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The Motorists' Guide

The Motorists Guide

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  1. Experts warn that new emissions tests could be near impossible to pass Firms face severe fines if they fail to comply with rigorous EU regulations arriving in 2021 Three years from now, Europe’s car makers will face perhaps their toughest test for many decades when EU law requires them to meet very rigorous fuel economy laws. However, according to two auto industry consultants, the combination of new testing legislation, the effects of Dieselgate and the market shift towards SUVs could make it near impossible for car makers to meet the laws. Failing to do so would result in manufacturers facing fines of hundreds of millions of euros. Under the regulations, each car maker has a CO2 output target, which is averaged over its whole range of cars. So while the targeted average across the whole industry is just 95g/km of CO2, the individual requirement varies, via a complex calculation, depending on the weight and size of vehicles built and how many of them the manufacturer sells each year. New WLTP and RDE fuel economy and emissions tests explained Jaguar Land Rover, for instance, has a fleet CO2 target of 132g/km because it sells fewer than 300,000 vehicles in the EU each year and makes larger-than-average vehicles. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles,by contrast, has a fleet target of 91.1g/km. In reality, the 95g/km average means an average real-world economy of around 78mpg across a car maker’s entire fleet. And that is a huge technological hurdle. If that doesn’t sound difficult enough, the EU has decided to introduce a new, and much more rigorous, way to measure fuel economy. When the original regulations were set back in 2012, the standard EU fuel economy test was the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). This, however, has since been dropped and replaced by the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). WLTP is a much more ‘real-world’ test for fuel consumption and tailpipe pollution. Unsurprisingly, auto industry consultancy JATO Dynamics says that the introduction of WLTP for fuel economy calculations alone will be enough to make it “exceptionally difficult” to meet the 2021 95g/km figure. According to a recent report by JATO, a sample of vehicles re-tested under the new WLTP regime showed that official fuel economy figures increased by anything between 9% and 17% compared with NEDC testing.One of the first current production cars to be tested under WLTP was the 114bhp Volkswagen Up GTI. According to reports from Germany, the car was rated at 110g/km under the NEDC test but at 127-129g/km by WLTP, a rise of around 16%. If a city car with a moderately powerful petrol engine is that far from the 95g/ km target, what hope for larger, more powerful vehicles? If that wasn’t bad enough for car makers, the last 12 months have brought even worse news: collapsing sales of diesel vehicles. In October 2015, around the time Dieselgate broke, diesel cars accounted for about 52% of the new car market across Europe. In November 2017, that share had slumped to just 42% in western Europe, according to reports. But there’s another issue flagged up by JATO that will be a third drag on the efforts to meet the EU laws: the rise of the SUV. In 2016, says JATO, SUVs accounted for 3.8 million sales in Europe, which is a 26% market share. It forecasts these figures will reach six million and 33% by 2020. There’s no doubt that a market shift to taller, bluffer vehicles will further push up average fuel economy. In a detailed report released last autumn, PA Consulting Group stated that it expected just four of the 11 big car makers – Volvo, JLR, Toyota and Renault-Nissan – to meet their individual CO2 requirements. PA predicted that VW, FCA, PSA Group, Ford, BMW, Hyundai-Kia and Daimler will all miss their targets. It claims fines in 2021 (levied at 95 per gram over the limit for each vehicle sold) could range from a massive 1.36 billion for VW to 307 million for Ford and 126m for Daimler. Officially, the car makers are telling a very different story. According to the banking analysts at Evercore, senior executives at VW, BMW, Daimler and PSA all say they are confident of meeting the 2021 CO2 targets. While recognising that diesel sales were falling markedly, BMW chief executive Harald Krüger told Evercore that he wanted to see sales of the marque’s electrified vehicles ‘ramped up’ over the next three years. How VW plans to clean up after Dieselgate VW group sales boss Fred Kappler hinted, as did Daimler chief financial officer Bodo Uebber, that the arrival of 48V mild hybrids could yet spring some of the manufacturers from the risk of significant fines. Evercore analysts say 48V systems can improve the economy of a typical compact turbocharged petrol engine by as much as 20% and will be cheaper to manufacture than a modern diesel unit. While that may yet solve the diesel conundrum by restricting oil-burning engines to the biggest vehicles, Evercore estimates that 48V systems will only account for 10% of new cars sales in Europe by 2021 and sales of electric vehicles across Europe are predicted by many analysts to reach just 4% by 2022. Despite the confident public face of European car makers, meeting these EU laws by 2021 is clearly going to be an extremely tight squeeze. View the full article
  2. A lot is changing for Motorists in 2018. With six new Driving laws being introduced here's what every Driver should know to avoid big penalty fines. Motoring law changes all the time, but in 2018 there are some pretty big changes afoot. Here are six new changes to the law that will affect each and every one of us, so read up to ensure you stay on the right side of the rules… New MoT legislation There are new MoT changes that come into force on May 20th, which introduce new testable items. From this date, any diesel car that has had its DPF removed or tampered with will instantly fail the test, while aftermarket high definition headlamp bulbs will also be outlawed. Reversing lights will be tested for the first time, and your car will also fail if the brake fluid is visually deteriorated. Classic cars over 40 years old will now be exempt from testing, too. Finally, the current system of advisories will be replaced with minor, major and dangerous faults. Minor faults will work the same as the current advisory system and won’t constitute a fail. A car with dangerous faults cannot be driven away from the test until the repairs have been carried out. Learner drivers to be allowed on motorways Starting this year, learners will be allowed on motorways for the first time, though motorway driving won’t form part of the test as there are some regions of the country where this will be impractical, such as Western Wales and the Scottish Highlands. All instructors will be encouraged to give drivers some motorway training, you