Why student drivers need to lighten the load to stay safe

student drivers packing for university

Highways England is highlighting the issue of students overloading their cars on their move to university. This, as freshers’ season gets into full swing. 

The government agency surveyed 1,400 students to discover their plans for the journey to uni. The results were revealing. Sixty percent of students would carry on driving even if they knew their car was overloaded. Likewise, 70 percent said that they’ve driven while tired.

The company is urging students to make sure their car is ready for the journey and to ensure they’re in a good state to drive. 

student drivers packing for university

“We want everyone to get to their destination safely and we can all play a part in that,” said Richard Leonard, head of road safety at Highways England.

“We know that this is an incredibly exciting time for students with many leaving home for the first time. 

“Our traffic officers are there to help get things moving if there’s a problem. But we’d urge all students to make sure they load their car correctly before setting off as they could be endangering themselves and other road users.”

Student drivers: a guide to packing your car for uni

student drivers packing for university

Here’s a brief guide on how to load your car for the journey to uni. We’d say the advice applies to everyone, not just students.

Pack according to weight

Pack the heavy stuff down low and the lighter stuff higher up. It helps the weight balance of the car, and means the heavy stuff will be more secure. It’ll also prevent your heavy things from damaging your more delicate posessions.

Secure the load

As best you can, using straps or even seatbelts, secure things you think may fly around, especially if they’ve some weight to them. You don’t want projectiles hurtling round your cabin.

‘Car Tetris’

Think of packing your car as a big game of Tetris, and you’ll pack efficiently and safely. Smaller stuff can go behind the front seats on the floor, secured by the folded rear seats. Flat heavy stuff should go low down. Boxes can be packed in together nice and tight if you do it right. Vacuum pack your soft stuff – it could save you a lot of space.

Pack and drive legally

Most important is to drive legally. Make sure your car isn’t overweight, that your mirrors aren’t obstructed, that it’s packed safely and that you’re properly insured.

student drivers packing for university

“It’s really important that students check their car over before setting off,” said Birmingham City University student Shelby Thomas, in support of Highways England.

“If they’re unsure of something then get a parent or experienced person to check the car. It’s important that it’s fit to drive.  

“I do worry about overloading the car but after speaking with Highways England traffic officer Kelly Rudge, I’m much more aware of how to do it safely and the dangers of not getting it right. Now, if I need to transport lots of items, I’ll check the handbook to make sure the weight is okay, or I’ll get someone experienced to tell me if I have put too much in the car. If I need to do more than one journey, I’d rather do that than cram it all into the car and risk causing a problem.”

Beating Brexit: supercar maker secures £20 million export deal

BAC Mono beats Brexit with export deal

Briggs Automotive Company (BAC), which builds the single-seat Mono supercar, is proving there might just be life beyond the EU. The company has secured £20 million of export business to Hong Kong and the United States.

The deal was done with help from the Department of International Trade. In America, the company signed agreements with two dealers: Manhattan Motorcars in New York and Tactical Fleet in Dallas.

In Hong Kong, an existing contract was renegotiated with the region’s distributor. The news comes after the launch of the new, more powerful Mono R in July.

BAC to the USA

Mono beats Brexit with export deal

“These new export wins are a sign of how far we’ve come as a business in recent years and the immense work we’re doing with exports,” said Neill Briggs, director of product development at BAC.

“Our solid export strategy, fantastic team ethic, exemplary product and – of course – invaluable support from the DIT means we have the ultimate recipe for success overseas. We will continue to strive to put British manufacturing on the map for the foreseeable future.”

BAC Mono beats Brexit with export deal

“I’m absolutely delighted that DIT has helped BAC to hit the accelerator on its exports,” said Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss MP.

“This is a wonderful example of a UK company that is putting manufacturing and innovation from the Northern Powerhouse on the map.

BAC Mono beats Brexit with export deal

“The UK’s heritage in automotive and motorsports is a huge asset, and my department is working to shift our exports up a gear in this exciting and fast moving industry.”

