Could Brexit Make Your Car Repair More Expensive?

On 31st January, the UK will leave the European Union and enters the next stage to finalise Brexit. With 11 crucial months of trade talks ahead, we take a look at what Brexit means for UK drivers and the impact on the cost of repairing, maintaining and running a car.

The impact of Brexit on the cost of car repair

UK motorists could see a 10% rise in their annual repair and service bill once the UK leaves the EU single market. The collective car repair bill could rise by more than £2billion due to new tariffs.

This according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), assumes the UK will fall back into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules in a hard Brexit situation. The new research falls in line with many other industries predicting sharp inflation, due to higher import/export costs.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Our car maintenance sector is one of Europe’s most competitive, and motorists enjoy a great choice over where they have their cars serviced. However, if we don’t secure a new trading relationship with the EU that is free of tariffs and customs checks, British consumers could face significant increases to their annual car repair bill due to new tariffs and other trade barriers…If we don’t secure a new trading relationship with the EU that is free of tariffs and customs checks, British consumers could face significant increases to their annual car repair bill due to new tariffs and other trade barriers…The government must now prioritise an interim arrangement that maintains a single market and customs union membership until the right trade deal with the EU is implemented.”

In 2016, the UK automotive aftermarket sector grew by 2.4% in terms of turnover to £21.6 billion, creating an extra 1,400 jobs. The market now employs almost 350,000 people, more than the population of Coventry.

The amount and age of vehicles in the UK will only increase, as cars last longer than before. The UK automotive aftermarket sector is on track to grow to £28 billion, with 400,000 employees by 2022.

The SMMT’s report suggests that WTO tariffs will add between 2.5-4.5% onto car parts, adding an average of £21 to replacement parts. Quotas, subsidies, customs delays, and regulatory barriers could add an extra £49 for all these handling issues.

The UK government has signaled there will be a hard Brexit, with Prime Minister Theresa May suggesting “no deal is better than a bad deal” and “free movement will end in March 2019” which is a tenant to single market access. This presents the picture that the UK could fall back on the WTO rules, outside of the single market.

The SMMT stress the magnitude of the tariff problems with “80% of replacement car parts fitted to British cars are imported, with almost three-quarters of these coming from EU-based suppliers. However, the manufacture of components in the UK is growing, making the risk of tariffs on British products sold in Europe and other key global markets another major concern.”

The report finally suggested that WTO tariffs on parts exported from the UK could cost the industry £3 billion in lost revenue, “with a potential impact on future investment and jobs”.

The impact of Brexit on buying a used car

If as a result of failed negotiations on trade tariffs we will see new car prices going up (up to 10% on WTO terms), it is likely that used car prices will follow suit. The change in prices could mean that more people are putting off buying a new car, hang on to their car for longer or are opting to purchase a used car instead of a new one leading to more demand on the used car market.

The impact of Brexit on insuring a car

A rather overlooked issue, but currently drivers are covered by a ruling by the European Court of Justice which requests insurers to offer equal premiums for male and female drivers. Upon leaving the EU, this directive could be reviewed or abandoned by the UK government, meaning that insurers could charge different costs by gender with premiums for male drivers potentially going up. Another privilege that could be affected is the EU wider coverage for motorists. At the moment, the UK driver’s insurance covers them for driving across the EU. If this directive is abandoned as well, you might have to look into purchasing additional insurance should you plan to go on a road trip across the continent.

The impact of Brexit on running a car

A rather overlooked issue, but currently drivers are covered by a ruling by the European Court of Justice which requests insurers to offer equal premiums for male and female drivers. Upon leaving the EU, this directive could be reviewed or abandoned by the UK government, meaning that insurers could charge different costs by gender with premiums for male drivers potentially going up. Another privilege that could be affected is the EU wider coverage for motorists. At the moment, the UK driver’s insurance covers them for driving across the EU. If this directive is abandoned as well, you might have to look into purchasing additional insurance should you plan to go on a road trip across the continent.

