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Friday
Oct172014

Vehicle Tax: your complete guide to the new changes

As of October 1st, the good old fashioned car tax disc – first introduced way back in 1921 – has been officially retired.  It is no longer a legal requirement to have the disc displayed.  Today, we’re going to go through the changes and take a look at the changes you'll need to make.

So, what’s happening to the disc?

Car tax discs are no longer to be issued, and it is no longer a legal obligation to display one in your front window.  This will be the case with both vehicles that have been exempt from the charge and those that have not (previously, even cars exempt from the charges had to display the disc.

My tax disc still has six months remaining, do I have to display it until it runs out?

No; it is no longer legally required.  Obviously you can leave it on there if you want, but there’s no reason to!

Why has the changed been introduced?

Simply due to cost-cutting.  The DVLA has said that removing the print and postage costs for the old tax disc will save around £10 million each year.

Won’t this stop tax evaders being caught?

No.  From now on the police, the DVLA and other enforcement agencies will use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras.  Combined with the electronic vehicle register this will mean the tax discs are no longer needed for physical checks.

Does this increase the risk of me driving an untaxed car?

Some motorists are concerned that without being able to check the tax disc, they could potentially end up driving an un-taxed vehicle through rental companies or a car pool.  However, the car tax status of any vehicle can now be checked online using the make and registration details.

How will the payment system change?

Currently, motorists are required to pay their vehicle tax in advance, in an annual or six-monthly instalments.  However, with the new regulations come the possibility of paying via direct debit for car tax in annual, biannual or monthly payments, with the latter two having a 5% surcharge.

Doesn’t this affect the used car market?

Yes.  Previously, used cars would be sold with tax remaining.  Under the new regulations, tax cannot be transferred.  The buyer will be expected to tax the car immediately, with the seller instead receiving a refund for any full months remaining.

Won’t this slow down the sale?

According to the DVLA, no.  It is now possible to tax the car using the ‘new keeper supplement’ of the V5C.  This allows the tax payer to go onto the DVLA website (or use the 24 hour service) and tax the vehicle straight away.  You’ll also still be able to buy car tax in a Post Office.

Wednesday
Oct012014

Diesel or petrol: making the choice

One of the first decisions that you have to make when picking up your first car is whether you want to go with a petrol vehicle or a diesel one.  Today, we’re going to take a look at the differences between the two, and which one is likely to suit you best.

The price difference

In the UK, diesel can be more expensive than petrol, with fuel pricing favouring the latter.  As well as this, the advances in petrol engine technology has led to increased levels of efficiency, bringing it closer to diesel.  As a result, the diesel premium – typically between £1000 and £2000 on an otherwise identical vehicle – can now be seriously questioned.

One of the most common arguments is that, in the long run, diesel vehicles are more economical.  This is certainly true; however, it can take much longer than people think to recoup the costs.  (If you’re unsure, consider using this Which? petrol and diesel fuel calculator to work out how long it would take you).

The other key financial consideration to make is the residual value of the cars: namely, that diesel cars generally retain their value better than their petrol-based cousins.  They’re currently in high demand, with consumers looking for better fuel economy and lower car tax rates. 

Reliability

A study conducted by Which? in 2012 showed that, as a general rule, diesel-powered cars were slightly less reliable than petrol ones.  Not by a huge amount, but if you don’t have a lot of disposable cash to spend on repairs it’s something worth bearing in mind.

Repairs

Typically, routine maintenance costs are similar for both petrol and diesel cars.  The difference comes on the more in-depth, serious repairs are often more expensive for a diesel system.  One noticeable problem with diesel cars is their use of particulate filters, filters that sometimes get clogged (especially if the car is only used on short journeys).  Replacing them is a repair that can sometimes stretch into the thousands.

Car tax, insurance and servicing

Diesel engines are normally more efficient than their petrol counterparts – it remains one of their main selling points. As a result, their CO2 usage is typically lower, leading to correspondingly lower car tax liability.  However, the difference in serving costs is largely pretty negligible.

