Changes For Car Owners In 2017

Changes for car owners in 2017As the wheel turns on another year, we are left looking at the changes to come in 2017. We will guide you through the changes taking place for new and current car owners in the UK. By staying ahead of the bills and trials coming in the next year, we can help you manage and save time, stress and money on your car. As the year has progressed so far, we have been seeing more scandals and plans for a Britain outside the EU.

Car Emissions Scandal

While it may sound like old news, there have been grumblings in parliament and in courts across the UK about potential compensation akin to the $19.2 billion VW payed out for customers in the US. While the same amount is not expected for UK, there may be a handsome sum of up to £3000 per owner. It also turns out, VW may not be the only culprit. In a german study, It was revealed that BMW and Mercedes could also be cheating out emissions tests. Fiat Chrysler has also been caught out by the french emissions authority, with about 4,500 cars in the UK being affected. Further, a UK study also showcased the scale of the problem with the top 37 selling cars screeching up to 4 times higher than the emissions regulation. It would be worth seeing how this develops as you might be in for a pot of compensation.

Killer Airbags Scandal

A startling discovery by Takata has uncovered their explosive airbags that could do more harm than a crash. A metal inflation cartridge has been found to expand so rapidly that fragmented shards are shot out into the interior of the vehicle. This deadly airbag has been responsible for almost 200 deaths and injuries in the US. A range of models across brands are affected and are being recalled. Make sure to check if your car is affected. Consult your dealer or visit your manufacturer’s website for more details.

New VED Road Tax 2017

Before you panic, these new taxes are only being introduced for new cars. In the latest government effort to reduce emissions, car owners could be paying up to £2000 extra tax on top of the car’s purchase price in the first year, and then a possible £140 every year after that. Cars costing over £40,000 will also have to pay £310 on top of their standard rates, and there is no sneaking in a leather interior, as the final price of the vehicle is checked off against the new tax. The losers here are obviously the gas guzzling luxury models, while the clean standard electric models will have a whopping £0 during their lifetime on the road.

There are some cars which will lose out, ultra low emission hybrid cars, which previously enjoyed reduced rates, will now have to stump up the £140 standard rate from year two. Most people think this is a step in the right direction, and for most cars their car tax will be cheaper than it has been in previous years. Additionally, it is the push towards emission free that most people welcome. There will be a rush in sales of new cars before this tax comes into effect in April, so ride the wave of dealership discounts or opt for a used model.

Potential Changes To MOT Tests

As cars become more reliable and regulated, they are less likely to fail in their early years. The number of three or four year old vehicles involved in accidents because of faults has dropped substantially from 155 in 2006 to 57 in 2015. This has sparked calls for new cars to be given an extra year of MOT exemption, from 3 to 4 years. This would save UK motorists a whopping £100 million in MOT fees however there are calls against it from garages and road safety authorities. Safety standards are usually maintained by the annual service of the vehicle, however the loss of work to the car repair industry could see their prices rise to cover. Some of our mechanics have said it won’t have much of an impact, but MOT centres may take a hit.

The Impact Of Inflation And Exhange Rates On Cars

Brexit had a lot of impact, a big one being the catastrophic drop of the pound vs the dollar, the pound has lost 20p in value. It is obvious when scaling that up, just how much of a dent that leaves in company finances. While many prepared and have shown a brave face, the pound has not recovered yet and so the bill is passed onto consumers.

Already car prices have inched up, with even UK companies such as Vauxhall having to bump up their prices by up to £500 or 2.5%. The largest increase is seen with Tesla who upped their prices by 5%, with some models seeing price increases of up to £4000. This will probably lead to price decreases in the used car market as dealers try to make up their loses. A mechanic told us he was worried about the price rises, as fuel, parts and living expenses are all set to increase.

The Cost Of Car Insurance Will Go Up

The cost of insurance across the country is stacking up to it’s highest levels since 2012, as prices increase by a whopping 14% year on year. Research done by, has shown motorists will be saddled with an extra £95, increasing the average cost of insurance to £767. There is an obvious age disparity with under 25s being charged over £2000 and the over 60s paying less than £500. But there is an interesting gender disparity, against EU regulations, of over £100 in premiums. This can be thought to be driven by the apparent higher fees for young male drivers tipping the scales. Even third party insurance has risen by 15%, so we have a few tips to drive down these costs:

  1. Adding a second responsible driver can push down the prices by thousands.
  2. Setting a slightly higher excess, keep it manageable.
  3. Malleable Job roles give multiple job descriptions to choose, which may save hundreds.

Speeding Fines Racing Up

If you are going over 20mph over the speed limit, a punishment would be in order according to the law. These alarming speeds are getting extra punishments of 150% of the weekly wage. This should discourage drag races around town or extreme driving on the motorways. The other punishments remain the same, disqualifying drivers by up to 56 days or 6 points on a license. Be wary on the roads, and touching the speed limit is fast enough for any area.

Self-Driving Cars In The UK

Nissan has tooled up one of their cars with lidar radars, which will drive a fixed route in London. The Nissan Leaf model is already available but a self driving version is not expected to be on the market until 2020, after there are some serious debates in parliament. They are not the only manufacturer exploring autonomous vehicles, Volvo has said they will test 100 cars this year while Jaguar Land Rover said they will test the same amount by 2020. There is already some automation on our roads today, as some car owners have assisted braking and parking, this technology has been around for almost 17 years with radar systems before. While there have been accidents and a fatality, all are caused by driver error, even the infamous running a red light.

Changes To Driving Tests

Changes to practical driving tests are to be introduced later this year, with a focus on reflecting more real environments. Here is a little run down of what’s in and what’s out:

  • 10 minutes more of independent driving
    That puts the total to 20 minutes of driving around with a set of instructions from the examiner. This is hoped to encourage the decision making skills of being able to think without the examiner.
  • Sat-navs
    While many may dismiss this as ridiculous, it is a vital skill for any driver as all modern cars now have a satnav built in. The voice, guide and prompts may be a distracting force and dealing with that pressure driving is important.
  • Reversing around a corner
    This hardly used turn is being replaced by parking practices, where a similar skill would be necessary. The proper parking methods, particularly in a parking lot, is crucial to avoiding those nasty scratches and bumps.
  • Road signs
    Referencing them while independently driving has been usurped by the use of a sat-nav. The real life application of a sat-nav in most modern cars means signage isn’t required as they guide you through the correct paths.

A Bumpy Road Ahead

The landslide decisions of 2016 will cascade across the world this year, with the UK looking to start Brexit negotiations in March. The scandals of 2016 are also being resolved, with massive payouts for emission cheats and an airbag recall for a wide range of cars. New cars look to take a big hit with import costs rising and new road taxes coming into effect. Car owners will also be looking at the rising costs of insurance coupled with a potential rise in insurance rates. New drivers also have Mr T to worry about as he guides them through a longer independent driving test, meant to enhance the independence of the driver. Hopefully, in 10 years time we may not have to worry about driving at all.