Tag Archives: buying a new car

Why you must compare used car warranties

car_warrantyWhen you read that the average price of a used car is £9000 you’d probably expect it to be in good condition for that much money.

Surely it’s only when buying cars that are much cheaper ie c£1000 or less that the customer runs the risk of buying a lemon; especially if they don’t do their mechanical homework in advance?

Not necessarily it seems, according to the thousands of used car complaints referred to Citizens Advice every year.

Clearly something isn’t quite right in terms of minimum industry standards or quality control processes when it comes to used car shopping?

Advice re buying a used car

There are ways we can minimise the risk of buying a used car lemon.

1/ We should make sure that used cars are HPI-checked so we know they are financially sound, haven’t been stolen or written off and haven’t been involved in a bodged accident repair. Where in doubt, we should pay for that check ourselves…

2/ We can now check the car’s last MOT online to see what work needs doing, even when the car has passed its MOT.

3/ We should check the car handbook to see when the last car servicing was done and what this entailed. Cars should be serviced once a year as a minimum. If mileage is very low (under 5000m pa) this probably means nothing more expensive than an oil and filter change.

4/ We should always check the condition of tyres on a used car. Tyre tread should be no less than 1.6mm ie the depth of a 20p coin rim. If less than 3mm they need changing and good tyres are expensive to replace.

But when you pay c£9000 or more for a used car it’s surely reasonable to expect a long check list to have been carried out by the dealer before putting a car on sale? Adding a used car warranty to give us peace of mind?

A warranty that reflected the rigour of the dealer’s checklist I’d have thought.

Used car warranty standards

The used car industry standard seems to be a minimum three month warranty in the UK but some dealers do a lot better.

For example, a Ford Approved used car comes with a 12-24 month warranty.

And an Approved BMW comes with a 12 month warranty.

And when it comes to independent used car dealers Safe and Sound ones include a minimum 6 month warranty.

Yet if you buy a used car from RAC Cars, including a ‘used car guarantee’, you may only get a one month warranty?

So obviously you must always compare used car warranties in terms of their length and cover; even when buying from a motoring brand we think we know well, like the RAC.

What happens if the warranty doesn’t cover your claim?

Few motorists know that there is a new Trading Standards Code of Practice for Vehicle Warranty Products, run by Motor Codes. This means that, assuming the warranty provider/product subscribes to this scheme, you can then use Motor Codes’ free conciliation service to check your options if you are unhappy with a decision to turn down a seemingly reasonable claim.

Other information about car warranties…

a/ The Sale of Goods Act is valid for six months after car purchase and may provide cover should you need this, in addition to any shorter dealer warranty.

b/ You have few rights (other than transferable warranties in some cases) when buying from an individual seller rather than a known car dealer.

c/ If you choose a FOXY Lady Approved ie female friendly car dealer you can be sure of a minimum three month warranty. Some offer more.

d/ You could offer to pay extra to upgrade to a 6 or 12 month warranty depending on the value of the car. If the dealer won’t quote reasonable terms to do this, be suspicious!

Clearly no car dealer is going to include a longer warranty than he needs to, but to sell a used car with as little as a one month warranty suggests that the dealer has little faith in the longer term viability of that vehicle!

And where that may be the case, can I please suggest that you look elsewhere and buy on the basis of a well documented ‘approved used car check’ and one of the best dealer warranty products?


PS: By all means email me, info@foxyladydrivers.com, with your experience of used car warranties. We are compiling a FOXY feedback file to identify/recognise those warranty providers that are getting service levels right for Club members. And not all are it seems!

Who’s your ideal driving companion?

seat_miiIn a poll conducted to celebrate the launch of the new special edition SEAT Mii by MANGO it seems that the women of the UK have very clear ideas about who they would like to have travelling alongside them.

Prince Harry is the clear favourite, with a quarter of those questioned wanting the handsome Royal next to them as they drive around the city.

Some things don’t change though, as David Beckham shows his undying appeal, coming a close second with 21%.

It seems no one wants to take the chance of having their driving judged, with Simon Cowell getting a mere 8%. The big shock is so-called ‘dream boy’ Harry Styles, who received a measly 5%, which goes to show that looks don’t always count.

Embattled PM David Cameron can find no comfort in the fact that he gained only 3% of the vote, though some might say ‘as expected’.

