Top seasonal car repairs revealed

What are the most common seasonal car repairs?

Top seasonal car repairs revealedEven with diligent automotive maintenance, mechanical failures happen. According to a recent report released by online car repair scheduling service YourMechanic.com, “Eventually something will break. It is less a matter of if, but when.”

The best way to avoid costly repairs and inconvenient breakdowns is, of course, following the recommended maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual. Issues can be spotted during service before they become catastrophes.

Wheeler Dealers: all the cars from the 2018 season

But the time of year also weighs heavily on cars.

Different seasons can stress different systems, or make a problem more noticeable. For example, constant use of air conditioning during warm summer months might reveal a compressor problem. In fall, problems with the heating system may become apparent.

Top seasonal car repairs revealed

YourMechanic has now identified the problems most likely to rear their heads at any time of year. It’s done this by keeping monthly track of the larger pool of repair quotes, rather than less frequent repair bookings.

Let’s take a closer look by season.

Fall

Top Seasonal Repairs in Fall

After a summer filled with road trips and outdoor adventure, suspension repairs top the list in fall. AAA found that 79 percent of respondents polled took their vacations on the road, helping to explain the result.

Heater problems sneak into the top five rankings as folks fire up the furnace on the first frosty mornings, only to discover the pilot’s gone out.

Window problems appear along with distributor and timing cover gasket issues, likely caused by the wear and tear of summer driving.

Winter

Top Seasonal Repairs in Winter

The icy teeth of winter dictate heavy reliance on the heater and, unsurprisingly, that passenger comfort mainstay tops the list of winter repairs.

Headlights and windshield wipers are in near-constant use, adding stress to bulbs and systems needed for visibility.

Interestingly, lines for oil coolers and washer fluid fail. When the temperature drops, fluids thicken and place increased stress on these parts.

Spring

Top Seasonal Repairs in Spring

Springs lightly turns one’s fancy to thoughts of fresh air, and finally rolling the windows down after a long dark winter can sometimes reveal that they will no longer roll up again.

Pothole season can inflict damage on otherwise robust wheel sensors, and many drivers want the peace of mind of knowing their suspension and braking systems survived the cold season and are ready for summer trips.

Timing chains seem to prefer to be changed in spring, perhaps as a result of increased dust and grit being ingested by the engine.

Summer

Top Seasonal Repairs in Summer

Summer heat stresses the very systems designed to keep us and the car cool. Air conditioning failures top the repair list, followed by the fan used to keep the engine cool and the clutch used to engage it.Window problems persist as we roll them up and down in an attempt to find the perfect balance of breeze and climate control.

Timing chain repair drops a place on the list, but increased mileage and trip planning necessitate maintenance.

Aston Martin Gaydon manufacturing

Brits bought 35% fewer British-built cars in July

Aston Martin Gaydon manufacturingLatest UK car manufacturing data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows a dramatic 35 percent decline in the amount of British-built cars purchased by Brits in July 2018.

Export figures slipped slightly too, by 4.2 percent, resulting in an 11 percent drop in British-built cars in July.

The SMMT blames model changes and preparation for the upcoming new WLTP fuel economy regulations.

As for the UK decline, the SMMT points to “a particularly strong July in 2017”. This time last year, several new model introductions saw monthly figures grow by 17.7 percent. 

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes also warned people not to be too alarmed by the July figures. “While the industry is undoubtedly feeling the effects of recent uncertainty in the domestic market, drawing long term conclusions from monthly snapshots requires a health warning.

“The bigger picture is complex and month by month fluctuations are inevitable as manufacturers manage product cycles, operational changes and the delicate balance of supply and demand from market to market.”

The decline in Brits buying home-built cars is still striking though: the July total fell to less than 20,000 cars, compared with exports of over 101,000 models. 

Exports now make up 84 percent of overall British car production, with more than 8 in 10 going to Europe.

Because of this, Hawes sounded another warning to UK politicians. “To ensure future growth, we need political and economic clarity at home, and the continuation of beneficial trading arrangements with the EU and other key markets.”

Year to date, just under 1 million cars have been built in Britain, a 4.4 percent decline over this time last year.

The UK car industry, added the SMMT, “remains broadly on track to meet 2018 expectations”. 

EV power

Will electric cars outsell diesel by 2020?

EV power

It will only be a matter of time before electric cars comprise a significant proportion of the new car marketplace. How long that would take has been very much up for debate… but one organisation has conducted a survey – and the surprising findings suggests the time may come sooner than you think.

Leasing company Leasing Options quizzed 2,000 people, who said they expect electric cars will outsell previously dominant diesel-powered cars by as soon as 2020. 