Revealed: the most popular supercars on Instagram

Most popular supercars on Instagram In the market for a fast car and keen to make a name for yourself? Join us as we count down the 15 most hashtagged exotics on Instagram, as collated by MoneySuperMarket. These are the supercars for the social media savvy.

15. Ferrari F430 – 425,628 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

The F430 is getting on a bit in supercar terms, but the allure of the Ferrari badge hasn’t faded. We like the manual gearbox option, too. Even though it ceased production more than 10 years ago, the F430 is ranked 15th among supercars on Instagram.

14. Pagani Huayra – 456,781 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

The relatively unloved sequel to the Zonda, we’re surprised the Huayra beats the original Pagani onto this list. At its reveal in 2011, this multi-million-pound boutique beast was the must-have hypercar, with the likes of Kanye West getting behind the wheel. Once the Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche hybrids came out a couple of years later, though, they rather stole the Huayra’s thunder.

13. Ford GT – 458,001 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

The Ford GT still seems like the supercar of the moment, four years on from its reveal. Such is its rarity, and the folklore around how you qualify to buy one. It’s also arguably the only true ‘race car for the road’ on sale today – and looks incredible, too. It packs more presence than cars twice its price.

12. Lamborghini Murcielago – 483,561 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

Like the F430, this is a bit of an ageing warrior. But like the Diablo and Countach before it, the Murcielago was the poster car for a generation. That happens to be the Instagram generation, so it stands to reason that the Murcielago holds some Insta-weight.

11. Ferrari 488 GTB – 635,589 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

This mid-engined V8 prancing horse has only just been put out to pasture. As such, in the minds of many casual observers scrolling through Instagram posts, this is the latest and greatest. A strong presence on social media for the GTB seems guaranteed for years to come.

10. Bugatti Chiron – 663,093 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

This is unequivocally the hypercar of the moment. Owning a Bugatti Chiron tells anyone and everyone that you’ve made it. The most recent variant also tells people that, should you wish and given a straight enough stretch of road you could top 300mph.

9. Bugatti Veyron – 821,706 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

Capable of 300mph it may be, but the Chiron can’t escape the shadow of its predecessor: the epochal Bugatti Veyron. The original speed king for the new millennium, it outscores its successor on Instagram.

8. Honda NSX – 1,033,656 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

The hybrid Honda from Japan does better still, online at least. With more than one million hashtags, there is a palpable buzz surrounding this electrified exotic.

7. Ferrari LaFerrari – 1,040,383 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

Ferrari makes a triumphant return as we near the top of the list. The LaFerrari is still the jewel in the Italian marque’s crown. However, we wonder if that screaming V12 does as much for its Instagram presence as the fact Justin Bieber is a fan.

6. McLaren P1 – 1,088,026 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

Perhaps more legendary than the car itself was the rivalry the LaFerrari had with close contemporaries. It found a worthy foe in McLaren’s shrink-wrapped, aero-obsessed and electrified P1. Like its F1 ancestor, it cemented itself as one of the hypercar greats.

5. Lamborghini Gallardo – 1,246,387 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

One of the most public automotive rivalries couldn’t topple the people’s Lamborghini. The Gallardo showed us what a mass-produced raging bull could look like. When production ended in 2013, more than 14,000 had been built. At the time, that was as many Gallardos as all the other Lamborghinis ever made.

4. Ferrari 458 Italia – 1,577,067 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

Ferrari’s 458 is another supercar for the social media age. It performed like few others, dropped jaws with its looks and buckled knees with its noise. It’s surely part of the reason for the strict rules on how people drive their supercars in London.

3. Lamborghini Huracan – 2,454,737 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

We’ve come a long way from the Murcielago, and the F430 that started this list. With its monstrous V10 engine, the Huracan took the Gallardo’s mass appeal and modernised it. It opens the top three most Instagrammed supercars, breaking the two million mark.