can read more on this here. Penalties for misusing motorways New ANPR-based (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras will be introduced on major motorways to monitor misuse of the hard shoulder. If a driver uses the hard shoulder on a managed motorway when it isn’t open, or drives in a lane with a red ‘X’ above it, the cameras will automatically trigger a penalty, which includes a £100 fine and three points on your driving licence. Keep an eye on those gantry signs to avoid an unpleasant surprise… Changes to the driving test As well as the independent driving element of the current test, where the examiner gives no instructions for 10 minutes, the new test laws will include a section where delegates are expected to follow instructions from a sat nav unit to prove they can follow the directions safely. The test will also include a section where the driver is asked to demonstrate a function of the car, such as how the windscreen wipers work, or how to demist the windscreen. Reversing into a car park bay is now also part of the test. Tax rises for diesel cars First year car tax for all diesel cars that aren’t compliant with the Euro 6 emissions standard will rise by one tax bracket from April 1st, with rates to increase by anything from £20 to £560 in the first year depending on the model and its current emissions. Unsurprisingly, the government hasn’t publicised this one very much! Children’s car seats Rules around child car seat safety have changed significantly. New models of backless booster seats will only be suitable for children taller than 125cm or weighing more than 22kg, with high back seats featuring guides to lower the level of the seatbelt in line with the passenger’s shoulders. In addition, all children below 15 months old must now travel in a backwards-facing car seat. All children must use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall, whichever comes first. Children over 12 or more than 135cm tall must wear a seatbelt. You can choose a child car seat based on your child’s height or weight. Source: Gov.co.uk
  3. A total of 2.54 million cars were registered in 2017. So which were the ten best-selling models? The figures are in for January 2018 - which cars have you been buying more than anything else? Established brands and models dominate the top 10 list of best-selling cars in the UK and the hatchback rules supreme. However, the latest sales figures show that some newer additions to Britain’s roads are growing in popularity, despite an overall slowing down of market sales. Britain's best-selling cars of 2018: Ford Fiesta – 13,536 registrations The Fiesta has been a British favourite for decades and that shows no signs of changing, even though the latest incarnation is now eight years old and its replacement is soon to arrive. Its sales figures are well ahead of the closest rivals', even though it’s not the cheapest choice in the segment. The Fiesta's sales performance is well deserved, though. The Ford supermini as hugely impressive, as our four-star review proves. We particularly like its ride and handling, interior quality and smooth engine range. 2: Volkswagen Golf - 7237 registrations The Golf is another classic name in motoring that attracts legions of diehard fans to keep it riding high in the charts, even with Volkswagen’s recent scandal. Emissions concerns aside, the seventh-generation Golf, including newly introduced facelifted version, is a consummate all-rounder - so much so that it was actually June's best-selling car. In our 4.5-star review, we called it the best hatchback in the world, and we’ll stand by that assessment. 3: Ford Focus – 6157 registrations The Focus has delivered an outstanding drive since it replaced the Escort with aplomb in 1998, offering impressive road manners at a volume price. It has been so good, in fact, that we were slightly disappointed by the diluted dynamics of the latest version. However, as our review notes, it’s still a very appealing, complete car. It looks good, has a strong, economical engine range and offers a lot of quality for its price. 4: Vauxhall Mokka X – 5292 registrations Vauxhall's Mokka X occupies the hotly-contested small SUV segment, along with the likes of the Seat Arona and Nissan Juke. The Mokka has always been one of Vauxhall's strongest cars in the UK, appearing in the lower half of the monthly top ten frequently, although sales are never strong enough to keep it there over rivals from overseas. It's currently the best-selling car in its segment in the UK, though, with the top SUV, the Nissan Qashqai, occupying the market segment above the Mokka X. 5: Mercedes-Benz A-Class - 5029 registrations Mercedes' smallest model climbs from tenth last year to sixth so far in 2018, stretching its lead over rivals like the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series close behind. There's a new model arriving in showrooms later this year, which can both help sales with the excitement of a new model and deals available on examples of the outgoing car, and hinder them, with the changeover period required to introduce a new car to market. 6: Nissan Qashqai – 4896 registrations Is it really a decade since Nissan’s now ubiquitous crossover first arrived? Its blend of hatchback size and SUV pretensions have proved a huge draw for customers and it’s now the best-selling small SUV in the country, leaving a trail of imitators in its wake. The second-generation model, released in 2014, keeps dynamic, economic and interior standards high, garnering a 4.5-star review from our road test team. No wonder it’s holding firm in the sales charts. 7: Ford Kuga – 4132 registrations Britain's fourth-best-selling SUV, and ninth best-seller overall is the Kuga, as Ford's hold on the UK market strengthens in 2018. It's decent-handling, refined and rides well, as well as having that magic combination of being an SUV and having the blue oval on its snout and rear, so it's little wonder it's sold so well, so far. Just seven cars separated the Kuga from the Vauxhall Corsa in January. 8: Kia Sportage – 3774 registrations Testament to the strength of the SUV in 2018 is the Kia Sportage - a new entry into the top 10, and a rival to the Nissan Qashqai. It's the second-best-selling SUV on the market, in a top ten more populated by the high-riding models than ever before. Sales are buoyant after exactly two years of being on forecourts, although at such an early stage of the year and with several direct rivals arriving in the coming months, whether it retains its lofty position is yet to be seen. 9: Mercedes-Benz C-Class - 3677 registrations It’s unusual for a premium car to find itself in the top 10, but it’s testament to the C-Class’s appeal, particularly among fleet customers, that it’s shifting so many units for Mercedes. Looking like a miniature S-Class doesn’t hurt the latest version, which was launched in 2014. It’s an excellent offering that garnered a four-star review from our test team, who fell for its high-quality interior and alluring looks. Good residual values do it no harm, either. 10: Vauxhall Corsa – 3634 registrations The Corsa is another established doyen in the UK and Vauxhall’s perennial rival to the Fiesta. The latest generation arrived in 2014 and offers something for most people, from the 74bhp 1.4-litre petrol option to the 202bhp snorting VXR version. It’s competitively priced, drives and rides well and is designed and specced to please the car's large fan base. It's slid from fifth overall last year to eighth this year, although a facelifted version - overdue in the average product life cycle - should spruce up sales. Read more: January car sales in UK drop 6.3% with diesel heavy hit The most expensive number plates sold in the UK The 12 most expensive cars sold at auction View the full article