The price of insurance will largely vary according to the model of the car: for some, diesel will be cheaper.  For others, it’ll be petrol.  No useful information to impart here, we’re afraid!

What else should you take into account?

Smooth driving.  Never to be underestimated! Traditional views hold that petrol cars are usually quieter, smoother and faster than their diesel counterparts.  However, in recent years diesel models have become more refined, so if this your main interest it’s worth giving them a try.

Diesel engines typically offer increased torque from lower revs, which is useful when towing or over-taking.

Overall, diesel cars will use less fuel for a given mileage, and are considered much better for the environment.  If you’re a green thinker, then you should definitely consider investing in a diesel model.

ASM stock a wide range of different car parts.  To find out more, visit our online store here.

Thursday
Sep252014

A guide to buying a salvage car

At ASM, we work to provide modern motorists to help them manage their driving finances.  Car salvage auctions are one of the main services that we offer, and we’re going to use today to take a look at how any driver can benefit from them.

So, what is a salvaged car?

Put simply, a salvaged car is one that an insurance company no longer considers fit for use on the road, in its current state.  If the total damage exceeds a certain percentage of the value of the car (ranging from 75-90 percent), it will be declared a ‘total loss’ by the insurance company and sold to us.

So, why would I want to buy a salvaged car?

Put simply, the price.  Salvaged cars can be bought at a tiny fraction of the cost of other used cars.  What’s more, many insurance firms will ‘total’ a car for reasons other than major defects in the structure or mechanics.  As a result, salvaged cars can offer outstanding value for money, with the buyer paying far less (including for the cost of repairs) than they would for the same vehicle in the used market.  Salvaged cars can be a complete bargain.

I’m in! What should I look out for when buying a salvage vehicle?

Here are our tips on finding the right vehicle to suit your needs:

  • Obtain full details of the vehicle.  All salvaged cars are damaged in some way.  However, damage can vary substantially.  You should learn your categories for rating vehicle damage.  ‘A’ damage is terrible, ‘B’ is bad and ‘C’ and ‘D’ designated workable damage. (The latter two are less common in salvage lots).   
  • Try and inspect the car. Generally speaking, a pre-purchase inspection can pay for itself.  Always ask if you can view the car up-front.  Know what you’re actually bidding on.
  • Look out for theft recovery vehicles.  One category that you should look out for is theft recovery.  If a stolen car isn’t recovered within three weeks, then the insurance company will pay the original owner and write the car off as a complete loss.  However, if the car is then found it will often still be written off as salvaged!
  • Buy from a reputable dealer.  A company like ASM has years of experience in helping our customers get their hands on the highest quality salvaged vehicles available.  The last thing you want is to purchase a vehicle from a less-than-stellar firm.

To find out more, get in touch with ASM Autos today, and we’ll be happy to help you further.

Tuesday
Aug122014

The Complete Guide to Scrapping Your Car

Every year in Britain, around two million cars are scrapped. There are many things you can do with an old car, of course, but the simple fact is that scrapping is still often the most fiscally sensible thing to do with your vehicle. Today, we’re going to look at the essential things anyone looking to scrap their car needs to know.

The regulations

The most important thing to be aware of is that there are thorough regulations in place for those scrapping cars. Vehicles must always be scrapped at an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) such as ASM Autos. Licenses must be issued by the Environmental Agency or the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. The regulations are in place to help minimise the amount of environmental damage caused by the scrapping sector – battery acid, gearbox oil and engine parts can all be hazardous if not disposed with properly.

Insurance write-offs

It’s worth noting that if your vehicle has been written off by your insurance company rather than by your own decision, then you’ll need to complete the V5C/3 ‘Notification of sale or transfer’ section of your registration certificate and send it into the DVLA.  The rest of the registration certificate should be sent through to your insurance company, who may then ask you to provide the rest of it.

The CoD

If the AFT agrees to scrap your vehicle, then you should be issued a Certificate of Destruction (CoD) within 7 days if you’re scrapping a car, light van or 3-wheeled motor vehicle (not including motor tricycle).  The CoD is your proof that you’ve handed the vehicle over for scrap and that you’re no longer responsible for it.