2. Audi R8 – 3,101,951 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

Its comparatively reserved German sibling meanwhile, ups the ante to more than three million. It just goes to show that style trumps flamboyance and that a familiar badge goes a long way. The R8 is perhaps the least exotic supercar on this list, but it finishes in second place, above Bugattis and a Pagani.

1. Lamborghini Aventador – 3,309,068 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

Nonetheless, it can’t quite topple the Aventador: the king of supercars on Instagram. Not a single summer’s night goes by without central London streets echoing to the sound of an Aventador on the rev limiter, with all phone cameras aimed squarely in its direction.

Are these the ultimate esports gaming chairs?

Nissan GT-R Nismo gaming chair

Nissan has designed what it claims could be the “ultimate esports gaming chairs”. 

For now, they’re just sketches, but that’s rather fitting for an industry focused on virtual reality. If you’re a gamer, you can decide whether or not these chairs have legs.

Nissan says it has applied “model-specific technologies and conveniences” into the chair concepts, drawing inspiration from the American market Armada SUV, GT-R Nismo and Leaf.

There are no plans to put them into production, but if you bombard Nissan’s U.S. Twitter account with tweets, the company might change its mind.

Nissan Armada gaming chair

Maybe we’re getting old, because we rather like the look of the Armada gaming chair. It’s looks like the kind of chair we could use for work, let alone spending a few hours tackling online gamers on Gran Turismo.

The captain’s chair is finished in black and brown leather and is climate-controlled for heating and cooling. It also features lumbar support for additional comfort.

Meanwhile, the GT-R Nismo seat looks a little more hardcore. It’s constructed from lightweight carbon fibre and aluminium and finished in red leather and synthetic suede.

Finally, the Leaf chair features gunmetal painted surfaces, light grey leather seats, USB charging ports and integrated leg rests.

Nissan Leaf gaming chair

There’s apparently no truth in the rumour that a fourth seat inspired by the Nissan Note was rejected. The gaming chair was fitted with a beaded seat cover and a pocket for a packet of Werther’s Original sweets. Probably.

Nissan says that its chairs offer a unique blend of aesthetic and comfort, ensuring they “pique the interest of gamers across the globe”.

Do you like what you see? Be sure to let Nissan know.

Saudi oil attacks: are fuel costs about to skyrocket?

fuel price rises saudi attacks

The attacks on Saudi oil facilities and the subsequent reaction in the oil markets are raising concerns over where price of fuel will go. More specifically, are prices about to increase?

The attacks are reported to have knocked out over half of the country’s crude oil output. The result was a 20 percent price jump, to over $57 a barrel. This is the biggest percentage increase in three decades.

“In the oil universe, this attack is perhaps equivalent to the 9/11 attacks,” said Tilak Doshi, a representative from oil and gas consultants Muse, Stancil and Co.

fuel price rises saudi attacks

“Abqaiq is easily the world’s single most important oil production and processing infrastructure site.”

Saudi oil attacks: how will it affect UK fuel costs?

The RAC has addressed what the attacks mean on UK soil. “There was an inevitable initial panic-driven surge in the oil price on Monday morning, but the situation then cooled,” said RAC spokesperson, Simon Williams.

“While the wholesale prices of both petrol and diesel look set to increase by 3p a litre, this doesn’t necessarily mean higher prices at the pumps because retailers only just began to pass on overdue wholesale price savings at the end of last week. At that point the 128p forecourt price of petrol was 7p too high which means retailers should have a cushion to absorb the spike.”

fuel price rises saudi attacks

In short, UK fuel suppliers are in arrears with the consumer. That’s to say, there should be savings to come before the prices at the pumps reflect the events overseas. Or, at the very least, the price shouldn’t fly like many are predicting. Not in the short term, anyway. Williams continues:

“If the barrel price remains high for a sustained period however, it could easily lead to several pence a litre being added to the average price of both fuels. Even after Friday’s 3p supermarket cut petrol is still averaging 127.77p and diesel 131.26p.”