Yes, 2020, for EVs (full EVs, no less, rather than electrified plug-in hybrids) to outsell diesel cars. Seems remarkable, no?

Of course, the sudden fall from grace of diesel, rather than exponential growth in EVs, is a major factor in the predictions: SMMT new car registration data is, month after month, proving damning for oil-burners.

An overall new diesel car sales slump of 37.2 percent last year isn’t helped by the fact that manufacturers have been swift in slashing diesel-powered options, in some cases to nought.

Meanwhile, government policy and support of Alternative Fuel Vehicles, including buyer incentives, have supercharged AFV uptake in recent months and years. Pure EV sales increased 5.7 percent last year; AFV sales, including hybrids and plug-in hybrids, increased almost 35 percent.

The survey also quizzed drivers to find out where buyers’ faith and loyalties lie. Once again, it doesn’t look good for diesel. Around half said they believe diesel is actually a danger to the environment, while 56 percent said they were less likely to buy diesel than they were five years ago.

Diesel power

EVs still have some way to go in terms of public opinion, however, with over half of those surveyed suggesting they don’t know enough about them.

A whopping 63 percent fear EVs are too expensive for them, and good old range anxiety rears its head, with almost three in four worrying about the charging network.

Nevertheless, half of those surveyed still said they’d consider electric power if it was demonstrably as convenient and as cheap as fossil fuels. Over half suggested they’d buy into EVs as and when they became the norm.

Based on this survey, it seems that both the decline of diesel, and the rise of EVs, will be all but exponential going forward.

Read more: 

Golf Mk1

New E10 petrol could damage thousands of older cars

Golf Mk1 engines not compatible with new petrol

A new ‘E10’ blend of petrol arrives on UK forecourts soon – but could damage thousands of older cars. E10 contains a 10 percent mix of biofuel, compared with five percent in current 95 RON E5 petrol. 

The RAC Foundation has highlighted that by June 2020, as many as 634,000 cars not compatible with the new fuel could still be on the road.

Vehicles on that list include bona fide classics like the Morris Minor and MGB, but also many we still consider contemporary, such as Volkswagen Golfs, Nissan Micras and Mazda MX-5s. These, among others, join the 868,000 cars still on the road as of June 2017 that are incompatible with the new petrol.

The rollout of biofuel into petrol supplies is part of the targets set under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO).

Early MX-5 engines not compatible with new petrol

Should owners of older cars be worried?

Panic not, early MX-5 owners. The government is still in consultation about how best to roll out E10 onto forecourts. A Department for Transport consultation proposes that any large retailer selling E10 petrol should also stock ‘normal’ E5 for the time being.

It’s feared by ministers that, without the obligation, vendors will only stock marked-up ‘Super’ grade E5 petrol. The goal is to avoid backing less wealthy motorists into a financial corner – i.e. not being able to afford a newer car, or the fuel to put in their older car.

“As and when E10 appears on the forecourts, drivers need to know whether their cars can use it without being damaged” said Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation.

“The good news is both that the vast majority of cars on our roads are able to run on E10 and that Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has recognised the need to protect the users of those older vehicles that are not E10 compatible.”

Read more: 

Vespa Elettrica

The famous Vespa scooter is going electric

Vespa ElettricaVespa has been making scooters since 1946 and is arguably the world’s most famous manufacturer of iconic urban motorcycles. 

Now, it’s taking the retro machine into the 21st century with the launch of a zero-emissions, all-electric scooter called the Vespa Elettrica. 

Boasting a range of 62 miles and better performance than the 50cc petrol-powered alternative, Piaggio, makers of the Vespa scooter, says it’s tailor-made for urban riding. 

Vespa Elettrica

What’s more, with a remarkable torque figure of 147lb ft, it has pulling power the equal of a 125hp Ford Fiesta 1.0-litre Ecoboost, giving “brilliant” response and acceleration away from the line.

When riders slow down, it recharges the battery – Vespa’s calling it an F1-style KERS system, but really it’s just a regular battery-electric regen function.

Because the scooter is so lightweight, it can get away with using a tiny 4.2 kW lithium ion battery. Even using a regular domestic socket, the charge time is four hours: it will be faster still with higher-capacity public chargers. 

Vespa says the battery should remain in peak condition for 1,000 full charging cycles, which equates to around 43,000 miles or 10 years of use. Even then, it will still have 80 percent of its capacity remaining. 

The battery is located beneath the helmet compartment, so the Vespa Elettrica can still swallow a helmet safely when parked up.

Vespa Elettrica X

Vespa Elettrica

That’s not all. If you do need more range, the firm’s revealed a range-extender scooter, called the Vespa Elettrica X.