The Complete Guide To The Check Engine Light

Car dashboard with warning lights

A check engine light might leave you with a sinking feeling, and a burning hole in your wallet. It could mean there is an expensive problem like a catalytic converter issue, or there might just be a loose part. Regardless of the worry, you should get it looked at. This means any small issues can be taken care of before they cause further damage, or even void your car’s next MOT. Never ignore the check engine light.

The check engine light, also known as the Malfunction Indicator Lamp, is a signal from the engine control unit (ECU) which indicates that there is a fault with the engine system. There are a number of issues that can make the check engine light come on. Exhaust emissions issues, battery issues or other engine related issues can all be causes.

If your check engine light does come up it’s worth getting a diagnostic done to pinpoint the exact underlying problem. Diagnostic inspections usually cost around £40 to £60 depending on where you are in the country. Mechanics will have a plug-in diagnostic tool that will display the issue to them. Some rare cars may require a dealer to read off certain fault codes, they will have specialist equipment for those vehicles.

Remember, a “service required’ light is not to be confused with a “check engine” light, however, these are related. A service light means that you need an oil change or other similar maintenance, bear in mind that if the light is ignored it can easily lead to a check engine light, as your engine will grind to a halt without oil.

The check engine light will usually come up in an orange, yellow or amber colour depending on the manufacturer, and a flashing light usually means there is a more serious issue. A flash when starting the car isn’t an issue, it’s just a check by the ECU to make sure the system is working.

Can I just ignore a check engine warning light?

The light comes on, what do you do? A solid light means you should get the car checked soon, while a blinking light needs immediate treatment.

Remember that the check engine light in all cases means that engine performance is being impacted, hurting your fuel consumption and wallet as you pay for more fuel. Get the car checked by a mechanic. You should get a quote for the amount to fix the issue, and the amount of time before it causes further damage. This will let you budget the problem before it spirals into a more expensive problem.

It’s also essential that you pass your MOT and a faulty engine may mean your car is no longer roadworthy. A check engine light can also cause issues when you take your car for an MOT. After all, the check engine light will sometimes mean there is an emissions problem with your car. The emissions are checked during an MOT so if there is an issue your car will fail its MOT. It’s therefore important to get a check of the engine light and get it fixed so that your car can coast through the MOT without any issues.

Remember, you may not feel immediately something is wrong with the car even if the check engine light is on. Newer cars will alter how the engine works so performance is not severely affected, meaning you may not feel a problem for a long time. However, the issues will be hidden in your fuel efficiency and emission levels. Make sure you never ignore the check engine light and get it looked at before it is too late. The problem can easily be found with a diagnostic tool and will save you money in the long run!

Can I diagnose the check engine light myself?

You could buy your own plug-in diagnostic tool which connects to the car’s onboard diagnostics (OBD) port. These cost anywhere from £15-£40 but some older cars may require expensive specialist tools instead. Some diagnostic tools can even switch the light off, which may be tempting to do but keep in mind that it will not actually make the problem go away. Your light will come on again.

A diagnostic tool will show you all the fault codes on your vehicle, but it does not show you exactly which parts need replacing or what repairs are needed. Fault codes will point to a problem area on a car and not an exact repair. Further investigation is needed to pinpoint the actual underlying issue. This may entail replacing parts to eliminate any potential causes. This is best left to a professional mechanic who can use his expertise and experience to make the right judgment as to what is needed.

What can I do about the check engine warning light?

There are several minor issues that you can solve which may get the light to come off.

1. Check dashboard gauges
These could indicate low oil pressure or overheating and can be fixed once you pull over. You can stop on the hard shoulder on a motorway or just a car park.

2. Tighten your fuel cap
A loose fuel cap can mean your fuel is getting contaminated by dirt, bugs, or water while driving. Contaminated fuel means that fuel is left unburnt in the exhausts, which triggers emissions warnings. It may take several journeys to reset, and there may be a separate light altogether in your car.