Jennifer Lawrence leads the way with 18% of those asked choosing the Hunger Games star as their ultimate female car companion. And Prince Harry’s sister-in-law Kate Middleton (17%) beat Beyoncé (10%) among those polled. Maybe UK women are hoping Kate will spill the beans on her Royal brother-in-law?

When questioned about the age-old driving battle of the sexes, I’m delighted to see that women are more confident than they have ever been about their motoring abilities, with 70% considering themselves to be far more skilled drivers than the men in their lives. Hear hear.

Having said that, just over half said that men have a better sense of direction than them. They were just being benevolent we suspect as who uses a sense of direction when we’ve a Sat Nav to hand?!

And in case it’s not just me that’s more interested in the car than this gender ‘fun’, the SEAT Mii by MANGO is a city car available in either nude or black, with contrasting interior including Alcantara upholstery (three or five door options available). You get atom grey door mirrors, stylish 15″ alloy wheels, chrome door strips and a spacious boot, priced from £10,995 on the road.

Please visit www.seat.co.uk for more information.


Depreciation, not fuel economy, is the real cash killer

Photo ack: which.co.uk
Photo ack: which.co.uk

Those of us who focus on fuel economy when buying a brand new car are wasting our time and money apparently.

The real cash-killer is depreciation according to experts in this field CAP Automotive.

Consumer research consistently encourages us to consider the cost of filling up with fuel. But choosing a car that holds its value delivers much bigger savings over time than fuel efficiency alone.

According to CAP’s unique car ownership cost figures, the average cash value lost by the typical medium family car bought 3 years ago is £12,559 – and rising.

Less presumably the discount you negotiated at the time of sale?

Whereas the same cars, driven 12,000 miles a year, have only burned an average of £4,000 in fuel.

Ford of Europe's Easy Fuel SystemUsing this example CAP suggests that depreciation has cost the typical motorist 3 times as much as they have spent at the pumps.

“The problem is that motorists think there is nothing they can do about depreciation” said Philip Nothard, CAP’s Retail & Consumer expert.

According to CAP’s free ‘Total Cost of Motoring’ calculator the total expenditure on fuel over 3 years for a typical medium family car ranges from around £1,600 for a super-efficient hybrid to around £5,700 for a performance coupe in the same ‘lower medium’ car sector.

But depreciation in the same sector ranges from about £8,000 over 3 years for one car that delivers standard mpg to more than £23,000 for a car that boasts unbeatable fuel economy.

For example CAP figures reveal that the least thirsty plug-in hybrid costs around £1,500 at the pumps over 36,000 miles. In contrast, a standard-engine Ford Mondeo 1.6 Graphite costs much more to fill up, at £5,000 over the same distance.

This means the Mondeo owner will only lose about £10,000 in depreciation over 3 years while she who diligently saved at the pumps in her expensive hybrid will wave goodbye to a whopping £34,000 when she comes to sell or trade her car in.

Sound advice we say. In a nutshell it makes sense to put depreciation on your new car buying homework list, especially when CAP’s ‘Total Cost of Motoring’ tool is free to use at their website. Alternatively if you buy a used car that’s more than 3 years old, someone else has likely paid the depreciation, so we’re back to looking keenly at mpg, VED and insurance groups to save a welcome bob or two.

Not for profit makes business sense

For a long time I’ve wanted the Club to be a not for profit organisation and today the job has been done. We are finally putting ‘doing the right thing for women and the motor industry’ ahead of the alternative ‘sell as much as you can for as much as you can make’ strategy.

Which feels good to me. Let me explain…

FOXY Lady Drivers Club started out in 2005 when we charged £35 for a year’s membership including a Welcome Pack by post, a quarterly magazine and a telephone service. But we couldn’t make financial sense of the post and print overhead for the first couple of years so we opted to go completely online in 2007. Sadly we lost some of our supporters at that stage who weren’t and didn’t want to be internet savvy. I regret losing them but it was still the right decision to make, until a business grows to be big enough to attract the advertising it needs to support the magazine and so on.

It has always been a chicken and egg story – getting enough members and in the right area to support the garages and so on…

Having dispensed with the traditional postal and print services we were able to drop the annual subscription to £23; that included an online Membership Pack, bi-monthly email newsletters, offers and specialist services plus a £3 donation to the excellent Cancer Buddies Network charity.

