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Thursday
Sep292016

The pitfalls of buying used cars – ASM’s new infographic

At ASM Auto Recycling, we pride ourselves on running an online used car parts store that’s as good as any you’ll find anywhere.  Great quality parts, at even better prices.
But, not everyone who works in the used car market is as trustworthy as us.  To help raise awareness of the potential pitfalls that come when purchasing used cars, we’ve created this brand new infographic chockfull of useful information.
Some of the most interesting things we’ve taken a look at are:
  • Clocking.  The average UK car does between 10,000 and 12,000 miles each year, and mileage is one of the main things people look at when working out how healthy a car is.  So (unfortunately) it was almost inevitable that less-than-scrupulous individuals would work out a way of ‘clocking’ a car – that is, reducing the mileage displayed on the dashboard.
  • Cloning.  This is a technique where a vehicle is fitted with stolen number plates taken from an identical vehicle with the aim of deceiving cameras or rendering vehicles untraceable.  This might sound like a rare occurrence, but it’s really not: about 1.75 million of the 37 million vehicles in the UK are estimated to wear cloned plates, and more than 100,000 plates are stolen each year.
  • Cut and shut.  A cut-and-shut vehicle consists of two or more cars which are welded together to form one. With 500,000 cars being written off each year, there is a lot of opportunity for individuals to take advantage of wrecked vehicles in order to make a profit.  Remarkably, one out of every four vehicles checked by HPI has been written off.
As well as some of these main pitfalls, we’ve also taken a look at some of the ways in which you can protect yourself when purchasing a used car, taking in everything from:
  • How much wear and tear the car’s suffered – everything from the steering wheel to the carpets to the pedals - can suffer from visible wear-and-tear.
  • Checking out the full history of the car at https://hpicheck.com/
  • Checking out the car’s current MOT certification at https://www.gove.uk/check-mot-history
  • Checking the car’s mileage at http://www.motorcheck.co.uk/faqs/car-check-for-clocked-mileage/
  • Ensuring you take a look at the car’s VIN number, which will often display signs of tampering.  This will usually be found on a small plate riveted under the bonnet, stamped on the chassis or sometimes in the door pillar or on the base of the windscreen.

Please use the code below to add this infographic to your site

Monday
Sep052016

MOT: the complete guide

You probably already know about the MOT, Britain’s annual test of vehicle safety, roadworthiness and emissions. The MOT is a legal requirement in Great Britain, so it pays to understand the ins and outs of it.

We know, however, that everyone has to take a first MOT at some point.  That’s why we’ve put together this guide on everything you need to bear in mind when taking your vehicle in for its annual check-up.

When should you get an MOT?

The MOT test is designed to ensure that your vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards: as such, it’s something that has to be carried out annually.

You’re legally required to get an MOT for a vehicle either on:

  • The third anniversary of its registration, or
  • The anniversary of its last MOT, if the vehicle is over three-years-old

(Note: there are a few vehicles that need to be tested having been on the road for just one year. Check out the government MOT fees table to see if your vehicle is applicable).

Remember, you can be fined up to £1000 for driving a vehicle without a valid MOT, so it pays to get the test done promptly.

So, when is the earliest you can get an MOT?

An MOT is certified for a year and the date it runs out will be printed on the most recent certificate.  If you want, you can get an MOT up to a month (minus a day) before the certificate runs out and you’ll still be permitted to keep the same renewal date.

For example, if your MOT is due to run out on 14th May 2017, the earliest you could have the next one in order to keep the same renewal date would be 15th April 2017.

If you want to, you can get an MOT earlier than this. However the renewal date for the following year will then be different.

If your MOT has run out, you cannot legally drive your vehicle on the road and you will be prosecuted if caught. There are two exceptions to this rule:

  • If you’re driving to or from somewhere to have the vehicle repaired, or:
  • If you’re heading to a pre-arranged MOT test

How can you book an MOT?

MOT’s must be carried out at an approved MOT test centre. You can tell a certified centre because they’ll show the blue sign with three white triangles - the symbol that represents certification.

Important: don’t pay more than you have to.  MOT centres have maximum fees in place and cannot charge more than this.

How does the MOT test work?

A number of important parts on your vehicle will be checked to ensure that they meet the legal standards. If you want to, you can watch the test from a viewing area: but you’re not allowed to interrupt the person doing the testing.

For a more comprehensive guide on which parts are actually tested, you can check out the government pages for cars and motorcycles.  It’s also worth familiarising yourself with the MOT guide and inspection manuals, which provide a wealth of information.