3. Lower your speed & reduce your load
An illuminated check engine light could mean serious problems with your car’s engine. Try to reduce its workload by reducing the speed you go at and, if making a further journey from your destination, take off anything that weighs it down significantly, like a box of tools or other significant weight.

What Are The Top Causes For A Check Engine Light?

The check engine light could come from a variety of reasons around the engine, fuel and exhaust systems. A diagnostic tool will tell you which system is at fault, and then you can perform tests to find the exact problem. Here are a few common issues that cause a check:

A battery fault can cause a check engine light

Check the condition of the battery with a voltmeter, it should at least meet the minimum cranking amperage, as stated in your owner’s manual. Over time, the battery may drain, or after a night left on. Additionally, check for any corrosion of the various terminals and any damage to the fuse box.

Fan, alternator or serpentine belt faults can cause a check engine light

The belts do a lot of work to keep the car cool, translate electrical energy and are an integral part of the engine. They are subject to wear and tear over time or can be damaged by loose debris. You should check the condition of the belts and make replacements to improve the quality of your engine performance.

An oxygen sensor fault can cause a check engine light

The oxygen sensor monitors the unburnt oxygen from the exhaust. This also monitors how much fuel is burnt which is directly linked to emissions. The sensors are regularly covered in exhaust fumes which can affect the quality of the sensor. A faulty sensor will mean the ECU adjusts to decrease the efficiency of the engine, meaning a higher MPG. It will eventually lead to catalytic converter problems, which can cost over £2000. Oxygen sensors can be easily replaced, with the DTC telling you which one is faulty.

A faulty fuel cap can cause a check engine light

A loose, cracked, or broken fuel cap will cause contaminants to enter the system or fuel vapours to leak out. These will both have a noticeable impact on emissions, which usually triggers the engine light. To fix it, you should get it tightened, or replaced if it is cracked. A fuel cap shouldn’t cost a lot and all you need is a screwdriver to fix. This should also help you MPG.

A faulty catalytic converter can cause a check engine light

The catalytic converter is part of the exhaust system, working to reduce the amount of harmful exhaust gases. It converts potentially lethal carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. A failing catalytic converter will decrease your fuel efficiency and may put the car into limp mode. It usually fails when driving in purely urban environments, with many stop-starts, which deny the catalytic converter from regenerating. You can fix the catalytic converter by taking a half an hour continuous drive on a motorway, which will activate systems that clean soot from the catalytic converter. If the problem persists then you will need a mechanic to do a forced regeneration or get an expensive replacement.

A faulty mass airflow sensor can cause a check engine light

The mass airflow sensor signals the ECU about the amount of air coming through to the engine, so the right amount of fuel can also be used. A faulty mass airflow sensor may have your car stalling and have a noticeable impact on MPG. It can fail because of a faulty air filter, which you should replace once a year in your annual or scheduled service. You can keep driving with a broken mass airflow sensor but you’ll notice the hole in your wallet. It doesn’t cost a lot to replace an air filter, but if the problem persists then you may have to get a mass airflow sensor replaced, which can easily cost over £200.

Faulty spark plugs can cause a check engine light

The spark plugs provide the spark for every little explosion in your engine. Failing plugs can be noticed by a car ‘hiccupping’ when accelerating. They fail roughly every 30,000 miles and get replaced in our major service.

There is obviously a vast array of reasons, which can leave most people nervous to get a check engine light checked out. You should be responsible for your car and the safety of others on the road. Sometimes it isn’t a long procedure but it’s important you understand what exactly is wrong with your car before it gets worse.

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The Complete Guide To Tyre Pressure

Why should I check my tyre pressure regularly?

Tyre pressure is vital to keeping your car rolling. Deflated tyres don’t grip the road meaning they can handle very badly. This may cause the vehicle to swerve unexpectedly and even cause the tyres to pop. This is incredibly dangerous on a motorway, where the high speeds can leave your car vulnerable to a crash.