This combines a tiny petrol-powered generator, a three-litre fuel tank and a smaller battery pack: it will do 31 miles under full electric drive, then another 93 miles with the generator, giving a total range of almost 125 miles.

It’s “ideal for out of town riding,” says Vespa.

Both scooters come with a 4.3-inch TFT colour display, including a multimedia system that connects to smartphones. Vespa’s also developed a smartphone app that riders can use to see incoming calls and messages within the display.

The new Vespa Elettrica scooter range will go in sale in October, initially in Italy, before expanding to Europe. Sales will then expand to North America and Asia from early 2019.

Prices? Still to be confirmed. But don’t expect a retro price tag for this all-electric Vespa scooter…

Sonic 7

Sonic Seven is a pint-sized Lotus for keen young drivers

Sonic 7

Ever feel bad that the kids miss out on all your motoring fun? Well, worry no more: Sonic Seven cars has you covered. And if you think this diminutive cart bears an uncanny resemblance to the Lotus Seven – and more recent Caterham Seven – you’re not far wrong.

The Sonic Seven, in the words of the company itself, “is the opportunity for your child to own a scaled-down version of the iconic Lotus Seven”.

Sonic 7

What about power? Will your little ones be out of puff from peddling? Absolutely not, with 100cc of 5.5hp single-cylinder Honda petrol engine, the Sonic 7 can reach up to 30mph. You can also limit it to less, if you so desire.

It’s a serious bit of kit, too, with four-point harnesses to keep the driver safely strapped in. And it’s adaptable, thanks to an adjustable pedal box that accounts for growing legs. It should fit children from 5-12 years old.

We don’t have a road test booked in yet, or indeed anyone on staff that could fit…

Read more: 

Jaguar I-Pace

Most Brits will wait almost 10 YEARS before buying an electric car

Jaguar I-PaceThe emphasis on the transition to alternative fuel vehicles is intense. With diesel all but circling the drain, and talk of the 2040 combustion engine ban in the air, we all have to ask ourselves when we’ll take the leap into an electric car.

For many of us, that moment isn’t going to arrive any time soon.

That’s according to research conducted by Auto Trader. It found that drivers say they plan to wait an average of nine years before buying an electric car.

The research also discovered that motorists fall on both sides of the fence as to whether that 2040 ban is a good thing. While 20 percent were undecided, the remainder of the sample was evenly split in favour and against.

However, shockingly, nearly three quarters were not aware of the government assistance packages for buyers of electric cars and hybrids, such as the money-saving Plug-in Car Grant.

As for the recently-released Road to Zero report, over a third think it’s unrealistic to expect 50 percent of new cars sold to be electric by 2030.

The perceived price premiums, and what is seen as the inadequacy of the charging infrastructure, are why only one in four drivers would consider an EV or a hybrid for their next car.

i3

So what’s needed to convert buyers? In short, awareness, education, incentive and reassurance. We need to know what’s available, know that it’s viable and have good reasons to buy over what we’re used to.

The UK’s charging infrastrucutre needs to be improved, and confusing electric car terminology eliminated. 

“There’s no doubt that electric vehicles are the future,” said Auto Trader editorial director Erin Baker.

“However, our research indicates that there are still significant barriers to adoption, with greater investment in infrastructure and technology needed.

“It’s also crucial that car manufacturers and the government alike ensure that language to describe electric cars is clear and accessible, rather than laden with technological jargon that consumers may find alienating.”

Read more: 

Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer

Aston Martin confirms stock market IPO

Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy PalmerAston Martin has confirmed its intention to launch an initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange.

News of its intention to float comes as the British sports car firm announces an 8 percent rise in revenues and a 14 percent increase in profit.

Aston Martin to reveal £5 billion IPO stock market float

“Today’s announcement represents a key milestone in the history of the company,” said Dr. Andy Palmer, president and CEO of Aston Martin Lagonda (pictured above).

Aston Martin DB4 GT Continuation

Aston Martin, he said, has “the resources and balance sheet strength to continue delivering on our growth strategy. Today’s results show we have continued to deliver sustainable growth, margins and value for our shareholders”.

It’s the perfect time to announce plans for an IPO, believes the firm.

Dr. Palmer’s business strategy is called the Second Century plan. Since launching it in 2015, the firm “has been transformed into a luxury business focused on creating the world’s most beautiful high-performance cars.

“Our strategy is being implemented by an experienced management team that launched breakthrough new models, increased our brand value and built important partnerships in the luxury sector.”

Medium-term plans include boosting the company’s profit margin to more than 20 percent.