  4. The Lexus SC430 long-haul comfort and its build quality is impervious to high mileage - here's how to get one for as little as £2750 Marmite comes in many forms, including this, the Lexus SC430 of 2001 to 2009. To most folk, it’s an ugly thing strangled at birth by clumsy handling and a lumpy ride, made brittle by run-flat tyres. Changes to the suspension in 2002 and 2004 improved things but mud sticks and it stuck especially well to this wannabe alternative to the Mercedes-Benz SL. Click here to see used Lexus SC for sale on PistonHeads Today, the SC is still no looker but it is different from the herd and on paper it has the kind of specification we’ll soon be drooling over in motor museums: a naturally aspirated 282bhp 4.3-litre V8 driving the rear wheels through a five-speed automatic gearbox, double-wishbone suspension and a folding aluminium roof. (No, it’s not broken. It really does take 25sec to do its thing.) The 2+2 cabin is a gadget-lover’s paradise and, this being a Lexus, you won’t have to worry about any of it not working. The climate control system can sense whether the roof is open or closed, as well as the speed the car is travelling at and the ambient temperature, and automatically direct chilled or warm air as necessary. There’s a knockout Mark Levinson sound system, powered and heated seats, electrically adjustable steering column and a touchscreen sat-nav. Obviously, the touchscreen system is seriously dated but cartronics.co.uk can swap in a state-of-the-art one that’ll talk to the Mark Levinson music centre for £2200. Pay a little more and they’ll wire in a reversing camera. It all fits snugly into the original space. The cabin is trimmed in leather and those door and fascia cappings are real wood, shaped and lacquered with the help of musical instrument makers Yamaha. Everything is finished and screwed together beautifully, qualities that serve today’s used SCs very well. Prices start at around £3000 for a 2002 car with 110,000 miles. If it’s a late 2002 model, there’s a chance it has the tweaked suspension that brought improvements to the ride, handling and refinement. Still not satisfied, Lexus added new dampers and tuned the chassis in late 2004. The result was a more absorbent ride, allied to sharper handling. These mid-life cars start at around £7500. In 2005, the SC was mildly facelifted with revised bumpers and redesigned 18in alloy wheels. SC owners are loyal and fastidious so you’ll find a lot of cherished cars with just one or two former keepers, full Lexus histories and reasonably low mileages. Even the youngest cars are now nine years old, so expect some wear-and-tear-related issues. However, the first are as old as 17. On these, check for underbody rust, clonky suspension, evidence of timing belt and water pump replacement, healthy fluid levels and a smooth gearbox. At all ages, oxygen sensors and the tyre pressure monitoring system are weak points. Still want one? Good – Marmite’s quite nice, once you get used to it. Click here to see used Lexus SC for sale on PistonHeads An expert’s view Lee Massey, owner: “I’m a former Lexus technician and have owned two SC430s, including my current car, a 2004/04 with 80,000 miles. I remember the SC430 from my Lexus days as being reliable and well built and my used ones haven’t given me any trouble. If you like wafting about in something powerful and different that isn’t going to give you sleepless nights worrying about repair bills, it’s hard to beat.” Buyer beware… ENGINE - Some head gasket failures have been recorded due to very low coolant levels. Check the condition of the lower radiator, which can leak into the gearbox oil cooler. Likewise, fluid from the gearbox can leak into the coolant. The oxygen sensor in the exhaust system can fail. Check the starter motor works okay since it’s located inconveniently beneath the inlet manifold, which has to be removed to replace it. The vapour canister is there, too, and these can fail, expensively. Timing belt change is every 100,000 miles. Water pump should be changed at the same time since it’s a weak spot, as is the centre belt tensioner. GEARBOX - It should be very smooth. If juddery, suspect coolant contamination. Transmission fluid should be changed every 45,000 miles. WHEELS, BRAKES AND SUSPENSION - Check for worn top suspension arms at the rear and worn front wheel bearings. If the ride on early cars is rough, suspect the front control arm bushes. Listen for clunks from here too. Steel parts in the aluminium suspension can rot. Check the brake pipes’ condition. Ensure the tyre pressure monitoring system works. Some owners disable it as the valves fail but it’s an MOT issue. Steering wheel noise when turning could be the spiral cable (an expensive repair). BODY - Check for underbody corrosion, especially at the rear around the back axle and subframe. FOLDING HARD-TOP - Position sensors can fail with lack of use. Check for leaks caused by perished seals and for roof corrosion. INTERIOR - Ensure the music system is fault-free: subwoofer and door speakers can fail. Also worth knowing Amazingly, you can still buy an approved used SC430 from Lexus. At time of writing, there were seven, ranging from £10,990 to £16,995. How much to spend £2750-£3500 - A cluster of high-mileage (120k) 2002- reg cars with partial service histories. £4995-£6995 - Mix of 2002-2003 cars with 100k miles in good condition, most with full service histories and few previous owners. £7000-£8995 - Mainly 2004-2005 cars with around 75k miles. £9000-£10,995 Mostly 2005-2007 cars, circa 70k miles. £11,000-£13,995 - More 2007 cars with around 50k miles. £14,000-£16,995 The best late-plate cars. One we found - Lexus SC430, 2004/54, 70K MILES, £7995 This SC has full Lexus service history, including recent timing belt replacement. It’s a mid-2004 model with the revised suspension set-up designed to cure the model’s questionable ride and handling. Autocar judged the changes to be successful. Click here to see used Lexus SC for sale on PistonHeads John Evans Read more View the full article
