Tag Archives: car check

The critical importance of a thorough car check

pink_lady-showing-key-holding-hand-40899761Whenever it’s to do with motoring, men and women think and act differently at car shopping time.

Despite being the gender most likely to influence the final car shopping decision (in 80% of all cases in the UK), all too often women feel they are being ignored in manufacturer advertising and then intimidated and even overlooked in showrooms. This is often most apparent when she enters a showroom with a man. Too often the salesman ignores her, without finding out who the car is for, preferring to talk to a man during the car buying experience!

And knowing how dire the female feedback about the car shopping experience has been in recent surveys, such as the ones from Good Housekeeping and DifferentSpin.com I am always on the alert for new found knowledge that I can share with our FOXY Lady Approved car dealers and Club members.

Research from Experian’s AutoCheck confirms that one in ten cars they check has outstanding finance recorded and one in eight is listed as an insurance write-off. Think about it – the car you are considering buying from a dealer or privately could be reclaimed by a finance house and/or not owned by the person who is selling it.

Why a thorough car check matters

This is yet another worrying example of what can happen when you go car shopping for a used car in an unregulated industry where complaints are all too common.

Too many of us are too trusting having been seduced by the shiny look of a gleaming ‘new’ car that’s hiding mechanical problems. That’s mechanical problems usually borne out of neglected car care such as regular servicing and/or maintenance. If an elderly car has been neglected for a long period of its life, especially when it comes to regular oil and filter changes, it will likely have lost its reliability and, chances are, it’s waiting to prove this to you just after you’ve bought it or any warranty expires!

Negotiating the price of a used car

When it comes to finalising the price of a used car, the motor industry is in a league of its own due to so many potential smoke and mirrors tactics designed to confuse the car shopper. Whilst a cash transaction is easy most of us consider using finance and may need to part exchange a car. That’s when it gets more complicated and in many cases of used car sales it’s all too confusing by intent.

Sadly many women are too trusting that the advertised price of a used car is a fair one. Or they’ve picked a car that the salesman (it’s usually a male – we’d like to see more females doing this job…) is happy to discount when he knows the car’s background and you don’t. Too many bad cars are being sold as a ‘special price for you’ and it’s only when the ‘warranty’ expires that you start to learn why…

So the point of this blog is to remind all of us to get our cars checked before we buy them. Twice. Once via the likes of Experian’s AutoCheck to make sure the car in question is free of finance and hasn’t been in an accident or stolen.

And again (a different sort of check) to get a trusted mechanic or a dedicated service to give it the once over. Yes, you should be able to rely on the vehicle checks carried out by a car dealer promoting a well known named ‘Approved Car’ scheme but we know of instances where unscrupulous dealers have ticked all the multiple check boxes, actively disguising a missing car servicing history and MOT advisories that hadn’t been addressed pre sale. Clearly the price you pay is critical here, as is any advertising that suggests the car is in better shape than it turns out to be…

So that’s about it from me. When it comes to buying a car, women shouldn’t need to take a man with them and certainly members of FOXY Lady Drivers Club have no need to. Because they can either shop at a FOXY Lady Approved dealer that’s signed a promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women anything they don’t need.’ Or they can ask us for advice and support before shopping elsewhere. And should things go wrong of course.

For example, if the dealer doesn’t get it right or put it right afterwards (most do), we’d then tell the members about this. That’s the FOXY way – fair and feminine by any name!

So if you’re planning on buying a new ie used car soon I recommend you join The Club BEFORE you need us, because we may well help you buy a better car deal than you’d end up with on your own!

And you’ll see we have a special Club offer with Experian’s AutoCheck too (subject to terms and availability) – one of many exclusive member benefits.


Wise up with winter coming says Monaco VW

Monaco Entrance landscapeTracing back to its business origins in 1954 Monaco VW is not only the oldest VW garage on the UK network but we think it’s one of London’s most beautiful too.

And a member of FOXY’s female friendly car dealer network to boot!

We all know that with age comes wisdom of course which is why Monaco VW knows to offer its customers a comprehensive Winter Car Care Check at this time of year.

Theirs costs £29.99 and includes a technical inspection of tyres, battery, brakes, lights and fluid levels. If repairs are needed, Monaco technicians are on hand to assist and any looming concerns will be noted for future attention as part of Monaco’s unique vehicle management service.

Recent figures from the Department for Transport showed that treacherous winter conditions caused over 6,000 road incidents last year. With that in mind Monaco VW is also recommending VW-approved snow chains and snow socks to help drivers keep a tighter grip on the road in snowy and icy conditions. For those new to chains and “socks” a full demonstration will be provided by Monaco VW’s friendly team.

“Our Winter Vehicle Check gives drivers the confidence that they’re not going to feel unprepared when the inevitable hard frosts and poor weather affects the capital over the next few months” said Dealer Principal Anthony Barrell.

We’re happy to promote this for Monaco VW as this is a responsible thing to do at this time of year. We’d also like to remind members that many of our FOXY Lady Approved garages offer a similar service, often free but requiring payment for any expensive engine oil top ups that are usually involved.