You can still scrap other types of vehicle, but you won’t be able to obtain a CoD.  The ATF should instead notify the DVLA, who will update the vehicle’s record to show that it’s been scrapped. You are then responsible for completing section 9 of your V5C vehicle registration certificate and sending it through to the DVLA. They should then send a response letter within 4 weeks.

On some occasions the ATF may instead decide to re-sell your vehicle rather than scrapping it. If that’s the case, then you’ll need to complete section 9 of your V5C vehicle registration certificate (the ‘Notification of sale or transfer’ section) and send it through to the DVLA.

A note on personalised registrations

If you’ve got a personalised registration, you’ll have to transfer the registration or fill in form V317 before the vehicle is scrapped. If you don’t do so, you’ll permanently lose your entitlement to the personalised number! If the insurance firm is responsible for scrapping the vehicle, then you’ll need to inform them not to dispose of the vehicle until the registration plated has been transferred. Again, when they’ve done this you should get a letter of no interest from the insurers confirming they’re happy to transfer or retain the number, and a copy of the engineer’s report confirming the vehicle’s details.

Get in touch

ASM are experienced scrappers who pay excellent prices. Get in touch today and we’ll be happy to discuss picking up your vehicle. You can call us on 01844 268 940 (Opt.2).

Friday
Aug012014

Work related road risk should ‘become a priority’

Employers and the government should be doing more to ensure that work-related road safety prioritised alongside traditional health and safety, a new report has argued.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) spoke to both the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and the Centre for Transport Studies at University College London (UCL) to evaluate the current management of occupational road risk in the UK.

The report assesses the progress made in recent years by employers looking to manage the risks that their staff face whilst driving for work. It makes various recommendations, in particular that data related to driving improve through better recording by both the Health and Safety Executive and the police. It also calls for more effective evaluation of current road safety approaches.

The government has no current plans to make the reporting of work-related driving accidents part of RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations).

Transport minister Robert Goodwill spoke to Fleet News, saying:

“We’re not looking at incorporating road traffic accidents into RIDDOR. We already get police statistics fed into the DFT and I think we could be in danger of double-counting if we were also including that type of accident as accidents at work as well as road traffic accidents.

“I’ve not heard any compelling arguments as to why this would give us any better information of what’s happening.”

The report also highlighted the importance of analysing in-car data recorders and monitoring technology. Dr Shaun Helman, TRL head of Transport Psychology, said:

“Work-related driving remains an important area for action if we are to sustain progress in reducing road injuries.

“Although some businesses are switched on to the issue, most of the time injuries sustained on the road are not afforded the same priority as injuries sustained on work premises and sites. This needs to change.”

Between 2006 and today, more than 4,726 people died in accidents involving at-work drivers. More than 40,000 were seriously injured in the same period, making it one of the most serious road safety issues in the UK.  What’s more, the figures do not include those of commuters.

Kevin Clinton, the head of road safety at RoSPA, said:

“Injuries and deaths sustained from work-related driving remain a priority action point for both road and occupational safety.

“Up to one-third of road accidents involve someone who is using the road for work purposes.”

“This review further emphasises the need for the awareness of MORR (managing occupational road risk) to be raised and given the priority it deserves.”

The European Transport Safety Council recently released a report along the same lines. The Business Case for Managing Road Risk at Work aims to show how pro-active methods can help improve road safety management.

The BCFMRRAW says:

“Injuries and deaths sustained from work-related driving remain a priority action point for both road and occupational safety.

“Up to one-third of road accidents involve someone who is using the road for work purposes.”

“This review further emphasises the need for the awareness of MORR (managing occupational road risk) to be raised and given the priority it deserves.”

The report argues that there are various convincing arguments for preparing and implementing a work-related road risk management (WRRRM) programme. For instance, better journey planning matched with defensive driving techniques could increase road safety whilst cutting back asset and fuel use.