  5. High-end car books now come packed with information Expensive, limited-run motoring books are offering big returns to canny buyers. John Evans asks for some investment advice What’s the next best thing to buying a Porsche Carrera 2.7? Buying a book about it. Specifically, Ryan nodgrass’s definitive guide to the model, published by Parabolica Press in 2015 and called, helpfully, Carrera 2.7. Just 2500 were printed. There are about 300 copies of the Limited Edition version left, each costing £225. Sounds a lot? Don’t worry: in two years your investment could be worth £1000. “Carrera 2.7 set a new benchmark for motoring books,” says Ben Horton of Horton’s Books, a specialist motoring bookseller in Marlborough, Wiltshire. “It’s not only an in-depth story of the car but is also packed with all the information – colour charts, component photographs, mechanical evolution – every owner, enthusiast or restorer could desire, plus it’s beautifully produced. “Buy a limited-edition version today and in two years it’ll fetch four and a half times its new price. I’ve been selling motoring books for more than 25 years and for the highest quality or most interesting books, I’ve never known a downturn.” For the speculative petrolhead who’s clumsy with spanners but loves a good read, Carrera 2.7, and books like it, seem to be the perfect alternative. Choose your book, stick it in on a shelf and wait a decent interval before selling it for a profit. Except it’s not as simple as that. Not every car book turns a profit. Coffee table books heavy on library pics, light on expert copy and published in their thousands are just charity shop fare. Ferrari is one marque that’s particularly poorly served. “Many books on Ferraris are a criminal waste of trees,” says Doug Nye, historian, journalist and author of more than 70 motor racing books. So horrified was he by the quality of motoring books that GP Library, the photographic archive he co-owns with former racer Paul Vestey, has just published its first book, created, Nye says, “to set new standards”. Inside Track, the story of 1961 F1 champ Phil Hill, goes “far beyond” being just another shelf-straining book, says Nye. “The impetus was Phil’s incredible collection of colour photographs. He recorded that golden era in motor racing from 1950 to 1962, every picture properly composed and beautifully framed. The book had to be right and has taken us 16 years to produce, from those first conversations with Phil to the books coming off the presses.” Nye, 71, has been collecting motor racing books since he was nine. Today, his home groans under the weight of 15,000 of them. “If a car was raced, I love it,” he says. “Two books everyone should have are Keith Bluemel and Jess G Pourret’s Ferrari 250 GTO and Pierre Abeillon’s two-volume Talbot – Lago de Course.” Nye fits the definition of the motoring book collector as someone enthusiastic and passionate about all aspects of their chosen subject. Or, he did. Today, says Ben Horton, the market is driven by enthusiasts looking for books and memorabilia associated with a specific car. “Handbooks and vehicle build sheets have always been in demand, but now people expect to find this kind of detail in books. Information that will help them buy, own and sell a special car, or satisfy a desire to get as close as possible to it, is what people crave.” Horton cites Bentley specialist Clare Hay, whose limited-edition, model-specific books get you up close to a model. “Typically, her books are limited to 200 copies and cost around £250. Bentley Speed Six is a great example. It takes you right inside a specific example before pulling back to consider the whole production run. Her books are authoritative, exclusive and rarely found on Amazon.” Top publishers include Dalton Watson, Number One Press and Palawan Press, which was founded by Simon Draper, cousin of Richard Branson and former chairman of Virgin Music. After that company’s takeover by EMI in 1992 Draper went motor racing. The same year he published his first book, Aston Martin – The Compleat Car. “In its design and the quality of the paper and binding, it was a labour of love,” says Draper. “People were shocked to find out the designer was paid more than the writer! We’ve published many books since but never compromised on the quality. Print runs are small and prices high. One thing I’ve learned is, don’t be shy about the price – and never discount.” His books range in price from £75 to £2000. He’s particularly proud of Ferrari in Camera. “We produced a limited run of 10 with an aluminium binding. They each sold for £2000 but I was recently contacted by a lady who had been offered £11,500 for hers.” Encouraged by his purchase of a Porsche 918 Spyder, Draper is putting together a book on the model. Another book in production is the story of Ferrari’s in-line four-cylinder engines, written by Ferrari authority Franco Lombardi. Sooner or later new and used examples of these and other exclusive motoring books will find their way to Horton’s Books. The most valuable in the company’s 20,000-strong collection is a rare copy of the 1949 Ferrari Yearbook, yours for £7500. An Illustrated History of the Bentley Car, signed by WO Bentley, is priced at £1250. Of them all, Horton’s favourite is Frank Wootton’s How to Draw Cars, Volume 2 (£95). “I love it,” he says. “It’s beautifully produced and has that patina that’s so desirable.” His tip for future investment returns is Lancia, especially books on the Integrale and Flaminia. But enough of them. Instead, my eyes have fallen on my own collection: The Ultimate History of Ferrari (Marks & Spencer) and You & Your Mazda MX-5 (Haynes). Offers, anyone? FIVE TOP MOTORING INVESTMENT BOOKS: How to turn £2000 into £4000 in two years, from the comfort of your armchair. Future value predictions by Ben Horton of Horton’s Books INSIDE TRACK, VOLUMES 1 & 2 Published by The GP Library Print run: 700 copies Autobiography of 1961 F1 world champion Phil Hill. Price today: £625 (for the collector’s edition). Approximate value in 2020: £1500 ASTON MARTIN DB4GT Published by Palawan Press Print run: 300 copies The history of Aston’s legendary GT car. Price today: £1000 (for the standard edition) Approximate value in 2020: £1750 DELAGE – CHAMPION DU MONDE Published by Orep Editions Print run: 1000 copies RAC Specialist Book of the Year 2017. A history of Delage GP cars from 1923 to 1952. Price today: £125 (used) Approximate value in 2020: £250 BMW M3 Published by Haynes Print run: out of print, 1000 copies remaining The complete history of the BMW M3. Price today: £14.99 Approximate value in 2020: £90 CONTINENTAL JOURNEYS Published by Nubes Argentea Print run: 600 copies The definitive history of Bentley Continental versions from 1952 to 1965. Price today: £235 Approximate value in 2020: £500 Read more BMW M3 review Porsche 918 Spyder review Bentley Continental review View the full article
  6. Hi....Just pop in and say 'Hi'...we don't bite ! Don't forget it's FREE to register as a Member and get regular updates on anything new that's published.
