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Recent research from motor insurers Britannia has unearthed some pretty shocking results

The survey – which looked into motorists ability to carry out basic car maintenance – found that a staggering 10% of drivers couldn’t even open their car’s bonnet!

Even the vast majority of those able to open a bonnet had no idea of basic car maintenance, with almost three-quarters of the 1500 adults surveyed admitting that they struggled with basic tasks like refilling windscreen washer fluid and checking oil levels.

The research also found that the majority of drivers don’t carry devices like tyre inflators or battery chargers in the car with them – measures that could get them up and running again after a breakdown.

Given that evidence suggest that as many as one in seven breakdowns could be prevented through basic maintenance, Britannia Rescue’s managing director, Peter Horton, has reiterated the need for drivers to be proactive when it comes to maintaining their vehicles.

“Regular car maintenance is crucial, whether your car is old or new.” he said. “Looking after your car will determine the length of time that it remains in good condition and will stop you having to pay expensive repair costs. Checking your car’s oil level is one of the most important things you can do to extend the life of your car’s engine – so don’t wait for a warning light or indicator to come on.”

automotive, Automotive News, Car News, Car Valuations, Cars

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Buyers Remorse

We’ve probably all experienced the phenomenon of ‘buyers remorse’ at some point in our lives. You know, that post-purchase feeling of…‘did I really need that new car?…should I have paid THAT much?’

Well, spare a thought for the anonymous internet bidder who, less than three months ago, paid £40,000 over the ‘guide price’ for a Rolls Royce previously owned by…wait for it…Sir Jimmy Savile. Ouch! (Read More)

automotive, Automotive News, Car News, Car Valuations

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What’s my Car Worth?

If there was a straight forward answer to this then life would be so much easier for those in the automotive industry…we’d give you one price and you’d  be content knowing exactly what your car is worth.

Sadly the reality is that there are literally hundreds of factors affecting the true value of your car, so arriving at a precise figure is virtually impossible. (Read More)

automotive, Car Valuations

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Used car values are rising

According to British Car Auctions, used car values are rising.

The group’s latest Pulse Report has revealed that stock shortages are generating significantly higher used car valuations, given that fewer vehicles are coming top auction.

BCA’s figures show that average car values increased to £6,180 in July from £5,964 in June. To put things into perspective, the year-on-year figure rates £547 (9.7 per cent) higher than the same month last year.

Part-exchange values posted a £75 month-on-month rise, to reach £2,949 – also the highest average value on record since Pulse began reporting. Nearly-new values improved by £780, largely as a result of changing model mix in this low volume sector.

BCA’s Communications Director Tony Gannon commented, “Supplies reaching the wholesale used car market are quite significantly down on the peak seen four to five years ago. The combination of lower new car sales and the tendency for vehicle owners to extend their replacement cycles simply means less stock is available to be sold.”

“The real shortage is of good quality, ready to retail used cars, which is leading to fierce competition and generally rising values for the best examples reaching the remarketing arena. Dealers need cars to sell and they are increasingly looking at online routes to increase their stocking options.”

The situation is fluid though. Some industry analysts expect an influx of cars to be to be forced on the UK market from southern European in September, which should see demand fall.

automotive, Car Valuations

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Used car values hit new high

New data released by British Car Auctions (BCA) show that used car values are improving.

Figures released in BCA’s Quarterly ‘Pulse Report’ have revealed that the average value of a used car in the first quarter of 2012 was £6,114 – the highest first quarter figure recorded since Pulse began reporting in 2005. (Read More)

automotive, Car News, Car Sales, Car Valuations, Car Value Calculators, Cars

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The Beckhams & Cars

They are more used to decorating the covers of trashy American tabloid magazines, but it’s hard to keep those damned Beckhams off motoring sites and blogs these days too! (Read More)

automotive, Automotive News, Car Valuations

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Plummeting Car Values – The Curse of Modern Car Ownership!

The word I am talking about here is most commonly associated with the motor trade and it’s very mention is enough make every vehicle owner shudder.

It’s depreciation!…there I’ve said it!

