We love our convertibles here in the UK and the good news is that no matter what your budget, you can buy something open-topped to enjoy the wind in your hair. With the summer now here it’s the perfect time to splash out on a soft-top to enjoy the warm weather. Whether you’ve got just a few hundred quid to spend or tens of thousands, there’s something suitable. These are the drop-tops that we think you should be homing in on.
Open a newspaper or surf the web for just a short time and the chances are you’ll come across a news story about how diesel cars are killing us all, thanks to their heavily toxic emissions. It’s so unfair. After all, we were coerced into buying diesel-powered cars thanks to their low CO2 emissions and now we’re being told that those same cars are pariahs because they’re destroying our air quality.
At this point it’s worth reading our blog on emissions standards for new cars, because if you believe everything you read in the media you’ll assume that diesel cars really are the work of the devil. The reality of course is that the latest models are incredibly clean – the problem is that there are millions of older cars out there being used every day, which are nothing like as clean.
With the average lifespan for a car in the UK a little under 14 years, and with the latest rules having come into force less than a couple of years ago, it’s going to take a long time to rid our streets of the dirtiest motors. In a bid to speed up the process there’s talk of a diesel scrappage scheme being introduced, but how many people will be able to afford to throw away a car that may have years of faithful service left to give would remain to be seen.
When you’re looking at buying a second-hand car you want to home in on one that’s been cherished. One where the owner has kept on top of the routine servicing and really lavished plenty of love and attention. Do your homework and it’s not all that hard to find such cars; ones with detailed service histories and invoices an inch thick.
However, at the other end of the spectrum are the cars that have been run on a shoestring. They’re the cars that are nursed from one MoT to the next with a minimum of cash spent on them, and as a result MoT time tends to be a bit expensive.
Imagine how useful it would be to be able to glimpse into a car’s past. Ideally into its MoT history so you can see whether it has sailed through each time, or if every year it’s had to be patched up to gain a pass, while still staring down the barrel of a long list of advisories as the certificate is issued.
Well now you can see into a car’s MoT history, because when you take out an HPI check on a car this is now one of the many pieces of information that’s included in the report. To get an idea of the kind of information that’s included and how it’s presented, take a closer look at the sample HPI Check.
Your car’s registration document, or V5C, is a summary of its details and history along with its owners. It’s a print-out of what information is held on your car at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
The V5C is one of the most important documents when buying or selling a car, but it logs only who is the registered keeper – and they may be different from the legal owner. Since October 2002 it has been illegal to sell a car without a valid V5C, so don’t ever accept an excuse that it has been lost as you can apply for a replacement easily enough.
When buying a car, the registered keeper should be the person you are buying from, and the VIN, or chassis number, should be the same as the one on the car. Because the V5C is a summary of the car’s details on the DVLA database, there are a few scams that can catch you out, often when you’re buying a car.
HPI warn drivers that money isn’t everything when buying a used car
Many used car buyers are tempted to buy from the place they feel is giving them the best financial deal, but the initial saving may end up costing a whole lot more down the line. HPI, provider of the HPI Check® is warning buyers to do their research and understand fully the level of protection each option offers when it comes to deciding where to buy their next pride and joy. Buying from a dealer, an auction or privately all have their benefits, but it’s important to also consider the risks.
Buying privately is often where some of the greatest bargains can be found, but in return, the buyer’s legal rights are more limited than when buying from the motor trade. Even though cars being sold privately are required to be advertised accurately, it’s important to look out for any vague statements which could be masking something sinister.
Unscrupulous private sellers will often arrange to take the car to the buyer’s home or meet in a neutral place such as car park or layby. Buyers must not be fooled by this trick; always ask to meet at the seller’s home address and check that their address is detailed on the log book, proving that they are the vehicle’s registered keeper. Read more
HPI urges consumers to protect themselves from fraud with a vehicle history check
Alarm bells should be ringing for used car buyers, as police arrest a gang of organised criminals* running a “highly sophisticated” car cloning ring, warns HPI, the provider of the HPI Check®. The six fraudsters were arrested in Leeds, Bradford and Bournemouth in connection with the theft and cloning of a staggering 180 vehicles in a scam worth £2million.
Car cloning is the equivalent of identity fraud – criminals steal a car and give it a new identity copied from a similar make and model vehicle already on the road. The criminal disguises the unique 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the stolen car and uses a stolen V5/logbook to try to legitimise its identity, fooling innocent buyers into parting with their money.