  7. I'll start then.... Honda CR-V . NOW SOLD Mazda MX5 (mk1) . NOW SOLD BMW Z3 Mitsubishi L200 BMW GS1200 motorbike Nissan X-Trail for the moment...but that could all change quite rapidly 🙂 Update: said things could change in a short space of time....using the Z3 on a daily basis now and just the right time of year 🙂
  8. A good video describing how the DPF functions
  9. ROAD SAFETY and breakdown cover specialist GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging drivers to put safety first on motorway journeys. The news comes as Highways England pledges to install additional emergency refuge areas at smart motorway locations where drivers are most likely to stop in live lanes. GEM road safety officer Neil Worth offered some reassurance for drivers: “Motorways may be the fastest roads we use, but they are statistically also the safest, and there are fewer collisions on motorways than on other roads,” he said. “However, the high speeds used on motorways mean that when there is a crash, it is likely to be more serious. That’s why on average around one in 50 motorway collisions is fatal, compared with one in 70 on all other roads. “We are also advising drivers to ensure they know the rules and signs relating to Smart motorways, which are becoming more commonplace. “It is regrettable that in spite of the spread of smart motorways, there is still no specific advice contained in the Highway Code. We think this is unacceptable, bearing in mind that so many motorists are being penalised every day for being at the wrong speed or in a closed lane.” Understanding how a smart motorway works, and knowing what to do if you are unfortunate enough to experience a breakdown in a stretch of smart motorway, could well prove a lifesaver.” Neil Worth outlines when the risks are greatest on motorways: “A serious danger is when there is insufficient time and space between vehicles travelling at high speed. As well as this, distracted drivers – using a mobile phone or device, re-setting the satnav or attempting to eat and drink at the wheel – pose a risk to themselves and those around them. “Poor lane discipline brings risks – for example, driving in the middle lane when the left hand lane is empty, or changing lanes without proper observations or signalling. This also applies around junctions when drivers are leaving or joining the motorway. Too often drivers make last-minute decisions, either deliberately or unintentionally, and end up cutting across lanes of traffic to get off the motorway or into the correct lane if the carriageway is about to split. “Busy urban stretches of motorway are particularly risky, as there are often several junctions and intersections across short distances. “It’s also important to remember that there are risks when traffic is light. In these situations there is little or nothing to engage the attention of a driver on a long journey. As a result, alertness can drop and concentration can dip, making it easy to miss a developing hazard. Neil Worth added: “By acknowledging these risks, you are taking a big step toward making a motorway journey safer.” GEM has compiled 10 tips for safer motorway driving: Plan your journey so you know when to join and leave the motorway. You’re far less likely to be taken by surprise when it comes to choosing the correct lane at junctions and intersections. Choose a safe speed and use the left hand lane of the motorway unless you are overtaking. Check your following distance by the ‘two second rule’. Watch the vehicle in front go past a signpost, under a bridge or past some other reference point. Then speak out: “Only a fool breaks the two second rule.” If you pass the same point before you have finished the sentence, then you are too close. Double your following distance in wet weather. Scan the road a long way ahead so that you have early sight of developing hazards. Make regular mirror checks. If you observe a fast-approaching vehicle, then take steps to move out of its way. Before changing lanes, check your mirrors and blind spots, and indicate your intention to move either left or right. Only commence the manoeuvre when you know you can complete it safely. Avoid any sort of distraction. No mobile device, no interfering with stereo or satnav, no eating or drinking. Give 100% of your attention to driving. If you are about to miss your motorway exit, don’t make last-minute risky manoeuvres to leave the motorway. Continue to the next junction and turn around, or follow the revised satnav instructions. Familiarise yourself with the rules and signs that apply to smart motorways, so that you stay safe and avoid a ticket for speeding or using a closed lane. Knowing what to do if you break down in a stretch of smart motorway is a big help for road safety. Then you will know what to do if you experience a breakdown yourself, and will also understand what’s happening if another vehicle breaks down. GEM’s recently revised ‘Motorist’s Breakdown and Emergency Guide’ leaflet now includes details of what to do on a smart motorway in an emergency.
