Category Archives: General motoring

Tips for Saving Fuel When Driving a Van

 

Citroen Nemo Van

Tips for Saving Fuel When Driving a Van

Everyone who owns a car will have something to smile about when he/she finds a way to reduce fuel consumption. However, this seems like an impossible dream to many people. Surprisingly, any car can be tuned to save fuel yet offer the required power. There are different tricks one can apply to save on fuel that you may also want to learn. Below are few that will make your driving experience better.

Plan ahead
Before travelling to a destination, you need to review all possible routes that you can take. One of the things you should never ignore is the nature of the terrain and distractions along the way that can delay you. Even if shorter, a road that has potholes and rugged terrain will demand you step on the accelerator harder to give the car the required force to overcome the resistance. This will definitely cost more to fuel for the same route. Before travelling, choose a route that is not congested and ideal for smooth acceleration.

Use air conditioning sparingly
It may sound weird, but the minute you switch on the air conditioning you also activate fuel consumption to some extent. The air conditioning system will consume fuel; so if possible, you can keep it off especially when the conditions do not demand you use it. You can turn to alternatives like lowering your windows if there is a lot of heat.

Service the vehicle regularly
Servicing your vehicle in time will help to keep it efficient and reliable. If the car is kept in the right condition like changing ATF and engine oil in time, there will be no strain in performing different functions that help the car to move. Lack of servicing means the car will be struggling so as to attain its optimal performance, something that could mean going hard on the accelerator. The results are obvious: more fuel will be needed to give the power demanded.

Avoid unnecessary weight
Most people like adding modifications to their cars, maybe to make it look different, but all this is done without an ounce of knowledge that it would affect the performance of the vehicle. Adding weight to the car means the engine will be forced to push harder because it will now be working with weight that is more than it was made to carry. To compensate this power demand, you will be forced to press on the accelerator harder.

5 Secret Cheats To Cheaper Car Insurance

postal delivery courier in a van showing thumb up hand sign

Car insurance is a legal requirement if you plan on driving your vehicle on public roads. After all, it protects you and other drivers if you happen to be involved in an accident, plus some car insurance comes with a host of additional perks. However, you may be paying over the odds for your car insurance. Read on for five simple yet effective ways that you can slash the costs on your car insurance policy.

1. Avoid Mods

While it may be tempting to add that spoiler or modify your engine, it’s best to avoid any car modifications unless you’re okay with forking out some extra hard earned cash on your insurance policy. When you modify your car you are legally obliged to notify your insurance provider, who will then often raise your premiums to reflect the work that’s been done.

2. Pay Annually

While monthly payments may be tempting, you can cut costs on your insurance premium by paying on a yearly basis, as a lump payment will avoid those pesky interest charges.

3. Increase Your Excess

A clever way to lower your insurance costs is to raise your voluntary excess levels. By increasing the amount that you are required to pay if you do have an accidents, your annual policy will be reduced. Just be prepared to shell out the excess if it comes down to it.

4. Add a Named Driver

A little known cheat is to add a more experienced, or older, named driver on to your insurance policy to lower costs. Avoid adding anyone who has points on their license, and don’t try and be a named driver under your parents name when you are planning on being the main driver, as this is called ‘fronting’ and can void your claims.

5. Increase Security

Just a few small adjustments to the security of your car can dramatically lower your insurance premiums. Why not invest in an immobilizer or a car alarm? If you have access to a secure covered garage or driveway then notify your policy provider, as this may also save you money on your premium.

Try out one or more of the above cheats, and you will be sure to reduce your car insurance costs. Good luck!

How To Fix Up Your Cars Interior On The Cheap

pimping

A Guide To; How To Fix Up Car Interiors On The Cheap

You may have the most shiny car on the outside, but if the interior isn’t up to scratch it could let the whole vehicle down. Whilst buying a brand new interior from the car dealer is an option, it can also be very costly. If you only spent a few pennies on the car, then you don’t want to pay the earth to fix it up. Here are some tips for fixing up your car interior without it costing the earth.

2nd Hand Parts

Breakers yards and local newspapers can be a wealth of bargains if you know what you want. Also, people will also often list a car on online auction websites that are past having an MOT, but have good parts still attached. Before you approach a scrap yard or private seller, always research the price of the interior components if you were to buy them brand new; this will ensure that you aren’t ripped off for more than the retail price.

Give It A Go

Yes, you could always source the interior parts and then ask a professional to remove the old and fit the new pieces, but this isn’t cheap. If you have a little willpower, muscle and time, then you really can do the swap yourself even with no experience. There are a wealth of ‘How To’ videos on the internet, and a quick search engine check can take you straight to the one you need. Give it a go, you can always ask a friend or professional for help later if it doesn’t work out.