Things changed again on 8 August 2008 (coinciding with the Beijing Olympics – an auspicious date apparently) when the Club’s sister business FOXY Choice opened for business. It’s now the UK’s only female friendly garage network but at the time it was a specialist marketing service for businesses that wanted to be promoted as female friendly or to know how they might do a better job. Qualifying independent garages, dealerships, bodyshops and fastfits all pay a modest annual subscription to get female friendly marketing materials, PR services and a lot of online promotion to women and members of the Club.

The plan was always that the retail motor industry SHOULD end up subsidising the Club because if the industry had been better at doing its job the Club wouldn’t have been needed in the first place; to reassure so many wary and ill at ease women when it comes to buying cars, garage services and insurance products.

With the benefit of hindsight, 2008 was probably the worst time to launch a new business into the motor trade in particular, with the first dip of a big two dipper recession to follow. So it has taken us longer to get to where we wanted to be – that the Club’s subscription would get cheaper so it could help more women…

Once we saw that the UK was in for a long and depressing economic slog, and that women were by and large bearing the brunt of the hardship in terms of job losses and ever rising shopping bills we decided to bite the bullet and make Club membership a lifetime subscription. One joining fee of £23 and women drivers across the UK can have a motoring friend for life – was there ever a better motoring deal I wonder?

Finally today we completed the legalities to make the Club a not for profit company that’s limited by guarantee. Thank you Taylor & Emmet LLP for your patient advice here. This means no shares, no shareholders and no staff salaries with any year end surplus going to the Cancer Buddies Network charity when we get there. The online subscription remains a lifetime one at £23 and our FOXY Choice garage partners even have an allocation of gift subscriptions for free.

If you live near one of them, just pop in and ask them if you can have one.

In this way we hope that more women drivers across the UK will join the Club to enjoy better motoring services in future. We don’t think women should have to take a man with them to pay a fair price for a car in a dealership (hence our car buying service). We are confident that women won’t be patronised in FOXY garages (or they’re in serious trouble) and we’ll do all we can to identify the car insurers that try to milk us because of our gender, not our risk, come the EU Gender Equality ruling and unfair car insurance premium rises set to hit females badly this December.

In short, we’re sticking up for women drivers because someone needs to and promoting best practice in the motor industry wherever we find it. And we’re able to do this thanks to the financial support we receive from FOXY Choice subscribers, website advertisers and a few trade sponsors.

Please help us spread the word about FOXY so we can do a better job for more women.


Audis I have known and loved

I’ve driven two Audis to date, an Audi 80 in the 80s and a very stylish S2 coupe in the early 90s when my corporate career justified this. And I continue to very nearly buy an Audi TT and I probably will one day.

So you can see I have a soft spot for the brand and know from past experience that Audis make ideal company cars.

Particularly for high mileage female business executives looking for that all important combination of safety, economy and motoring style as they ply our busy motorways today.

The best Audi engines are usually diesels where high mileage is involved and whilst the SE trim is likely to be more saleable than the basic entry level I can’t really justify spending more than that (for me) unless you need 4 wheel drive of course. I mention this because there are some 47 models, including saloon/hatchback/estate and cabriolet variations of which 21 were petrol and 26 diesel when I last looked…

Yes it’s true that you may have to pay extra for cruise control (if you insist…) but you do get 6 airbags and stability control as standard features and the interior is stylish and uber-comfortable as you might expect from a manufacturer from the Volkswagen stable of car manufacturers.

Looking at other car review websites I see that an ancient evecars.com mention picks up on ‘fiddly buttons to navigate’ and ‘watch out for the bumpy ride’ on their negative list but that JD Power’s most recent survey points out its low depreciation (which is good news when you come to sell or trade it in), a bigger than average boot and impressive running costs to balance the debate.

Either way, we’d happily recommend Audi’s A4 to women drivers for business use in particular, pointing out the reasonable 13% benefits in kind employee contribution tax involved.


Inevitably this is a brief and not very comprehensive review of the Audi A4. Being a naturally foxy lady you will do your own and very detailed new car shopping homework well in advance to determine the practicality and required features for your next new car.

If you’d welcome a second and independent opinion of your shortlist, where to go to buy it, or some handholding through the entire car buying process, why not join FOXY Lady Drivers Club to benefit from our motoring support services and some helpful female feedback here?