A dictionary definition goes something like this: “A decrease or loss in value, as because of age, wear, or market conditions.”

Unless you’re lucky enough to have something like a 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa or a weird and wonderful classic Bugatti lurking in the back of your garage, it’s almost certain that your vehicle is currently in the throes of depreciation as we speak! It truly is the “silent thief”.

So what causes it? And if we can’t prevent it, how can we best limit it?

Depreciation Chart

How a Cars Value Reduces Over Time

Well, depreciation “kicks in” the very second a brand new car is driven off the dealer forecourt. The initial buyer has paid the ‘retail price’. From the second it hits the road, it’s down to it’s ‘wholesale price’ (what anyone else would be prepared to pay from that moment). This could be a reduction of anywhere between 15 and 40 per cent.

After that, the general ‘rule of thumb’ is that most cars tend to plateau at losing between 15 and 20 of its value per annum, though the depreciation does slow slightly as the car gets older.

The biggest single factor which determines exactly how much a car depreciates is supply versus demand.

Fleet Car Release

Fleet Cars Released into the Trade

If a car is low in supply but high in demand, it will probably retain its value better and vice versa. For example the cars that depreciate fastest are the mass-produced models sold at big discounts to the rental or fleet market. These models flood the used car market when the fleets start to replace their vehicles.

Another big factor which determines residual value is brand reputation/notoriety; Whether real or not, there is a long-standing perception of quality and value. These beliefs can be cultivated by the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, aesthetics, positive/negative press reports and word of mouth.

Design can also play a huge part. Cars with a current, bold look such as the MINI Cooper are in demand and thus worth more. Once or twice a decade, a manufacturer may completely re-design a model and, in general, the first year of that new-look model will hold its value better than subsequent years, whilst also rendering the pre-existing model less desirable.

When it comes to features or ‘options’, owners should be aware that with things like cruise control, air-con and alloy wheels, it isn’t so much a case of them adding value to your vehicle, but that value is deducted in their absence! The same can be said about service history. As for exterior, an exotic colour may look great to you but not to a future buyer! Popular colours such as silver, grey and black tend to hold their value better.

It almost goes without saying that the mileage a car covers can drastically effect its value. Lower mileage cars may be a little more desirable so hold their value a bit more. Higher mileage cars are often shunned by franchised dealers and so their value is reduced more dramatically.

Finally, the level of depreciation is indirectly affected by areas of ownership cost, namely maintenance, repair, fuel and insurance. Any model with a history of costing an owner big bucks in these areas will inevitably suffer in the re-sale market.

So, in summary, all cars lose money – fact! But, if you want to limit the impact of depreciation, you should follow these guidelines;

Buy a desirable, nearly new/second-hand model (at the right price of course!) in a popular colour with all the essential ‘options’ for its class. This will ensure you have a ready-made audience of purchasers when you choose to sell.

Look after it by cleaning the vehicle inside and out at regular intervals. And keep those service records up to date. Using a reputable independent dealer will invariably carry more clout than a cheap, ‘back-street’ operation. Keep the mileage down as low as possible.

Watch out for new replacement models. If there is an all-new replacement for the model you are currently driving on the horizon, be aware dealers tend to heavily discount the outgoing model which will affect the market value of your vehicle. so, if you are thinking of selling you car, do it well before the new model hits the showrooms!


automotive, Automotive News, Car Sales, Car Valuations, Car Value Calculators

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Car History Checks – Why are they Important?

To some, especially those who have carried out a Car History Check, this will seem like a ridiculous question.

Would you buy a house without purchasing a survey….my guess is 99% of people wouldn’t dream of buying a house without paying a few hundred pounds for a survey to check their new house wasn’t going to fall down. Those that don’t carry our a survey are quite frankly fools!

The same applies to buying a used car. Often the only thing you will buy in your lifetime more expensive than a car is your house, yet very little consideration is given to the background of a car. You may be spending five, ten or even twenty thousand pounds on a second hand car. Don’t you think it is worth spending an extra £10 to check you’re not quite literally throwing your hard earned cash away.