Keeping your tyres inflated will also keep your wallet inflated. Deflated tyres require your wheels to revolve more, meaning your engine has to work harder. More fuel gets burnt so your money goes up in smoke.

A deflated tyre will wear down faster than one at the correct pressure. This means the tyre would need replacing a lot sooner than normal, costing you more money.
Make sure to check the tyre pressure, for safety and for the cost.

Are deflated tyres a safety risk?

Tyres that are underinflated will impact on the performance of your vehicle. They provide less grip on the road, leading to unpredictable movements of the entire vehicle. Underinflated tyres are in danger of popping, as heat builds up. The heat wears down the rubber quickly until the pressure causes the air to push through the rubber and blow out.

Both of these issues make driving with a flat or even a slightly deflated tyre dangerous, especially on high-speed motorways. You can find your ideal tyre pressure in your owner’s manual or online.

Are deflated tyres costing me money?

Tyres that are underinflated will have an impact on how much you spend on fuel. The tyres require more energy to move which means the engine works harder and consumes more fuel.

The tyre will also wear down faster, along with many other parts of your engine which are being overworked. Their premature errors usually need repairing, with a tyre blowout needing a wheel replacement. Both of these issues hurt your wallet, and can cost hundreds when air at a fuel station only costs 50p.

What tyre pressure do I need for my car?

As we’ve tried to illustrate, keeping your tyre pressure at the right level is very important to stay safe on the roads. But it can be tricky to figure out what tyre pressure is correct and when. Manufacturers will always state the correct minimum and maximum levels for specific conditions in the service guide for your car. It’s important to periodically check the pressures and make sure they are at the right level.

To find the pressure required for your car, check your handbook. Remember to check your tyre pressures when the tyres are cold, otherwise, you will end up with under-inflated tyres. If you’re not sure how to do it, make sure to get help from an expert.

Happy driving!

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What Is A Fuel Filter & What Does It Do?

The fuel filter is usually shaped like a canister that contains many layers of filter for the fuel. They are a lot more important than you think since the contaminated fuel can cause your engine to fail. Dirt, paint chips, rust, and even fuel contaminants can all cause the fuel to act differently within the engine. This hurts the efficiency of the engine and the pollutants in the exhaust.

Fuel filters are very effective at removing debris in the fuel, but it does mean that they will eventually clog up may lead to an expensive repair. The replacement of the part is usually part of a scheduled car service that occurs at set mileages, per your manufacturer’s recommendations.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad Fuel Filter?

The vehicle doesn’t start
A partial blockage may mean the vehicle is difficult to start. The fuel filter may be so clogged that fuel is completely blocked from flowing to the engine. This will obviously mean the engine fails to start. Clogs in the fuel filter can lead to very expensive engine repairs, so be sure to get a mechanic to check it as soon as possible and book a fuel filter change if needed.

The engine stalls
A partial blockage will cause the fuel to flow unevenly to the engine. An uneven flow means the vehicle may drive smoothly sometimes but will stall when stopped. This means accelerating from a stationary position may be difficult.

The vehicle performs badly at low speeds
A clogged filter may perform well at high speeds but can be caught out at lower speeds. This happens because the fuel pump is pushing the fuel more at higher speeds, which means it can slip through. At lower speeds, the fuel has less pressure behind it so it fails to get through.

The vehicle idles roughly
Rough idles are usually caused by the engine incorrectly combusting, which mainly is due to issues with the fuel. A blocked filter will cause issues with the air to fuel ratios inside the engine.

Happy driving!

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What Is Engine Coolant?

Coolant is a liquid that lubricates your engine and protects it from corrosion. It is usually mixed 50/50 with water which is a better conductor of heat than coolant. The coolant raises the boiling point of water which allows the cooling system to be more pressurized and work more efficiently. Your engine is really a contained explosion device, that powers your car. The series of explosions heats up the engine and can eventually warp the metals inside if it gets too hot. The coolant therefore is very important to ensure your engine does not overheat or rust, and on top of that it also protects the engine from being damaged by the intense friction.