Oil supply disruption: is there a plan B?

fuel price rises saudi attacks

“We are hopeful the fact the US is releasing emergency oil stocks and that Saudi Arabia operates a global storage network will mean that drivers here in the UK will not be too harshly affected.”

As above, oil operations on this kind of scale are global. This specific attack shouldn’t leave UK drivers pinching pennies at the pumps. It will be in the interests of all to soften the blow on consumers.

The ultimate classic Ferrari number plate is up for sale

Ferrari 250 S plate for sale

Do you own a classic Ferrari 250? Are you looking for the perfect personalised number plate? Your luck might be in, as the UK’s DVLA is about to put ‘250 S’ up for sale. It will hit the block tomorrow at the 17 September autumn auction.

The reserve is £2,500, which might seem like a lot for registration plate, but hold up. A similar plate, ’25 O’, bought for a 250 Short Wheelbase, became the highest-priced personal plate sold by the DVLA in 2014, hammering for £400,000.

Ferrari 250 S plate for sale

The chances are, however, that if you’re the recent purchaser of a Ferrari 250, £400,000 isn’t going to seem like an awful lot. The potential with this new plate is huge – even the DVLA isn’t sure how high it will go.

“While we have high expectations for every one of our 1,250 lots on offer, there’s no question the personalised registration ‘250 S’ could be of particular significance for those collectors of ultra-rare Ferraris out there. As for its value, we cannot predict what it will fetch.” 

Ferrari 250 S plate for sale

Getting into specifics, the 250 S is the first of many 250-badged Ferraris built in the 50s and 60s. It first raced at the 1952 Mille Miglia and then at Le Mans. The name ‘250’ came from the size of the engine, divided by the number of cylinders. In this case, it’s a 3.0-litre 12-cylinder, so that’s 3,000cc divided by 12 – 250.

There are a couple of other Ferrari-themed plates up for grabs, too. Got a 488 Pista or F8 Tributo that’s missing a little somethng? Fear not. ‘P115 TAA’ and ‘T218 UTO’ are available. They’re a bit more attainable, each with £250 price tags. They, along with ‘250 S’ will be among some 1,250 plates up for sale.

Land Rover Classic 1948 restoration

Original 1948 motor show Land Rover brought back to life

Land Rover Classic 1948 restoration

The car that introduced Land Rover to the world has been brought back to life. The 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show star has been off the road since the 1960s and lost for decades before it was found in 2016. But Land Rover has now treated this historic vehicle to a ‘sympathetic restoration’.

Land Rover was determined to keep the car original, as seen in 1948, with left-hand drive, a prototype brake setup and alternative all-wheel-drive controls.

It was stripped back to its individual components and each part was restored and reused if possible, to maintain maximum originality.

Restoring a classic Land Rover

Series 1 1948 restoration

“It was important to strike the right balance when restoring the launch Land Rover,” said Calum McKechnie, head of Land Rover Classic.

“While there was a need to replace some parts, we were keen to keep as much of the original vehicle as possible in order to retain the unique characteristics of this 70-year-old model. The team has done an incredible job and the end result is a testament to the unique expertise and tireless passion of the experts at our Classic Works facility.”

So while the front axle, for example, was found to be in a respectable condition, the rear axle wasn’t so clean. To get a feel for the axle’s condition on the inside, the team X-rayed it. They concluded it was strong enough to be restored and reinstalled, rather than replaced.

Series 1 1948 restoration

The ‘organ stop’ controls for the all-wheel-drive system were also saved. It’s a rare setup that was replaced with a simpler system on production cars. 

Even more difficult for the technicians was reproducing this prototype’s unique rear brake setup. It had been removed in a previous life, so they used period drawings to recreate it.

On a technical level, this Series 1 has been brought back to its 1948 Motor Show standard. As a ‘show car’, however, it’s been left a little more rough around the edges. Land Rover wanted to maintain a period patina.

Land Rover Classic 1948 restoration

Some new bodywork was required. Alloy panels, as fitted to early prototype Series 1s, were re-manufactured in the 2mm-thick original specification. These were then painted and aged, to match the worn original panels that didn’t need work.