Aston Martin DBS Superleggera

The potential Aston Martin IPO will offer eligible employees and customers the opportunity to buy shares at the offer price. Daimler AG, which currently holds a stake of 4.9 percent in the firm, will remain as a shareholder.

Around 25 percent of the company is expected to float – and it’s predicted the company could be valued at up to £5 billion.

A full prospectus will be published on 20 September.

 

Renault Arkana show car

Renault Arkana SUV coupe revealed – but it’s NOT for us

Renault Arkana show carLike the idea of a value-priced four-door crossover coupe derived from the well-received new Dacia Duster? Well, you’re in luck, with the reveal of the new Renault Arkana show car at the Russia Motor Show… but only if you’re Russian.

Yes, Renault’s debuting a stylish new crossover coupe, but then denying it to Europe. Rather, this is a treat to Russians, who buy enough Groupe Renault vehicles to make it the firm’s second-largest global market. 

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Revealing the Arkana is part of Renault’s plans to make Russia number 1. 

Renault Arkana show car

So what is the Renault Arkana? A saloon crossed with an SUV; it’s a car “for sedan lovers who have SUV aspirations,” says Renault. The ride height is raised, the lower body is tough and chunky 19-inch alloys are standard. 

Higher up, says Renault SVP of design Lauren Van Den Ackers, “we have dialled in specific Renault cues, with a strong design, strength and sensuality with a French twist”. 

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Befitting of its status as Renault’s new range-topper in Russia, the Arkana has liberal use of chrome, full LED headlights and a panoramic glass roof. 

Renault Arkana show car

It’s also getting a brand new engine for the Russian market, although the firm isn’t yet ready to tell us what that is. It is, however, happy to confirm the Arkana comes with all-wheel drive, for Russia’s “harsh driving and weather conditions”. 

Apparently, the idea for the Arkana came from Renault Russia, and the team there played a close role in designing it at the firm’s French HQ. But then, as Groupe Renault claims almost a 30 percent market share in Russia, they do pack a bit of clout…

A UK spokesman has already ruled out Arkana for the UK and added “there are no plans to sell it in Europe”. There are, however, plans to take it global, first with Asia, where Renault will adapt this show car and also locally assemble it.

Renault Arkana show car

Which, crossover coupe fans, suggests there could still be hope. If you’re really set on saving a fortune on a BMW X6 and buying an Arkana instead, get lobbying your local Renault dealer

 

Custom Rolls-Royce for Google Exec Ben Treynor Sloss

OK Google, build me a bespoke Rolls-Royce Dawn

Custom Rolls-Royce for Google Exec Ben Treynor Sloss

Asking the Google Assistant on your Android smartphone to deliver you a one-off Rolls-Royce sadly only works if you happen to be Vice President of Engineering at the Silicon Valley firm.

After 15 years at the tech giant, being responsible for Site Reliability Engineering amongst other tasks, Benjamin Treynor Sloss is no stranger to expensive cars.

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In 2012 he purchased a $1.78million Ferrari 599XX at a charity auction, and has even shared photos of his cars adorned with bread to prove they were actually his.

However, there should be no doubts about who owns the special Rolls-Royce Dawn presented to Mr. Sloss at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance event.

Personally commissioned by Sloss, the Dawn Black Badge was built in collaboration with the Bespoke Collective at the Rolls-Royce factory in Goodwood, England.

With wife Christine already owning a Rolls-Royce Dawn, Treynor Sloss knew he needed to make a big effort in order to stand out. Enter the brand-new bespoke ‘Superflare’ yellow paintwork, intended to replicate the Californian sun under which the Dawn will be driven.

The bright yellow is tempered with another unique hue – Pikes Peak Blue, named after the legendary hill climb course in Colorado. Mr. Sloss is said to be a big fan of the annual Pikes Peak event, even if an open-top Rolls-Royce might not be the most obvious of vehicles to tackle it in.

Eye-searing Superflare yellow even adorns the 21-inch alloy wheels, and also continues inside. Yellow piping is used on the dark blue leather seats, whilst the steering wheel and blue piano wood dashboard trim feature yellow detailing.

With a love for Italian racing machinery, the use of blue and yellow for the Sloss’ Rolls-Royce was inspired by the livery used on the Ferrari racers owned by the couple. In fact the Rolls-Royce should match perfectly with a garage said to include multiple LaFerrari models, and a track-only Ferrari FXX K, all finished in yellow.

Rolls-Royce has previously used the Pebble Beach event to unveil bespoke creations. Last year, car collector Michael Fux was presented with a Rolls-Royce Dawn, featuring a unique fuschia paint finish named Fuxia.