Getting your test result

The MOT is either a pass or fail.  If your car fails the test, you’ll be given a list of things that need to be repaired before it can pass.

If it passes, you’ll be given an MOT certificate from the test centre and the result of the test will be recorded in the national MOT database.

You’ll also notice that your MOT certificate will show the mileage recorded at the current and previous three test passes.  It’s important to have a quick look at these figures - which are recorded as the ‘odometer reading and history’ - as you need to report any mistakes on the reading to the MOT centre within seven days in order to obtain a replacement certificate.

If you fail

Unfortunately, this happens.  If your vehicle fails, you will be given the ‘Refusal of an MOT test certificate’ from the test centre, and again the result will be recorded in the MOT database.

If you want to, you can appeal the result.

In the result of a fail, you can take your vehicle away if your MOT certificate is still valid. If your MOT has run out, however, you need to take your vehicle to have the failed defects fixed.

Remember, your vehicle is legally required to meet the minimum standards of roadworthiness at all times.  If it doesn’t, you can be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and also incur three penalty points on your licence. 

What happens if you want to appeal?

As we mentioned above, you can appeal an MOT test failure and you can also complain to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). 

If you want to, you can take your own action against an MOT test centre through trading standards, legal proceedings or through reporting the centre to the police.  It’s worth noting, of course, that the DVSA won’t help you take action against the centre.

Appealing to the DVSA

If you want to appeal to the DVSA, you need to fill in their own complaint form and send it to them within 14 working days of the test. They will then offer you an appointment within five days to recheck your vehicle - you’ll need to pay the full test fee again - and send you an inspection report listing any vehicle defects and advisory changes that need to be made.

What if it’s the other way around?

If you think your car has passed when it shouldn’t have, the process is very similar. You should fill in the complaint form and send it to the DVSA within the following time limits:

  • Within three months of the MOT if the problem is corrosion related
  • Within 28 days if the vehicle has passed for other defects

Is your MOT certificate genuine?

You can check this by looking at the MOT status page here.

Are there any exceptions to the MOT?

Yes, there are a few vehicles that don’t require an MOT:

  • Cars and motorcycles made before 1960
  • Goods vehicles powered by electricity
  • Tractors

Lorries, buses and trailers still require a test, but it’s not an MOT as such.  Click here to find out more about the annual test for these vehicles.

Contact the DVSA

If you’ve got any questions about your MOT, you can contact the DVSA here:

DVSA
Telephone: 0300 123 9000
Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 6pm

Keep your car in tip-top condition

One of the most effective ways to ensure your car is in great condition – and has a better chance of passing its MOT – is through replacing those older parts. Remember, ASM Auto Recycling has an online store full of high-quality parts here.

Monday
Aug222016

Motorists call for tougher phone driver penalties

RAC researchers revealed almost half of motorists believe the current combination of a fine and points for illegally using mobile phones whilst driving is insufficient for a punishment.

Over 2000 motorists were surveyed, with 52 per cent feeling that the current penalty of three points and a fine of £100 for phone-using drivers should be increased. Only 41 per cent of respondents believed that the current penalty is sufficient.

However, nearly a third of respondents did not believe that changing the penalty would alter the behaviour of those motorists who are happy to break the law in this manner.

Of the 52 per cent of motorists that believe the penalty is not enough, a fifth (21 per cent) believe that both the number of penalty points issued and the fine should increase. 12 per cent believe the just the fine should rise and 6 per cent stated that an increase in points would be enough.

One-in-ten (11 per cent) respondents took a harsher view, believing that disqualification from driving was the only course of action likely to actually have an effect on driver behaviour.

Over two-thirds of the motorists surveyed by RAC stated their wish for more police officers on the road in order to catch offenders.

Survey respondents offered a number of strong views, with 76 per cent believing mobile phone users were putting other people’s lives at risk and 60 per cent calling the use of a handheld phone whilst driving ‘selfish and irresponsible.’

Almost two-thirds (61 per cent) of respondents who believed the offence should carry a higher fine called for an increase to at least £200 and 36 per cent believed it should be at least £450. Of those who called for an increase in penalty points, 61 per cent called for a rise to 6 points, with 14 per cent in favour of more than this.

On 15 March this year, the Government closed its consultation on raising the fine from £100 to £150 and on increasing the penalty points for non-HGV drivers from three to four. The results of the consultation are due to be published imminently, with motorists around the UK keen to see the results.