  10. Why tune your engine? What’s the best method to tune your car? What are the overall benefits? Electronic engine tuning is the modern method of obtaining more horsepower from the engine without replacing any parts. Many years ago, tuning a petrol engine was carried out by replacing Carburettors, Exhaust and Inlet Manifolds and tweaking the Distributor in order to liberate more power. This of course led to a variety of problems that maybe you didn’t have previously, including having to ‘tune the engine’ on a regular basis, reliability, poor starting, difficult to drive in traffic and on occasions resulting in destruction of the engine. The problem that existed with tuning an engine with traditional methods was that the engines were very rarely able to generate, and handle much more power beyond standard and generally involved having much more involvement with strengthening the mechanical components within the bottom end and also lightening components to get it rev higher. Additionally, Diesel engines were not able to be tuned apart from maybe adding a larger turbo and water injection. Nowadays, engines are designed to handle more power than they sent out of the factory with. Vehicles in standard form are produced with a specified power output in order to comply with strict production, emissions and tax regulations and also to enhance reliability and durability. There is, however, a potential ‘window of opportunity’ provided by the manufacturers, allowing the owner the potential to squeeze out some additional horsepower with no resulting damage to the engine, and in most cases allowing the improved torque to enhance the overall driving experience. It’s not all about horsepower increase, it’s the torque benefits that allow improved driveability and provide more flexible gear changes. Torque increase can also lead to improved towing capabilities and load carrying without necessarily putting excess strain on the turbocharger. The more torque, the more pulling power! Will you get your money back and how long will it take? Economy is an important factor to consider the decision to spend money in order to save money. With increased torque, more flexible gear changes and increase pulling power should all lead to less throttle required and therefore better economy figures. With up to 20% fuel economy increase claimed for the DTUK system, it shouldn’t take too long to reclaim the financial outlay if the annual mileage is quite high. Are there any downsides? With electronic tuning (or fine tuning) of the engine, there are no mechanical parts to wear, drift out of calibration and all of which should contribute to maintaining overall vehicle reliability. What methods are there for achieving more power from your engine? Remapping the ECU – where a computer is connected to the vehicle ECU and a programme is downloaded which overrides the original ‘map’ with a revised one to increase the power/torque. Another method is to install an electronic chip (EPROM) inside the ECU which overrides the original ‘map’ to provide more power/torque. And yet another method is to plug in a Tuning Box which is interfaced with the injector wiring to fine-tune the fuel injection to allow additional fuel into the engine. All of these methods have their benefits and drawbacks with considerations such as cost, transferability of the tuning enhancement to another vehicle and ensuring the validity of any manufacturer warranty. Will it affect my Insurance or Warranty? It is advisable to contact your insurance company to advise them of any modifications, but more than likely with the popularity of performance enhancements to vehicles nowadays, a moderate upgrade would be recognised and quite easily listed on the policy. Failure to inform the insurers could lead to a claim being invalid in the event of an accident. Manufacturer warranty is I suppose down to individual vehicle brands but some do promote their preferred after-market Tuning specialists and accept that it is becoming a more popular trend. However, if a failure occurs with any component and that it could be remotely linked to a modification by the owner, I’m sure that could lead to a claim being declined. Tuning Box DTUK® manufactures a Tuning Box that refines the injection process by altering the injection pulse width modulation to fine tune the fuel quantity to gain more power and torque. Using a new multi-channel with dyno proven software written and developed in-house by DTUK® The system is fully adjustable for both Petrol and Diesel and can deliver up to 40% gains in power, torque and up to 20% improvement in fuel economy. Lower emissions are also promised as the engine is running smoother and more efficient, therefore, lower CO2 output. An improved throttle response should lead to a smoother drive and an improved low rev range torque and provide a smoother drive especially when towing. The system is suitable for vehicles with Automatic Transmissions and those equipped with a DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter). The DTUK® Tuning Box takes around 10 minutes to fit with minimal tools and is also transferable to another car if required. Installation All DTUK Systems have been designed to be compact and easy to fit they are supplied complete with the correct OEM wiring loom and connectors for the vehicle application and can be installed with the minimal of mechanical ability thus making it an ideal DIY project, most units can be fitted in around 10 minutes and they come complete with full support. Once the engine cover is removed, it is easy to then gain access to the fuel injector electrical connections. It is then necessary to remove the connectors and interface with the Tuning Box wiring loom, ensuring the connections are in sequence and not crossing over. Also, be careful not to position the wiring over the fuel injector pipes or any other wiring loom as electrical interference may occur. Connect the Tuning Box to the wiring loom connection and then connect to the vehicle Battery (ensure positive lead is securely routed away from earth points, unlike in the photo!) Ensure the Tuning Box is secured in a dry area within the engine bay and away from any electrical units that may cause electrical interference. Place inside the waterproof bag supplied with the kit. Review of DTUK Tuning Box How did it perform? Once installed, I never want to remove it! Not that I ever had much of an issue with the performance from the Honda in the standard form, but since driving it with the Tuning Box installed, I would categorically state that I could never go back to how it was in standard form. The increase is from 103Kw (140PS) to 128 Kw (175PS) and torque has changed from 340 Nm to 420 Nm, which is a very noticeable increase. The performance was instantly noticeable from the moment of installation with improved acceleration but also more importantly, the smoothness of torque delivery has dramatically changed the way the car drives. Longer gear changes are a result of the improved torque curve along with the decreased fuel consumption. On average, it has improved in the short term by around 10-12 %. I say in the short term, because the CR-V has a defective clutch that occasionally slips when put under too much load (common fault with Honda diesels). Once the clutch is replaced, then the consumption should decrease even further. On one end of the Tuning Box are some serial jumpers which you can move around to increase or decrease the power output. I have personally left it ‘out of the box’ as the settings appear to be more than adequate for my requirements. However, it does allow you to alter the settings to achieve the desired output to suit both the car and driver.