Cloth or leather Interiors

A gaping hole in a seat or unsightly fraying due to wear can look like a daunting task, but it’s actually very much the opposite. With a curved upholstery needle you can sew the edges of a rip neatly back together for immediate gratification. If material is missing, then find a swatch of similar material or even go crazy with some funky patches to make a statement. You can use the same techniques with a leather interior, but if there are no rips and the leather simply looks tired and cracked, then treat it. You can buy leather treatment from most online or high street car shops and a little bit of elbow grease will leave it looking refreshed.

It’s all too easy to deliver your car to a professional, but if you lack the pennies then give some of these tips a go; you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

The 10 Best Small Vans of 2015

Citroen Berlingo Multispace

People who are looking for a new or used small van in good condition will find that a wide range of excellent models were released in 2015 that are just waiting to be enjoyed. These small vans are ideal for people who are looking for an all-rounder that can carry heavy loads but is still compact enough to fit into a small garage. Here are some of the best small vans from 2015 to choose from.

Ford Transit Connect
People who prize economy and utility will love the Ford Transit Connect. With 100 cubic feet of cargo room and a 169-bhp 2.5 litre engine, there is plenty of power and space for all types of tasks.

Volkswagen Caddy
Quality and comfort are the watch words of this high end model, which boasts good properties and well appointed controls.

Fiat Doblo Cargo
This mean machine comes in a whole host of different styles and sizes and is a real dream to drive. With up to 64mpg fuel economy and secure and smooth handling, owners will love putting the Fiat Doblo Cargo through its paces.

MINI Clubvan
The upmarket of this small van makes it one of the most stylish offerings around and it is both very comfortable and fun to drive,

Vauxhall Combo
This impressive small van is known for its top of the range stability control and also comes with a class leading payload and excellent economy.

Fiat Fiorino
This slick urbanite is not just a pretty face as it boasts 2.8 cubic metres of load space and is very practical.

Renault Kangoo
This city delivery van is very versatile and offers impressive fuel efficiency combined with excellent value for money and a great driving experience.

Citroen Berlingo
This is one of the most economical small vans around and boasts a long load bay and unique twin front passenger seats.

Mercedes Citan
This compact and very stylish minivan offers one of the nest mileages around and comes with excellent handling and plenty of gadgets.

Peugeot Bipper
The compact footprint and generous interior space of this small van make it a great choice and the folding passenger seat provide extra space.

Of course, when choosing a small van it is important to take your specific needs into consideration. While all of these offerings are able to go the distance, some are more aesthetically pleasing than others, while people who enjoy plenty of gadgets and gizmos to keep them company on long journeys will want to make sure that their small van is fully kitted out and ready to go.

The 7 Weirdest Vehicles Ever Designed

2cv

Over the years, car manufacturers have experimented with a number of unique and eye-catching designs. Some were naturally more popular with their audiences than others. Let us take a look at what many consider to be the seven strangest vehicles ever to enjoy the (temporary) limelight.

1. The 1956 Buick Centurion

With a nearly all-glass bubble top and a streamlined design, this model intended to give the driver and passengers a full view of the road. Unfortunately, the design never caught on.

2. The 1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt

Said to have been inspired by the streamliner trains of the time, the Thunderbolt had a rather bulbous body punctuated with pop-up headlamps. It should be mentioned that this was the first vehicle to sport power windows; years ahead of other manufacturers.

3. The 1951 GM LeSabre

This was the first model to have a wraparound windscreen and tail fins. While appearing as if it were manufactured by aliens, these two features would become commonplace during the remainder of the 1950s and 1960s.

4. The 1948 Tasco

It is believed that the short-lived Tasco was inspired by the fighter planes of World War Two. Still, a mixture of curved edges and a rather bulky shape appeared to be very out of place and the brand was soon discontinued.

5. The 1934 Voisin C-25 Aerodyne

Only 28 Aerodynes were ever made and yet its iconic design still fetches automotive awards into these modern times. With a shape that falls somewhere between a Bentley and a Rolls-Royce, the Aerodyne exhibits a truly classic (if not slightly bizarre) appeal.

6. The 1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero

This design vaguely mirrors the shape of a Lamborghini and can be seen as rather ahead of its time. As it was a mere 33 inches (83 centimetres) tall, drivers literally had to climb through the windscreen to sit inside.

7. The 1950 GM Firebird 1 XP-21

Taking cue from the burgeoning space race at the time, the XP-21 blended the appearance of a missile and a jet aeroplane. Complete with a vertical stabiliser and a bubble one-seater cockpit, this strange model was able to turn over an impressive 370 horsepower.

These are indeed some of the most bizarre concept cars to even have been built. While not all were popular with the masses, there is no doubt that such innovative thinking had a massive impact upon vehicles for years into the future.