What Coolant Does

The coolant mixture is pumped around the engine by a water pump. The coolant passes through the engine, absorbing heat, and takes it to the radiator. From there, the fins of the radiator allow a lot of air to flow through the engine compartment which cools the coolant down. At lower speeds or idling, a radiator fan is usually active to assist the airflow into the engine compartment. The cooled solution is then sent circulating around the system again. A thermostat will regulate the flow of coolant to keep the engine at an optimum temperature (200℉, 95℃). When the car starts the thermostat will block the flow of coolant to allow the engine to heat up.

Why coolant is important

The heat inside the engine is enough to warp the internal metals. Aside from being functional, the engine also needs to be efficient, which is why there is an optimum temperature. Water alone would boil quickly and evaporate to leave a cooling system full of hot moist air, something that would cause corrosion. The coolant mixture prevents this by having anti-corrosion properties and raising the boiling point of water. The pressure cap on the radiator also helps to maintain the water as a liquid by holding the system at a specific temperature. In cold weather, the coolant also prevents the water from freezing by lowering the melting point.

The coolant will need to be replaced eventually, as while the antifreeze doesn’t expire, the corrosion inhibitors do. Usually, this will be done during your scheduled services. The cooling system needs to be flushed then new coolant will be added. Multiple types of coolant may react badly together and clump together, clogging the system for an expensive repair.

A scheduled service can check the rest of the cooling system for any other issues. A lot of repairs for overheating can be solved by making sure your engine is working well. Ensuring your engine’s cooling system is working just before the summer heat can save you thousands in repair bills.

What Is A Cooling System Thermostat?

A thermostat regulates the amount of coolant flowing through an engine to maintain a certain temperature. The thermostat can usually be found, under the bonnet, between the engine and the radiator. When the car starts to run, the thermostat blocks all coolant, so the engine can quickly get up to an optimum temperature (200℉, 95℃). This temperature helps the car to run smoothly. If the engine temperature rose more gradually, the engine would wear out faster and there would be more toxic emissions.

As the engine gets hotter, a lot of the lubricating oil dries out. The heat will trigger mechanisms inside the thermostat, be they electrical or even wax based. The thermostat opens the path for coolant to run through the engine, cooling and lubricating it. The thermostat will then close again once the engine reaches its optimum temperature. If you’re interested in understanding better how the part works it’s worth buying one from a car parts store just to see it work as if by magic in a cup of boiling water.

Like all bits of a car, the thermostat can fail and unless you have an infrared heat gun lying around it can be hard to spot. The thermostat in extreme conditions can seize up. In hot conditions, this can mean the engine takes a long time to warm up so you release more pollutants. In cold conditions, it can cause your engine to overheat as it has no access to coolant. In both cases it is best to replace the thermostat as soon as possible to prevent damage to the engine.

What Is An Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Valve?

The Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system is designed to reduce harmful nitrogen oxides in the emissions. Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) is an irritant that can cause lung damage if people are exposed to it for long periods of time. The EGR valve recycles some of the exhaust gases back into the engine. The gases reduce the temperature in the engine, so less harmful gases are produced. Most cars require the EGR system to meet emission standards, although some engines are now designed not to need them at all.

What happens when the EGR valve fails?

With exhaust gasses constantly flowing through it, you can imagine the EGR valve isn’t too pretty. Eventually, it sticks and clogs with all of the soot from the exhaust leaving the valve open or closed. A check engine light should be illuminated for either case.

An EGR valve that is open continuously will have a constant flow of gases into the engine, meaning the car will idle rough and stall. You will also notice the MPG comes down and more fuel in the emissions, which you can smell. The lower temperatures will also fail your emissions test in an MOT.