Technical illustrations helped Land Rover stay true to other quirks. A combination of reference photographs, diagrams and study of other pre-production Series 1s helped the marque recreate this prototype as it was in 1948. 

The restored show car debuted on the Land Rover Classic stand at the Goodwood Revival, just days after the long-awaited reveal of the new Defender.

Land Rover Classic 1948 restoration

“Bringing this historically important Land Rover back to life was a huge challenge, given its wear, tear and decay from the elements since the 1960s, but also a real pleasure,” said Michael Bishop, Land Rover Classic build engineer.

“Being able to open up our archive and revisit the original Land Rover engineering programme from over 70 years ago was a great privilege for the whole team.”

Electric cars will simply be called ‘cars’ by 2030

The normalisation of electric cars

Just 3,147 all-electric cars were registered in the UK last month, giving EVs a relatively small 3.4 percent market share.

As a result, they tend to be referred to as ‘electric cars’, to distinguish them from their petrol and diesel equivalents.

But as the market grows and electric cars become the norm, will we stop using the ‘electric’ tag and adopt a more generalised approach? See also ‘smartphones’ and ‘phones’.

New research suggests that by the year 2030, consumers expect ‘electric cars’ to be referred to as ‘cars’, as electrification takes over and traditional engines are cast aside.

Go Ultra Low spoke to 2,000 people aged 18 and over, with 69 percent of the respondents expecting to drop the ‘electric’ tag in just over a decade.

It makes sense: few consumers use the ‘diesel’ or ‘petrol’ tags when discussing cars, so electric cars are almost certain to follow suit. 

The sales figures speak for themselves. In August 2018, a mere 659 all-electric cars were registered, far fewer than the 3,125 plug-in hybrid registrations.

A year later, the roles have reversed, with plug-in hybrid registrations dropping to 907 in August 2019 and EVs rising to 3,147.

The normalisation of EVs

Electric cars at Frankfurt IAA

Almost half of the respondents who took part in the survey said the visibility of electric cars on the road is a key factor in the normalisation of the technology. 

Around a third said seeing their friends and families adopting the technology is part of the process of normalisation.

A quarter of those surveyed said a wider variety of models would increase their purchase consideration. We’re on the cusp of a boom in the number of new electric cars, ranging from affordable city cars to expensive supercars.

The fact that the electric versions of the Peugeot 208 and Vauxhall Corsa look almost identical to the petrol and diesel versions could be a turning point for the segment.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen is reporting huge interest in the new ID.3, which has the potential to become the ‘new Golf’ in terms of mass appeal and sales.

‘EVs to be the norm’

Electric cars at Frankfurt IAA

Go Ultra Low ambassador Ben Fogle said: “It’s really encouraging to see that people expect EVs to be the norm in just over a decade. Our research shows that as we become more aware of the benefits of owning an electric car, the choice of models available and the rapidly growing charging infrastructure, people are more likely to consider going green and buy an EV.

“Commenting on joining the campaign, Ben added: “More and more people are embracing electric vehicles, but there’s still a job to be done. I’m excited to be on this journey with Go Ultra Low and playing my part in supporting this transition.”

Poppy Welch, head of Go Ultra Low, added: “When we look at the EV market, it is clear we’re on the way towards electric mobility becoming part of everyday life for UK motorists. Electric cars are great to drive, can be very cheap to run and help improve local air quality.

“With, prices moving closer to that of their petrol or diesel counterparts, an expanding chargepoint network and an increasing number of models available, there has never been a better time to consider an EV as your next car.

“As we welcome Ben as our ambassador and a host of new members to the campaign, bringing together government and key players across the EV industry, we’re now better placed than ever to tell the full story of electric car ownership.”

In August, Jaguar launched a campaign to redefine the word ‘car’.

The best money-saving motoring secrets

Money-saving motoring secrets

Are your motoring costs going through the roof? Some of the following tips will save you many pounds, others just a few pennies, but they all add up. If owning and running a car is proving to be expensive, read on for some ideas on how to reduce your costs.