10 Amazing & Affordable Gift Ideas for Car Lovers

car gift

With the festive season fast approaching, we’ve put together a list of amazing and affordable gift ideas for the car lover in your life.

1) Personalised car mug – this is a lovely gift for any car enthusiast. Personalise a mug with their favourite car and add their name or a special message from you.

2) Car-themed calendar – the gift which keeps on giving the whole year long! Your petrol-head friend can hang this at home or at work and daydream about the 12 stunning cars that feature in the calendar.

3) Smartphone holder – smartphone holders keep smartphones secure and prevent them from disappearing under your seat! They also make it much easier to use your smartphone as a sat-nav.

4) Car cuff-links – available in a range of designs and colours, a pair of car-themed cuff-links are sure to complete the look for any car enthusiast.

5) Personalised number plate – this is a gift that will definitely impress a motor-head. Personalised number plates can be as cheap as £30 but be warned that prices can increase very steeply depending on the registration you choose.

6) Race tickets – does the car enthusiast in your life feel the need for speed? If so, there are numerous racing events scheduled each year (such as Formula 1) and tickets to one of these would make a fantastic present and give them something to look forward to.

7) Supercar driving experience – treat your car loving friend to an exhilarating day out and the chance to fly around a circuit in the car of their dreams. There are a huge variety of experiences and price ranges available to pick from so make sure you shop around to find the best deal.

8) Heated massage seat cover – this is a great gift for anyone who spends a lot of time in their car. The massage functionality will soothe away any traffic induced rage and it can be easily transported for use in the house or office too.

9) Racing video games – there are plenty of different racing games available for every type of gaming console. Thanks to advances in technology, racing games provide a thrilling and immersive experience which is sure to get the adrenaline of any car fan racing.

10) Car care kit – if the car lover in your life spends more time grooming their car than themselves, this could be the perfect gift for them.

Citroen Berlingo: A Medium-Sized Masterpiece

Citroen Berlingo Multispace

Even though the Citroen Berlingo has been around for about seven years, there is something new about the face-lifted 2015 version. This is more a case of the engineers and designers at Citroen tweaking the body and engine rather than drastically changing a van that has been remarkably successful in its niche market sector. Here are some of the changes.

Engine

Like all of its competitors, the Berlingo is suitably equipped to make sure that it is inside the strict European guidelines for CO2 emissions. You can now buy this vehicle with a 1.6-litre petrol engine (VTi) that delivers a commendable 94bhp. The Berlingo also has an all-electric version for green motoring. The majority of people, however, will go for the diesel engine, with the BlueHDi a very popular option in the showrooms around the globe.

Transmission can be five or six speed in either manual or automatic versions, and, of course, this vehicle will take advantage of start-stop technology for extra fuel savings.

If you are looking for fuel economy, then the BlueHDi 100 (automatic) will give you 68.9 mpg and emission levels of just 109g/km.

The ‘buzz’ word around the automotive industry today, is electric, and the Berlingo Electric can be charged-up using a domestic power socket and then provide 12 hours of motoring with a range of 106 miles. The beauty of this van is that it has a quick charging facility that actually does what it says. For zero to around 80 per cent power will take a meagre 35 minutes, so eat your heart out Mercedes and Ford.

Capacity

Let’s face it; if you buy a van, then you want something that has a big capacity for carrying stuff. The Citroen is a medium size masterpiece that has panels that can be removed and thus extend the load capacity from 1,800mm to 3,000mm.

Safety and reliability

The Berlingo has ESC (Electronic Stability Control) fitted across the range along with ABS and Hill Start Assist. Since its introduction in 2008, the van has had an excellent safety record, which is on a par with its competitors in this sector.

Performance

People don’t generally buy vans for performance, and although the Berlingo isn’t the fastest it gives a great all-around performance. At entry level, 0-62mph can be achieved in 16.6 seconds. This can be improved if you go for the 90bhp that gives a slightly better time of 12.8 seconds.

Inside the cabin

While the cab is not the biggest in its class, it is roomy, functional and logically designed. There is an optional USB phone charging socket

Overall this van is built for reliability and flexibility; it is a steady worker-horse that will never let you down.

How To Drive Safely This Winter

pine row path

Winter, known for its below-zero temperatures, appalling weather, short days and dark evenings, presents numerous challenges to motorists and few would disagree that it is the most dangerous season to drive in. Rain, sleet, snow and hail as well as fog and high winds can make driving difficult in wintertime as can icy roads that may cause automobiles to slip and slide with disastrous results. Ice on the roads, including the deceptive black ice, is a common occurrence in the aftermath of rain, snow or sleet when rainwater or meltwater refreezes solid making the roads treacherous.

Check battery, electrical systems and antifreeze.

