and is kept off the road you must make a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification).

You can do this online, by phone, at a Post Office® branch or when you apply for a refund of vehicle tax. You should receive your acknowledgement letter within four weeks. If you do not receive this please contact DVLA.

You can make a SORN:

Online

Use the reference number shown on your registration certificate, V11 or V85/1 reminder form and declare your vehicle off road.

https://www.taxdisc.direct.gov.uk/EvlPortalApp/

By phone

Call 0300 123 4321 – use the reference number shown on your registration certificate or V11 reminder form.

At a Post Office® branch with your V11 reminder

Use the V11 reminder in person at any Post Office® branch that issues tax discs or by post to the address shown on the reminder form.

With your V85/1 ‘HGV reminder’
You can take or send your V85/1 reminder to a DVLA local office.

By post without a reminder

Fill in the application form V890 ‘Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN)’ and post to DVLA, Swansea SA99 1AR.

The V890 form is also available from any Post Office® branch that issues tax discs.

When applying for a refund
If you are applying for a refund of vehicle tax because you are keeping the vehicle off the road you must make a SORN on the refund application form.

In advance – SORN or vehicle tax due to expire while you’re abroad

You can make a SORN up to two calendar months in advance. The vehicle must remain in Great Britain. Complete a V890 ‘Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN)’ together with a letter explaining why you’re applying so far in advance and post them to DVLA, Swansea SA99 1AR.

Alternatively, you can make a SORN online or by phone at the time it’s due or get someone to post your SORN application to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR on your behalf while you’re abroad.

Buying a vehicle that has a SORN
If you buy a vehicle that already has a SORN made by the previous keeper, that SORN will come to an end on the date you buy the vehicle. You must make a new SORN if you are keeping the vehicle untaxed off the public road. You cannot transfer a SORN.

Not yet registered as the vehicle keeper
If the vehicle isn’t already registered in your name, you must submit the registration certificate (your details completed in section six) with a completed V890 SORN application form. If you don’t have the certificate, you must complete Form V62 ‘Application for a Registration Certificate (V5C)’ instead.

The V62 form is also available from any Post Office® branch.

How to tax if your vehicle has a SORN
If you are putting the vehicle back on the road, you can tax your vehicle at any time using your V5C registration certificate. You can do this online, by phone, at the Post Office® or at a DVLA local office

What happens next
DVLA should send you a letter confirming your SORN. If you don’t receive the letter after four weeks of making SORN, you should contact DVLA customer enquiries immediately on 0300 790 6802 (if you have made a SORN in advance you should wait 4 weeks after the expiry of previous tax or SORN).

REGISTER YOUR VEHICLE AS OFF THE ROAD :: SORN

 

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