A constantly closed EGR valve may cause the fuel to ignite early, as the temperature is higher. This means you’ll hear pinging at low RPM, then loud bangs as you rev your engine. The bangs will leave you with some extensive engine repairs that are very costly so don’t ignore them. It will also fail your MOT, with the high NOx emissions.

To prevent this to happen, have your EGR valved checked and replaced before your next MOT.

Happy driving!

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The German Car Cartel

German car makers have come under the scrutiny of the European Commission after a tip-off that the auto industry is colluding to fix prices. The companies in question are Volkswagen, Mercedes and BMW. They are said to have discussed pricing of components to lower prices of their cars and gain a competitive advantage over other manufacturers.

The investigation has sent shockwaves through the auto maker market, terrifying investors. Shares in the manufacturers dropped, with BMW down 2.5%, VW down 2.8%, and Daimler (owner of Mercedes-Benz) down 3.4%. There aren’t many details about the information leak but there is currently no sign that consumers were mis-sold or wrongly charged. More details will emerge as the companies will prepare their defence.

Automotive analyst, Stuart Pearson says “More ugly details could yet emerge, leaving German manufacturers – and the EU auto sector – still firmly in the sin bin for now,”. Interestingly they have been accused of having cartel agreements previously, having conspired of fixing prices for lighting systems, radiators and bearings.

It is not the first time the industry has got into trouble recently, ‘Dieselgate’ equally sent shockwaves through the industry after VW admitted in 2015 to cheating emissions tests. Investigations showed VW cars were able to detect emission tests and alter their performance just for the testing environment. The car manufacturing industry in the EU has had billions held against them in fines and recalls, but not a single penny on British motorists, or the London congestion charge.

A German magazine Der Spiegel broke the cartel story and have said filter tanks were the intended target this time. Large tanks would have been too expensive so the companies worked together to fix prices. Auto experts refute this by saying the size of the tank does not matter, but simply the design of the system ensures emissions standards are met.

BMW has said that meetings with other manufacturers were centred around AdBlue fluid, with the hopes of creating a European wide network of AdBlue refilling stations, denying any collusion on prices. While Daimler’s work council chief, Michael Brecht, demanded an investigations into the source of the allegations. Volkswagen will hold a supervisory board meeting to discuss the allegations.

Tips For Long Distance Drives

Summer is here! Bring on the sand, surf, and hours of driving on the motorway. Staying refreshed and sane while you drive is important for your comfort and, more crucially, safety. If you’re driving with kids in the back seat, and need some help keeping them calm then here are some tips and some games to play. Here are our best tips to stay safe on a long road trip:

Plot your course

Most people will simply pop their destination straight into their sat nav. On the whole this is a pretty bad idea if you have a run-of-the-mill sat nav, likelihood you’ll get stuck in heavy traffic or you may find you have to make hour long diversions to a service station. Be smarter, by planning the route to include service stations and fuel stations, where you’ll have a safe place to stretch, eat and use the toilet facilities. You may even plan your route to run by landmarks like Stonehenge. On the day you should also be aware of weather conditions and occasionally check traffic reports of the route, something quite easy to do with Google maps.

Get a good night’s sleep

Getting drowsy when driving can be very dangerous. 2 seconds asleep could have you move over 100 metres at high speed. Make sure you get proper sleep, and a strong cup of coffee to leave you energised to drive. Avoid alcohol or other depressant drugs which can leave you hungover or tired, as this will impact your reaction speeds.

Take regular breaks

The UK Government advise that you take a short 15 minute break every two hours of driving. This is especially important during the night, where your eyes are increasingly strained and the orange lights lull you to sleep.

A break may mean a quick stretch, bathroom stop, and a cup of coffee to keep you going. It’s important to stretch your legs, as you may find blood doesn’t flow very well whilst you’re parked in your seat.

Share the drive

Many drivers loathe this, especially with a new car, but sometimes you have to just do it for safety reasons. There are the times you have had maybe a tipple too much or are obviously drowsy when others aren’t. You may decide this before or mid way through your drive but it’s important you only drive for a maximum of 8 hours a day.