Ditch the diesel and buy a petrol car

Money-saving motoring secrets

Diesel is no longer a guaranteed way to save money. For starters, diesel cars cost more than petrol cars – on a supermini-sized car, the premium can be 10 percent or more. Diesel will cost you more at the pumps, and while they usually give better economy, efficient new petrol engines are catching up. Unless your annual mileage is very high, you should stick to petrol.

Check your tyre pressures

Money-saving motoring secrets

This simple check can save you plenty. Sure, it might cost you 50p or £1 to check your pressures at a petrol station, but the savings soon add up: tyres underinflated by 15psi – a difference you may not notice from a visual glance – can use six percent more fuel. That’s the difference between averaging 40mpg and 42mpg.

Find cheaper fuel

Money-saving motoring secrets

Use a website like Petrolprices.com to find the cheapest fuel in your area. The difference can be huge, adding up to many pennies per litre. Be warned: driving out of your way to pick up cheap fuel is a false economy, which becomes even more negligible the less economical your car. Never fill up at a motorway services unless you’re desperate for fuel – the costs can be astronomical.

Share your car

Money-saving motoring secrets

Do you need to drive? Could you car share instead? You don’t even need to know someone going in the same direction: services such as BlaBlaCar bring trusted carpooling to everyone. Simply enter where you are and where you want to go, and the service will search for available rides. You can even add your own car to the service.

Empty your boot

Money-saving motoring secrets

Don’t carry unnecessary weight around with you. A boot full of junk means you’re using extra fuel for nothing. Emptying it out will give small savings that will add up the more you drive, particularly if your motoring is mainly stop-start driving. While you’re there, remember to remove your roof rack and roof box when they’re not in use.

Take an advanced driving course

Money-saving motoring secrets

An advanced course will teach you how to drive economically – you’ll still make good progress but be doing it in a more efficient way. Hypermiling is the art of driving as economically as possible and once you take on the challenge, it can become addictive.

Haggle for cheaper insurance

Money-saving motoring secrets

Car insurance is one of the biggest motoring costs you face. NEVER accept your auto-renewal quote – give your insurer a call to see if you can haggle and reduce it. Better still, arm yourself with a car insurance comparison quote, to see how well your figure compares.

Add family members to your car insurance

Money-saving motoring secrets

We’re not recommending ‘fronting’, which is where a parent insures their child’s car in their name and adds them as a named driver, even though the parent never drives the car. This is illegal. But adding your partner as a named driver on the family car can balance the risk and reduce your premium by a few pounds.

Do some basic pre-MOT checks

Money-saving motoring secrets

There are really simple things you can check for prior to an MOT – whether your bulbs are all working, the condition of your tyres, the state of your windscreen wipers, even if the washer bottle contains any fluid. No matter how simple they are, the garage won’t rectify them before completing the MOT, and will fail you for the most minor faults. Why risk the inconvenience and potential expense?

Appeal against parking tickets

Money-saving motoring secrets

Think you’ve been unfairly caught out by a parking ticket? Try appealing it. Provide evidence, check the terms and conditions, present a compelling case, and sometimes the ticket can be overturned.

Find cheap or free parking spaces in advance

Money-saving motoring secrets

Don’t park in the closest car park you can find, or the one you know the best. Check there isn’t a cheaper one nearby first, using apps such as Parkopedia. Particularly in big cities, this can save you a fortune. If you’re travelling to an unfamiliar place, plan your parking in advance.

Source car parts yourself

Money-saving motoring secrets

Been quoted big money by a dealer to replace parts? Consider buying them yourself online and using a local garage to fit them. This can potentially save you several hundred pounds. If you’re running an older car, eBay can be helpful in sourcing rare parts and accessories.

Don’t overestimate your annual mileage when buying insurance

Money-saving motoring secrets

If you tell your insurance company you cover 10,000 miles a year but you actually drive far less, you could be paying for a higher-risk premium than is actually the case. Give the company a realistic future instead, but don’t underestimate, or you could be left without cover.