  11. Author: Brian Laban (2016) Publisher: Crowood Press Hardback, 12 Chapters, 208 pages Retail Price: £25.00 A very well laid out book detailing the history of the XK range of Jaguars with many black & white and colour photographs, illustrations and supporting data. The Author has successfully covered the range of XKs from the inception in 1948 to the E-Type, with each chapter chronologically detailing the marque and history of the manufacturer’s technological evolution within that era. The Jaguar XK was incredibly successful in racing and this has been covered in detail with particular mention to the 24 Hours of Le Mans race when Jaguar dominated the Motorsport world in the 1950’s. The ‘Racing Cousins’ such as the Lightweight E-Types and the Lister Knobbly have also been covered with sufficient detail without going too in-depth to become a specialist publication of each variation. There are plenty of books available about each of the specialist racing Jaguars to satisfy the enquiring reader’s curiosity. At the end of each chapter is a summary of the specifications of each model from that particular era with technical and performance information. Overall, this book delivers a definitive overview of the variety of XK’s produced over a 22-year span. Buy the Book here
  12. If estimates are to be believed, one million of us could be driving electric cars within the next four years. Like it or not, it’s probably time to consider whether an electric vehicle could work for you. The actual process of driving an electric car is very simple. Many are very similar to petrol or diesels in the way that they drive –albeit with an automatic transmission and instant torque. They generally feel more relaxing than equivalent petrols or diesels, but they can also offer surprising performance. It’s recharging that’s a little more difficult. Rather than simply stopping at a petrol station and filling your car’s tank within a few minutes, charging an electric car can be a time-consuming process. But it doesn’t necessarily need to be difficult and, for many of us, it’s easy enough to fit it into our lives. How do you charge an electric car? Think of charging an electric car the same as charging your phone. You can do it using a simple three-pin domestic plug socket, leaving it overnight for a fully-charged car when you wake up the next day. Although it depends on your electricity supply, the specific car and, of course, how flat the batteries are, it typically takes around eight hours to charge an EV using a three-pin socket. For faster charging, a professional can install a home charging point. This would normally cost around £1,000, but there’s currently a £500 government grant available for EV drivers. This can reduce charging times by up to 50 percent – meaning you can have a fully-charged EV in about four hours. But that’s longer than filling up with petrol… True, most people don’t have four hours to waste waiting for their car to charge. But with the range of many electric cars (i.e. how far they will travel on a charge) now exceeding 200 miles, ask yourself how often you exceed that in one day? If your daily mileage is usually less than 200 miles, just charge your electric car at home overnight. For those occasions when you do travel further afield, there are alternatives to charging at home. There’s a network of more than 14,000 chargers at around 5,000 different locations around the UK, with the number of fast and rapid chargers growing quickly. Rapid chargers are usually found at motorway service stations. They can top an electric car up to 80 percent charge in just 30 minutes – ideal if you’re on a long journey and want to break it up with a coffee and a refill. They do cost, though, with Ecotricity (the firm that owns UK’s rapid charging network) implementing a £3 connection charge, plus 17p per unit of electricity used. Alternatively, there are a number of slower public chargers available to use for free. These include more than 7,000 fast chargers, often found in shopping centres and supermarket car parks. These can charge an electric car in a couple of hours –perfect if you’re spending an afternoon shopping. Tell me about charging networks Wouldn’t it be handy if there was a streamlined charging network around the UK? Several different companies run public chargers across the country, meaning you may need various different cards or methods to access them. The best thing is to obtain a Polar Plus card from Chargemaster. For £7.85 a month, this gives you access to more than 6,000 charging points across the UK. This live map shows you where you can use the card – including live information – and then all you have to do was swipe the card and plug in. The majority of chargers at motorway service stations are operated by Ecotricity which, as we’ve mentioned, does charge you for a, er… charge. Tesla owners, meanwhile, can use the brand’s own Supercharger network. Original article by Andrew Brady - Motoring Research - January 26th, 2018
  13. Nearly 50% of all cars that fail an MOT do so because of small faults that could be avoided by simple, at-home car maintenance. These problems are easy to correct, and fixing them before taking the car in for its MOT could help you passfirst time and avoid garage costs. To help, Ring, the automotive specialist in bulbs, wipers, battery care and tyre care, has some advice on the simple things that can be done to avoid an MOT fail. Lights and signalling – 17.8% failure rate 4.5m cars fail because of lamps, reflectors and electrics every year. Doing a quick bulb check before you take the vehicle to the garage could avoid an MOT fail. Make sure you check all the exterior bulbs – this includes the side light, indicator, tail light and number plate lights. The registration plate lamp being out accounts for 4.5% of MOT fails. When it comes to headlamps, there are plenty of options out there, including upgrades to help bulbs last longer or put more light on road for safer driving. We recommend you always replace bulbs in pairs, to ensure the light output is equal from both headlights. Ring stocks a range of bulbs, including long life versions, and for headlamps, try the new Xenon150 bulbs (nationwide – SSP £39.99), which put up to 150% more light on road without compromising on life. Tyre condition – 7.5% failure rate Well maintained tyres are essential to ensure safe driving – and neglecting them could mean a failed MOT. The legal requirement for tyre tread on passenger vehicles up to eight seats is 1.6mm, but studies show that when the tread drops below 3mm, stopping distance begins to be significantly affected. Checking tyre tread is easy and requires a simple depth gauge. However, to ensure your tyres are both safe and helping cut down fuel consumption, drivers need to check the pressure as well. For a digital gauge that gives accurate readings on a large backlit screen, records the correct pressure and has an integrated LED light, Ring suggests the RTG7 Programmable Digital Tyre Pressure & Tread Depth Gauge. This is easy to store in the car and easy to use, wherever you are. Available nationwide, SSP £24.99. While there is no legal requirement for tyre pressure, under- or over-inflated tyres will reduce the traction between the tyre and the road, making driving less safe and less fuel efficient. For easy pressure top ups, try the Ring RAC635 Digital Tyre Inflator, with preset for accurate inflation. This industry-recognised inflator can inflate a 13” tyre from flat to 35PSI in under 3 minutes – making tops up quick and simple. Driver’s view of the road – 6.8% failure rate Cracks in the windscreen and worn wipers are a big reason for vehicles to fail. As wiper deteriorate gradually, drivers often don’t realise they are no longer clearing the windscreen effectively. Choosing and fitting the right blade can seem tricky, but Ring’s new range of Ultravision Wiper Blades (SSP £9.99 to £13.99) make blade selection easy. The unique, patent-pending clip fits 95% of the car parc, meaning that drivers just need to know the blade length for their vehicle to select the correct blade. The clip adapts to fit the seven most common wiper arms. Henry Bisson, Marketing Manager at Ring, says “Motorists could be making savings by carrying out basic checks and maintenance at home, but often they don’t realise that these minor faults could cause an MOT fail. What’s more, having well-maintained tyre, blade and lighting are driving safety essentials, so making sure they are regularly checked and replaced when necessary is critical.” For more details on Ring’s range of bulbs, wiper blades and tyre care, visit www.ringautomotive.com Original article source: http://www.drivn.co.uk/avoid-common-mot-fails/