People who are selling a car are only legally obliged to tell you if the car has been an insurance write off if they are aware of it, but that is difficult to prove. If you ask the question has the car been involved in an accident many sellers will reply “not to my knowledge” their get out of jail free card.

Don’t take a chance, with your money. Make sure you carry out a car history check on any car you are thinking of purchasing. HPI are the leading provider of Car History checks and we can’t stress highly enough the importance of protecting yourself against unscrupulous sales people

A useful, free tool is an MOT check provided by the government. Here you can enter the V5 (log book) Document Reference Number and the vehicle registration number to check all the previous recorded MOT's. This may help you identify any mileage discrepancies.  Government MOT Information.


automotive, Car Buyers, Car History Check, Car Valuations, Check my Car, Sell my car

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Car Value Calculators

What a minefield!!! How do Car Value Calculators work???

Valuing a car in today’s market is a difficult task, there are so many factors to be considered and getting it wrong could cost you thousands.

If I wanted to value a car today I would have to make sure I check a number of different factors before I could even attempt to give a car valuation. Giving a car valuation  is one thing, but providing a car valuation that you then may be asked to back up with a firm offer to buy the car is another matter.

There are many websites and providers that will give you a value for your car, but it is relatively easy to value a car if you don’t have to worry about buying the car and then second guess what the market is going to do when you yourself have to sell the car on for profit!

Car Value Calculators

Car Value Calculators

Car values change each month when the new industry guides are released. Normally these are at the end of each month. During the last week of the month you have to consider what may happen to the price of cars in the next guide that is due to be released as any car you buy in the last week would be subject to any reduction in value in the new guide.

The most common guides used in the trade are not Parkers or Whatcar but Glasses’ and CAP (Car Auction Prices). Both these guides follow the market closely and usually set the price for what cars are worth.

I use both these guides to asses a cars true worth within the trade, but they then I also know those cars that are “below book” (meaning they are not worth what the guides say) or those that are “into book” (meaning they are worth more than what the guides say).

Car Value Calculators normally work on just one of the guide prices, perhaps adjust it a bit for the mileage and then give you an approximate figure.

Free Car Valuations Car Value Calculator works in a similar way, but it is monitored to make sure it is as accurate as an automated car value calculator can be.  Anyone saying I want to sell my car after receiving our initial value can then ask us to provide a fixed offer to buy their car. This is done manually based on the extra information we request and taking into consideration the guide prices and current market conditions.

Remember your car is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. Just because you may have seen one advertised at a higher price, it doesn’t mean that car is actually worth that. Many dealers have over aged, over priced stock at the moment that they simply can’t afford to sell for less as it would show as a loss on their books, they’d rather have it showing as a stock value!



automotive, Car Buyers, Car Sales, Car Valuations, Car Value Calculators, Sell my car, Trade Cars

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Sell My Car Online

How Do I Sell My Car Online Quickly?

Look no further than Free Car Valuations. Selling your car online to us is quick, easy, hassle and risk free. You are even paid before we take your car.

From the moment you visit our site, everything is clear and easy to use. You get your initial valuation within seconds of entering your vehicle registration number and mileage details. At this stage we don’t even ask for any contact details. You are free to use that valuation as you wish.

If you are searching for the valuation of a car you are considering buying then we strongly recommend you use our Car History Check service. Just so that you know the car you are buying is OK without any adverse history such as accident damage or stolen recovered.

If you are looking for a valuation for a car you are selling, then once you have your initial valuation you can click the “sell my car” button, complete a simple from and we’ll be in touch with our guaranteed offer.

If our offer to you is acceptable, we agree the deal and confirm everything in an email. We then arrange collection at a time that is convenient for yourself. The price we agree on the phone is what we will pay you on collection.

We use an independant company to collect the car, they are there to purely check the paper work and briefly check the car to make sure it hasn’t any obvious damage we were not aware of. Once everything has been confirmed, we make the payment directly into your bank account. This whole process normally takes aproximately 20 minutes and the funds are cleared and in your account before we take your car.

This make selling your car online to Free Car Valuations one of the most safe & secure methods there is.

automotive, Car History Checks, Car Sales, Car Valuations, Cars, Uncategorized

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