Just over a quarter (27 per cent) of respondents to the RAC survey said they believe the changes are a good idea, with a 61 per cent majority believing that the legislative changes would have no impact on the minority who continue to use their mobile phones whilst behind the wheel.

Simon Williams, RAC spokesman, said: “There is a very strong feeling from law-abiding motorists that something needs to be done to make drivers stop using their phones while driving.

"But while people want the penalties for committing this offence to be beefed up there is also an acceptance that nothing is likely to change due primarily to a lack of enforcement.

“From 2010 to 2015 England and Wales experienced a 27 per cent decline in the number of roads police officers.

"The number of fixed penalty notices issued for using a handheld phone while driving reduced dramatically from a high of 125,500 in 2009 to 52,400 in 2012.

"In line with this, our own research has found that motorists believe there is little chance of being caught by a police officer (as opposed to a camera) for a driving offence.”

Monday
Aug082016

Confidential driver data was accessed by accident management firms

A new investigation by RMIF National Association of Bodyshops (NAB) has revealed that driver data - including both phone numbers and addresses - may have been accessed by third parties not involved in the repair of vehicles.

The bodyshop repair firm has spent several months investigating potentially serious leaks of confidential information by repairer management systems, with personal data being released to third-party legal firms and other accident management companies.

Jason Moseley, the executive director for NAB, said: “We have direct evidence that data entered into bodyshop systems has found its way, in a matter of hours, into the hands of third party organisations.

“We have been analysing, with our members, the terms and conditions of the various agreements in place with repairer management systems, whether they are entitled to do this and the nature, scope and validity of such activity.

“As part of an internal investigation, one of the bodyshops involved entered fictitious data into the system to attempt to draw out a reaction. Within a few hours of this data entry, a call was received from an accident management company trying to leverage a compensation claim.”

The NAB has already informed the legal authorities and begun to work with them behind the scenes in order to obtain more information on what could be one of the UK aftermarket industry’s most alarming cases.

Mr Moseley said: “We do not yet know if these actions are legitimate disclosures, the result of a cyber-attack or a physical breach of such systems, so we have taken no chances and launched an investigation.

“We will be pushing hard with our members to bring more transparency and collaborating with the necessary authorities. We must get to the truth.

“Addressing this particular issue forms part of our overall strategy to ensure that bodyshops, and consumers, are treated fairly.”

Monday
Jul182016

Car makers seek to cut structural weight

Both Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) are to make use of a £38.2 million government fund to cut down the structural weight of their vehicles.

Structural weight accounts for 15-20% of a vehicle’s gross weight, but the overall aim is for the manufacturers to cut up to 60 per cent from their fleet overall.

The two manufacturers will receive £1.7m to research ‘light-join’ technology: a technique found in both Formula One cars and space satellites.  It’s hoped this will enable the creation of cars that are lighter and more efficient.

Cars like the Nissan Leaf could potentially lose more than half their weight through use of the new techniques, resulting in their maximum distance being extended to more than 200 miles from the current maximum of 155.

Both manufacturers are already part of a consortium that uses components made from composites, which can reduce weight when used strategically in the right areas of the vehicle.

Light-join technology could enable weight reductions of around 30 per cent when compared to an all-aluminium alloy structure and 60 per cent when compared to an all-steel structure.

A spokesman for JLR noted their intention is to use the technology in all their vehicles if testing proves successful, rather than just on their hybrid and electric vehicle (EV) lines.  Working prototypes are expected to be finished by 2018, with the techniques reaching passenger cars by 2020.

Nissan’s Intelligent Driving System (IDS) concept has an estimated range of 340 miles and it’s already been hinted that it’ll be used in the next-generation Leaf, a vehicle that could well also benefit from the weight-saving techniques.

The light-join consortium also includes a number of other companies: Gestamp, Stadco, Scott Bader, Granta Design, TWI, Far UK and WMG.

A range of different tests will be carried out on vehicles using the new technology, including safety checks, crash simulations and measurement of engine noise and vibration.

JLR also highlighted the potential value that light-join could offer regarding EU fleet average CO2 emissions.

Their spokesman said: “Light-join is the latest example of our approach. In other programmes we’re optimising the internal combustion engine, producing advanced hybrid and battery-electric propulsion systems, and introducing more new, lightweight materials.”

“We are on a very positive trajectory to reduce vehicle emissions and improve fuel economy through more efficient and downsized engines and alternative powertrains, lighter vehicles and improved vehicle energy conservation.”