  14. The Nextbase 412GW is the latest offering in a new range of Dash Cams from Nextbase and features WiFi and a ‘Click & Go’ powered screen mount Other new features include Quad HD 1440p resolution, recording at 30 frames-per-second, via 140-degree wide angle, six-element sharp lenses made up of six layers of glass to provide amazingly clear images to capture the important information such as number plate and road sign detail. Combined with High Dynamic Range (HDR) to improve the contrast of an image while maintaining superb clarity in both bright and dark lighting conditions. The 412GW is equipped with a 3” LED screen with touch buttons for ease of access. In the event of an accident, the 412GW can be instantly accessed to capture all the evidence which can be used in the event of a claim. SOS Data Protection prevents any crucial events from being deleted, while the inbuilt GPS receiver provides essential data such as speed and accurate location, which may be required by Insurers or the Police in the event of an accident. Another new feature is the addition of built-in WiFi to review, download and share footage instantly to your mobile phone or tablet by using the Nextbase Cam Viewer app (available on IOS and Android). The app is your personal mobile storage for recorded footage that you may want to keep and share with friends and family and if required, to forward to an insurance company or even the Police. Using GPS receiver and G sensor to record location, speed and force data to help provide important vehicle impact information. The powered ‘Click & Go’ screen mount is a new innovation which allows the camera to be permanently powered and easily removed if required. Utilising magnets and powered touch points, allowing the camera to be free from wires. The mount can be powered with either the supplied 12 volt, 4-metre power cable connected to an auxiliary power socket. Alternatively, the mount can be permanently hard-wired by using a Hardwire Kit (optional) specifically designed to be used with the comprehensive range of Nextbase Dash Cams. The user can choose from various options within the menu system, such as switching the Audio recording on/off, Video length (2, 3 or 5 minutes), Parking Mode, Resolution, Exposure and many other functions. Easy to use control buttons are flush to the screen and touch-sensitive, with illumination for easy navigation in dark conditions. As can be seen in the above photo, in daylight conditions the quality of the image is superb with massive amounts of detail, even the name of the hotel in the distance can be read clearly Images captured in poor lighting conditions are still incredibly crisp and clear with superb clarity of stationary objects When fitted in a Honda CR-V, the 412GW had to sit lower down on the screen with the suction mount due to the top middle section having a painted section. With the size of the Dash Cam and the lower position, it was found to be a bit too intrusive on the drivers’ visibility, but by using the self-adhesive mount provided it was able to be repositioned further up the screen behind the mirror. It’s worth bearing in mind that a Dash Cam should not be fitted in the swept area (Drivers’ windscreen wiper zone) to obstruct visibility. Overall, the 412GW performed incredibly well in all lighting conditions with easy to use controls and features. It really does seem to be a fit-and-forget driving aid, and hopefully, not one that will need to be used in anger. Technical Information Dimensions: 10.9 x 5 x 1.8 cm (W x H x D) (37mm incl. lens) Storage: Supports SDHC and SDXC Micro SD Cards up to 32GB (Class 10 recommended) to provide up to 4 hours of recorded footage before entering a new recording loop Battery Life: up to 30 minutes’ back-up in the event of an accident Recommended Retail Price: £129.00 Nextbase 412GW Dash Cam More Information
  15. The complete history of one of the most famous 4x4s of all time The Land Cruiser is Toyota’s longest continually produced model. From its start as a utility vehicle built during a period of economic gloom and uncertainty after the Second World War, it is now a well-equipped, luxurious and highly capable prestige SUV. This book covers all the changes that have taken place over the years to provide a complete history of the Land Cruiser’s extraordinary heritage. The coverage includes the Land Cruiser’s outstanding success in some of the toughest environments of the world, and what it takes to modify it to meet the toughest of conditions. The author follows the extensive range history of the Land Cruiser from its earliest models, through the utility models, right up to the prestigious versions that exist today. The author draws on his considerable experience of both on-road and off-road testing to provide his informed professional judgement on this extraordinary vehicle. The first chapter deals with the origins of the Land Cruiser and how Military and Economic circumstances lead to the birth of a legend. The second chapter looks at the Land Cruiser range and how it varied over the years to accommodate the commercial and private markets. The third chapter looks at a specific model, the FJ40 and how it has evolved over the years to become one of the best 4WD vehicles ever built. The final chapter deals with modifying the Land Cruiser for expeditions, safari holidays and world speed record events! All in, this book is a fascinating read for any Land Cruiser enthusiasts and comprehensively covers the models from 1951 to present day. Numerous diagrams, data charts, photos (colour and mono) are used throughout to break up the written content making it easier the reader to pick up and put down as required and digest as much or as little information as desired. A very informative and attractively laid out book at a reasonable price! BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION Publisher: Amberley Publishing Publication: 15th December 2017 RRP: £14.99 ISBN: 978-1-4456-7173-4 Size: 234 x 165mm Binding: Paperback Extent: 96 pages Illustrations: 150 illustrations Rights: World, all languages Also available in Kindle, Kobo and iBook formats THE AUTHOR Nigel Fryatt is editor of the UK’s only multi-marque four-wheel drive publication, 4x4 Magazine. He has been a motoring journalist for over thirty years, having edited Sporting Cars, Cars and Car Conversions, and was also launch editor of MiniWorld, The Golf and Land Rover World. He has contributed to numerous international motoring publications. Nigel has been Publisher of IPC’s Specialist motoring titles and also Publisher at CH Publications and he is now a freelance editor and author. Besides editing 4x4 Magazine, he is currently a columnist and regular contributor to Classic Car Buyer. You can buy the book here Buy the Book
  16. Come in and say 'Hi'.....it's so much more friendly that way. Feel free to introduce yourself to the Forum and let us know what your Motoring interests are and what you drive.
  17. Welcome to the 'The Motorists Guide' Forum We shall be publishing regular posts through this site to inform and guide you through numerous motoring Road Trip planning and driving experiences to new destinations! From lists of items to take with you to planning routes to motoring law and product reviews and to helpful hints & tips. Everything, in fact, to guide you through your Road Trip experience and get as much enjoyment as possible during your time behind the wheel or handlebars. So, watch this space to see what's new and drop in to say 'hello' and tell us about your experiences. Enjoy!
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