NB: This year, all their female customers who provide feedback following a recent visit to Monaco VW will be offered a gift membership of FOXY Lady Drivers Club worth £23. What’s not to like?

Buying a new car in 2014?

swiss_toniIf you’re planning to buy a new car in 2014 you’d do well to read these used car buying tips from vehicle information expert HPI.

This matters because few motorists realise that this isn’t a regulated business area.

To be precise, if you buy a car from a private seller you have few rights in law when things go wrong hence the number of complaints in this area.

Even if you decide to buy a used car from an unknown dealer or showroom, without any Approved Code process being included, she who buys on the basis of a pretty looking car may well be left with a bitter taste if the car in question turns out to be a lemon…

Sadly, instead of the government or the automotive industry sorting this area out, motorists are expected to check this, that and the other for themselves. This ‘caveat emptor’ policy costs the motorist each time of course, simply to ensure that a car sales business is selling a car that’s fit (ie safe) for purpose. Sadly the reality is that few motorists expect to be left so vulnerable in this area so they don’t know to check out complaint numbers before parting with £’000s of their hard-earned money.

This is not a new thing – it has been going on for years and is another area of the UK motor industry we are deeply ashamed of.

How not to be duped by dodgy dealers

Motorists stand more of a chance of being duped by an independent car dealer as 3 out of 4 complaints received by Citizens Advice trace back to an independent used car dealer. Yet there are many reliable used car dealers when you know what to look out for… Apparently 4 out of 5 used car complaints have at least one hidden fault costing an average of £225 to fix and a staggering 1 in 9 faulty used cars bought are said to cost over £1000 to repair. In fact, more than £353 million was spent on faulty vehicles over the past 12 months, according to Citizens Advice, and HPI reckon that statistic might be on the light side…

Shane Teskey, Senior Manager, Consumer Services for HPI, interprets this eye-watering statistic for us:

“Last year 2.7 million used cars were sold privately in the UK and Northern Ireland, which could equate to over £480 million pounds spent on faulty cars being repaired. Too many used car buyers are falling foul of dodgy cars from shifty sellers. Don’t be hoodwinked into parting with your cash without conducting rigorous checks. People rarely buy a house without having a survey, so why would they happily buy a car without having it inspected?”

HPI goes on to reveal that, in their experience, 1 in 5 cars need a cash injection of £550 to keep them on the road, leaving the buyer significantly out of pocket. Something as seemingly straightforward as replacing worn tyres can cost £320 for a Focus or similar. All of which goes to show the value of having an independent vehicle inspection conducted before purchase.

By checking over 200 individual items on a car, an HPI Inspection, carried out by a highly trained vehicle assessor, will help consumers choose a vehicle that’s roadworthy and safe to drive as well as one that’s been in an accident and subsequently repaired. It will also expose any faults such as worn brakes, exhausts and tyres and uncover any hidden defects to the interior and exterior body panels. With prices starting from just £99.00, used car buyers will be spending much less than the cost of buying a banger in disguise.

HPI’s Top Tips for avoiding a wreck

1/ When he says… “It’s just back here…”

We say. “Make sure you are viewing the car in full light and at the registered keepers address. Or is it parked against a wall, under cover with dim light, in a backstreet alley? Scratches and dents are harder to see in poor light, or if the paintwork is wet. A common scam is to sell vehicles from car parks or lay-bys – don’t fall for it.”

2/ When he says… “It’s been spruced up just for you”

We say “Beware a clean engine bay. Most sellers will clean the car from top to bottom to display it in its best light. However, sometimes this can be a ploy to disguise things such as leaks. A trained vehicle inspector stands a better chance of spotting any leaks than the untrained eye.”

3/ When he says… “It looks just like new”

We say “And some parts might be. New fittings that are not appropriate for the age and mileage of the car should make you take a second look. If the car has had new pedal rubbers fitted, or a brand new gear knob, is excessive wear and tear being hidden?”

4/ When he says… “She’s ready to go out for a spin”

We say “Be wise to the warm engine prior to the test drive. Ideally start the car from both hot and cold. If the engine has been running prior to your test drive, there may be an issue around cold starts that is being hidden.”

5/ When he says “Let me show you that”

We say “Beware of vendor demonstrations. They know just how to flick a switch, turn a knob or pull a handle to ensure correct functionality of a system. Best try the item yourself.”

6/ When he says… “Comes with new tyres”

We say “Replacement tyres may have been fitted because of uneven tyre wear, masking steering, suspension and alignment concerns. Undoubtedly new tyres are usually expensive and will look good but they can mask significant defects.

Finally, always check the Vehicle Handbook

HPI’s final advice is to make sure the MOT and service record handbook refers to the vehicle you’re looking at. Be very cautious ie walk away if ANY details appear to have been altered or show signs of being tampered with.

Finally, if you’ve had a good or bad recent car buying experience via a UK car dealer please tell us via http://www.foxychoice.com/good-garage-feedback-for-women.php. We hold Club members’ hands through any complaint process; the least FOXY can do is tell others about any instances where an unscrupulous car dealer clearly doesn’t give a toss about the road worthiness of the car in question and/or has compromised your personal safety here.