Keep off the kerb

Money-saving motoring secrets

It’s amazing how many people drive up and down kerbs. This damages the metal wires in the sidewall of the tyre (and often the alloy wheel itself), and will eventually lead to a puncture. Not only will avoiding driving up and down kerbs save you money, it will also keep you safe.

Park away from other vehicles

Money-saving motoring secrets

If your car is on finance, it will be assessed for condition before you hand it back. You’ll be charged if any rectification is needed. An easy way to reduce the risk of damage it to park away from other cars, so their car doors can’t damage it, and they can’t scrape it when driving in and out. Remember, even small car park panel dents are logged by the dealer on the condition report.

Buy a smartphone holder

Money-saving motoring secrets

If you are caught using a hand-held mobile phone behind the wheel, you face a £200 fine and six points on your licence. Use your smartphone for navigation or as an audio player? Then avoid the risk by installing it in a smartphone holder.

Don’t use your windscreen wipers on ice

Money-saving motoring secrets

Windscreen wipers can cost £20 or more to replace and they’ll wear out much more quickly if you use them on ice in winter. Scrape the screen or use de-icer instead to avoid damaging your wiper blades.

Don’t press the accelerator when you start the car

Money-saving motoring secrets

Every new car has engine electronics that regulate the car starting procedure. In the past, you needed to use a little gas to get the car running, but this is no longer necessary. So don’t waste the extra fuel and risk damage to your engine by doing it: the car will start cleanly without.

Drive gently when the car is cold

Money-saving motoring secrets

Cars are at their least efficient when they are cold. If you drive quickly straight from start-up, you are redoubling the wasted fuel, and also wearing out the engine more quickly in the process. Show some mechanical sympathy and you’ll immediately start saving money.

Stick to your PCP mileage limit

Money-saving motoring secrets

If your PCP car finance scheme covers you for 9,000 miles a year and you actually cover 10,000 miles a year, you face excess mileage surcharges at the end of it. These can be punitive, but even a minor-sounding 0.06p per mile surcharge adds up to a £180 bill if you go 3,000 miles over. Often, it would have been cheaper to factor this mileage into the PCP deal in the first place.

Don’t pay extra for premium fuel

Money-saving motoring secrets

Fuel sold in the UK is some of the best in the world. If you have a regular car with a normal-output engine, standard 95-octane unleaded fuel or everyday diesel will be fine. You won’t feel any benefit from using higher-octane premium fuels, but will notice the significant extra expense when you fill up.

Consider joining a car club

Money-saving motoring secrets

Don’t use your car much? You might save money by simply borrowing a car whenever you need one, rather than paying out for tax and insurance on a car you only use occasionally. Car clubs usually let you reserve cars via an online app, and you can often borrow them for anything from half an hour to a couple of days. Many clubs cost as little as 30p a minute or £5 an hour for all-inclusive use, or you can pay more for a bigger or more upmarket car.

Monitor your fuel economy

Money-saving motoring secrets

Don’t rely on the trip computer to monitor fuel economy – they’re not always accurate – but use an app on your phone to calculate your MPG every time you fill up. Once you know how well it performs, work out how you can improve it – and challenge yourself by making a game of it.

Wash your car yourself

Money-saving motoring secrets

Hand car wash centres charge just a few pounds and save you effort, so where’s the harm? Well, even a £5 fortnightly car wash adds up to £120 a year: doing it yourself will not only save you, it will also allow you to keep an eye on the condition of your car and get any damage rectified before it gets too bad.

Know how to buy economical tyres

Money-saving motoring secrets

Need new tyres? While it might be tempting to go for the cheapest available, that can prove to be a mistake in the long run. Not only are such tyres inferior in terms of braking and handling, but they may also hit your fuel economy. All tyres sold are fitted with an EU tyre label with a fuel efficiency rating. An ‘A’ rating means the tyre decreases the energy lost through the tyre (often referred to as ‘low rolling resistance’), while a G rating is the worst performing, resulting in increased CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.