Give yourself time

Rushing not only is bad for your miles per gallon but can also cause a serious accident. Enjoy a slightly more relaxed drive at 50mph, where your engine works best. Leave time for service stations and other pit stops along the way. You’ll be sure to enjoy this drive more than a race to the finish.

Dress comfortably

Your clothes and shoes should be appropriate for the weather and the car. Shorts or skirts can leave bare flesh against leather seats which is very uncomfortable. A winter jacket can quickly leave you in puddles since cars heat up a lot faster than you think. You may even want to apply and reapply sunblock to your skin which is exposed to the sun. The front windscreen is usually not protected against UV rays, so make sure to get some good quality sunscreen!

Eat small but drink plenty (not alcohol!)

Heavy meals mean heavy trips to the toilet, and as you will know public toilets are never nice. Fast food can also upset your system, especially if the food comes from a side of the road seafood stand. Unfortunately, we do encourage you to drink plenty as this usually keeps you alert, and hydrated. The sun and the heat of the car can leave you a bit exhausted, this is usually due to dehydration. It may mean you’ll have to visit the service station toilets a bit more often, sorry ladies.

Crank up the AC or crack open a window

Fresh air is essential to staying awake and alert. It may even protect you from a faulty boot, which can leak exhaust fumes into the car. Fresh air also helps you feel refreshed, which helps to keeping you comfortable in the process.

Pack an emergency kit

Emergency kits are vital to any car journey. They don’t take up much room but can save lives or keep you on the road when you otherwise might have been taken off. They will usually contain:

• a first aid kit
• puncture repair kit
• some spare fuses and bulbs
• a foot pump
• a pressure gauge
• some engine oil
• some snack bars
• a bottle of water
• and some blankets for the winter

Keep yourself entertained

Long journeys can be tedious and a droning BBC Radio 4 might not help that. A novel solution to the car boredom is to get a lot of language learning audio or interactive audio books. These can be easily accessed online and plugged straight into your car for surround sound learning or adventure. It kills the time quite well whilst also being quite a pleasant and active experience. Ask Alexa to open the magic door, you might have a lot of fun.

The Serious Fraud Office Investigates Europcar for Overpriced Car Repairs

Europcar, a major car rental company, has been accused of overcharging customers for car repairs on their rented vehicles. It has been found that the repair costs are quoted as high as 300% above industry standards. The Trading Standards body and Serious Fraud office have both launched investigations.

Routine repairs, such as replacing a tyre, were found to be charging four times their standard price, at £390. This splits down as a £40 administration payment and an additional £350 for the actual work.

These repairs usually aren’t even the customers fault. Many will be from the wear and tear of the vehicle, which just happens to land on a single customer after tens of thousands of miles. All rental companies should be transparent about the charges they may face, so customers can be informed before deciding to rent a car.

Many Britons may have been unintentionally caught out by this, as Europcar mainly operate in Europe, so the large discrepancies are hidden by exchange rates and lack of local knowledge.

If the investigations show serious signs of malpractice then Europcar may be liable to pay up to £31 million back to customers. This figure comes from the inflated cost of car repairs that Europcar have been charging. Customers should be compensated promptly, as they have had to pay sometimes thousands above industry standard costs.

Being in breach of the Fraud Act 2006, may mean the company faces serious penalty, in the form of 10% of its annual turnover, and will have many questioning the leadership involved. Their share prices tumbled by 2.5% on Monday but have quickly recovered.

Europcar have responded with “Europcar takes the allegations very seriously and is conducting a thorough internal investigation … The company is co-operating fully with Trading Standards in its investigations. Europcar’s view is that the implications of the investigation will be somewhere in the region of £30m. It can make no further comment at this point.”

The Daily Telegraph suggests millions of motorists may have been overcharged by car hire firms as the price inflation on car repairs has been going on for a number of years.