HPI offers four simple steps to help consumers avoid falling into the traps set by used car criminals:
- One… Buyers should always make sure they view the car at the registered keepers address (as shown on the V5/logbook).
- Two… Know the car’s market value. If a buyer is are paying less than 70% of the market price for a vehicle, they need to be on their guard.
- Three… Never pay for the car in cash, particularly if the car is costing more than £3,000.
- .. Check the vehicle’s V5/logbook. Stolen V5 documents are still being used to accompany cloned vehicles.
HPI’s Guide to Helping Used Car Buyers Avoid the Paperwork Pitfall
After searching for that dream car, many buyers are all too eager to seal the deal and hand over their hard earned money. But, says vehicle history check expert HPI, it’s vital to look beyond the shiny paintwork and high spec interior to avoid being caught out. Having the correct paperwork present when looking at the car will provide buyers with peace of mind, but it’s crucial to know exactly what to look for. HPI, provider of the HPI Check®, is helping buyers spot any early warning signs that the car may be a lemon in disguise, with its Paperwork Checklist.
HPI warns consumers not to buy a car without a V5C – otherwise known as a logbook – and make sure it’s genuine by looking for the DVLA watermark which can be seen when holding it up to the light. If there’s no V5C to hand, a new one can be applied for, but buyers should ask themselves and the seller why it isn’t available. If it’s been mislaid, ideally the vendor should have applied for a replacement before selling.
Whilst the V5C tells buyers how many owners the car has had and who it’s registered to, it’s important to note that the person listed isn’t necessarily the legal owner of the car, simply the person to whom any fines will be sent. Buyers and sellers alike are also warned that not telling the DVLA of a change in vehicle ownership is an offence.
From three years after the date of first registration, all cars need an MoT roadworthiness check. It’s important to check the historical mileage reading for each year of its MOT test, not just the current reading, as this should paint a consistent picture of the vehicle’s increasing mileage over the car’s life. In addition, an MOT certificate will only tell buyers that the car met the test requirements on the particular day when the test was done, so it’s important buyers don’t rely on the MOT as an indicator of the vehicle’s current general mechanical condition.
With all information now logged centrally, buyers can easily check if a vehicle’s MoT is valid by entering the vehicle registration and make online at www.vehicleenquiry.service.gov.uk. Without a valid MoT, a car can’t be taxed – and therefore can’t be insured. Read more
The question is simple; should you buy a classic car, or not? But the answer (unsurprisingly) is far more complex. What constitutes a classic car? What will you be using it for? What’s your budget? Why are you considering one? Will this be your sole means of transport?
For some people a classic car makes huge sense – while for others it would be nothing but a liability. Here’s how to work out whether buying a classic is likely to lead to tears of joy or tears of despair…
What is a classic car?
The parameters have shifted massively over the last few years, with some cars considered classics before they’ve barely gone out of production. Obvious candidates include the Mazda MX-5, Honda S2000, Porsche Boxster and a whole raft of other sportscars with enthusiastic owners’ clubs.
With a superb 1990s MX-5 or early Boxster, Audi TT or S2000 available for less money than a mint 1960s MGB, it’s no wonder interesting newer cars have such a following. They’re arguably more usable, more comfortable and better equipped – and generally safer too. To some they don’t have as much charisma, but if you want to enjoy the thrill of the open road they tick most (or even all) of the key boxes.
Turn up at a classic car show in something interesting made within the last 20 years and you’ll probably fit in fine. But for guaranteed acceptance within the classic car fraternity, you need to buy something built at least 40 years ago, with lots of chrome and the strength of a shopping trolley. Only you can work out whether something so old would fit into your life, but whether it’s your sole transport or just a weekend toy will probably be the deciding factor.
HPI data reveals green cars the mostly likely to be stolen, clocked or written off
According to new research by the vehicle history check expert, HPI, the colour car that most commonly hits its ‘at risk’ registers is green. Used car buyers who conduct an HPI Check® on green cars are more frequently told they are either registered as stolen with the police, have a mileage discrepancy that needs investigating, or are recorded as an insurance write-off. The good news is that green cars are the least likely to hit the outstanding finance register – and 1 in 4 cars checked with HPI has outstanding finance against
Modern life is full of jargon which often serves only to confuse. Nowhere is this more evident than in the world of used cars, where misunderstanding an acronym or technical term could land you with a whole heap of trouble. That’s why it’s so important to understand the terminology that’s bandied about.
Here at HPI we have to use all sorts of terms that you might not understand. But read on and you’ll soon see there’s nothing to fear – we’ll soon have you talking like a seasoned car trader.