Use your smartphone to avoid extra parking charges

Money-saving motoring secrets

Paid for parking? Not returning to your car in time can prove expensive if you’re hit with a fine. But many parking companies offer a service which lets you use an app on your phone to pay for parking. Although there is a small convenience fee, it’ll notify you when your parking is nearly up – and you can extend it remotely so you’re not caught out.

If you’re young, research car insurance carefully

Money-saving motoring secrets

Unfortunately, being a young driver means you’re going to get stung for car insurance. But there are ways to make it cheaper. Try getting quotes for a wide variety of cars. Although you’d expect small cars in low insurance groups to be cheaper to insure, you might find a few exceptions. Use comparison sites to shop around and try approaching a few companies directly. Also consider a ‘black box’ telematics policy to help you build up a no-claims discount.

Buy road tax annually, not monthly

Money-saving motoring secrets

You can pay vehicle excise duty (VED) annually, monthly or every six months. Many opt for monthly, but it works out more expensive over the entire year. Pay the full amount at the start of the year to know that it’s paid for the rest of the year. If you’re strapped for cash, consider taking out a zero percent interest credit card and setting up a direct debit to pay it off over the year. It’ll work out cheaper than choosing the monthly option.

Comprehensive insurance might be the cheapest option

Money-saving motoring secrets

If you’re on a budget, many assume third-party insurance (the minimum legal requirement which only covers damage to other vehicles) will be the cheapest. But try getting quotes for fully comprehensive cover. The weird algorithm of insurance companies’ computers often means it’s cheaper than third-party only.

Buy a classic car over 40 years old to save on VED

Money-saving motoring secrets

You could save money by buying a classic car. Vehicles registered more than 40 years ago are exempt from paying tax, which could make for a significant saving. Buy sensibly and you could also save on insurance – and the car might even appreciate.

Consumer group wants these cars fixed for FREE

Nissan Qashqai slammed in reliability studyNissan Qashqai slammed in reliability study

Five cars have been slammed in a new reliability survey, including the Nissan Qashqai, Britain’s most popular crossover.

The Qashqai has the highest breakdown rating of the 276 cars in study by consumer group Which?. It also singled out the Tesla Model S, Seat Alhambra, Ford B-Max and BMW 5 Series Touring for criticism.

Worryingly, motorists are four to five times as likely to experience a flat battery in a Qashqai than in any other car. Twenty percent of Qashqai owners who took part in the survey had to replace a battery in the past 12 months.

Nissan said it changed its battery supplier in 2018, but a separate software issue could result in drained batteries. The company is contacting 35,000 owners, but older cars are not covered by Nissan’s three-year warranty.

This has angered Which?, which wants the cars fixed at no charge to the customer. 

‘Take action and recall these cars’

Tesla Model S - greatest cars of the decade

Which? Car editor Lisa Barber said: “Thanks to our in-depth reliability survey, we know these faults are happening. They may not be safety critical, but we still want the manufacturers to take action and recall these cars.

“This will mean information about the faults are public, owners won’t be inconvenienced by them, nor will they have to foot the bill if the issue occurs outside of warranty.”

The Nissan Qashqai isn’t alone. Two-thirds (67 percent) of Tesla Model S reported an issue, making Tesla the company with the highest percentage of faulty cars.

Tesla owners are forced to wait an average of five days for their car to be repaired – three days longer than the average wait time for cars of a similar age.

The biggest issues with the Tesla Model S: the exterior door handles, locks, fuel cap and boot.

Seat Alhambra Xcellence

Meanwhile, the Seat Alhambra is blighted by suspension and exhaust problems, the Ford B-Max (2012-2017) is affected by transmission woes, and owners of the BMW 5 Series Touring (2010-2017) have experienced suspension issues.

For the survey, Which? gathered information from nearly 44,000 owners about 52,500 cars. Members can use an online tool revealing the most and least reliable cars.