The last thing a motorist wants when driving in winter conditions is for the car battery to die, causing the engine and electrical components to fail and leaving the car and driver stranded and vulnerable beside the road. Disasters may also occur when the car has insufficient antifreeze, resulting in such complications as the failure of engine components and the bursting of radiators. Efforts should be made to avoid unnecessary drain on car batteries, tending to last five years and needing testing every six months, while electrical systems should be checked and maintained in peak condition.

Ensure tyres are suitable for winter conditions.

Fitting a car with the correct tyres for driving in winter conditions, such as winter or all season tyres, and ensuring that they are in optimal condition is crucial for safe driving in winter. A tyre tread of 3mm is necessary for safe winter driving and maintaining tyres at the manufacturer’s recommended pressure, while remembering that pressure drops in cold weather, is essential for wheel stability. Every car should be equipped with a spare tyre and tyre repair kit just in case a tyre becomes damaged and needs replacing or fixing.

Maintain optimum visibility.

In order to drive safely in winter it is crucial that visibility is maintained to the highest standard during the hours of daylight and darkness alike. Functioning windshield wipers are required to sweep aside rain, sleet, hail, snow and mud that can obscure the driver’s vision while lights must be capable of illuminating the dark winter evenings and of penetrating the dense veils of winter fog. Windows should be clean, clear and free of any objects that could block the view while visors are necessary to shield the driver’s eyes from the glare of the low winter sun.

When Is The Best Time To Buy A New Car?

postal delivery courier in a van showing thumb up hand sign

Dealers may make you think there are hot and cold seasons where they see many and few sales, but even though there is a little truth to it, the fact is it rarely affects prices unless the company is going out of business. The best time to buy depends almost exclusively on you and your personal circumstances.

The Rare Occasion When It Doesn’t Depend On You

There are certain things that happen in the car world that do affect the prices of cars in your favour. For example, the two-seater Smart cars were once popular for their 100% safety record, their excellent fuel consumption, and their size that means they are ideal for city driving. However, when the four-seater version came out it became a big success, and dealers were falling over themselves to stock up on them and shift their smaller two seater versions quickly–so many offered big discounts.

The Economics Of Buying A New Car

The best time to buy depends on you, but there is something you should know first: a new car is a massive waste of money except under two conditions. The first condition is if you sell the car for more than its second-hand value (they call it the blue book value). The second condition is if you take care of the car, keep it for many years, and run it until the end (or near end) of its life. If you work under either of those conditions, then the economic side is a good reason to buy a new car.

When You Want To Save Money?!?

The two conditions mentioned above will save you money. If you buy a car and take care of it for years, it will save you more than if you changed your car every few years and had to put up with overly frequent repairs. Stretch out the cost of repairs for your new car and it comes to less than the money you pay for repairs when buying a series of second-hand cars over the same period of time.

Buy When Repairing Your Current Car Will Cost More Than The Finance Payments

Do the maths and figure out if you are saving more by buying a car, even with a loan or on finance, over keeping your current car. If your current car is costing you an average of £350 per year, you can probably find a finance deal with interest lower than £350 per year; ergo you make a saving and get a new car too.

Hooray For The Relay: Citroen

relay

Panel vans have been popular for many years and the Citroen Relay has consistently ranked at the top of most lists. As of 2014, this model was redesigned and is can now keep pace with rivals such as the Ford Transit and the Volkswagen Crafter. What are some of the aspects that make the Relay a great option to consider?

Important Updates

It is first a good idea to mention a handful of the most noticeable updates which have taken place within this newer model. The Relay boasts a new grille, redesigned headlamps and even an optional LED strip to add a bit of extra flair. These amenities are then paired with updated brakes, an engine with lower emissions and an interior that offers technological gadgets such as satellite navigation and tyre pressure sensors.

Engine Power

All engines supplied within the Relay range offer a 2.2-litre diesel capacity and their horsepower will vary accordingly. This will range between 108 and 148 bhp. This is an excellent benefit in terms of flexibility, for drivers with varying needs will be able to choose the power level that suits them the best. On a final note, the Relay provides between 39 and 41 miles per gallon; ideal of you have been interested in purchasing an economy vehicle with muscle.

Interior Space

The Relay is considered to be one of the most practical panel vans currently on the market. This is largely due to the fact that there are no less than four different lengths and three different heights for you to select. So, some models are ideally suited for family transportation while others can be used for commercial needs. As the rear door is able to be opened to a maximum of 260 degrees, this van is a great option for those who are constantly loading and unloading freight.

Safety

The Relay has always scored high in terms of safety and this latest version is no different. ABS, hill assist and emergency braking systems are all included as standard features. Lane departure warnings and a driver-side airbag round out this category.

Those who are interested in a cost-effective and yet highly versatile panel van will not be disappointed with what the Citroen Relay has to offer. If you have been searching for these same qualities, you cannot go wrong with what these newer models have in store.