Tag Archives: tips

No More Motoring Nightmares This Halloween

It’s that time of year when we beg your forgiveness for taking a suitably seasonal but lighthearted look at the many tricks and treats to be found, all year round, somewhere in the motor industry.

So here are some FOXY things to consider this Halloween…

Spooky – how motorists in the know can often pay SO MUCH LESS for new cars than others who trust their car salesman to be fair by them.

Eerie – how we sometimes get sold things we don’t actually need or want, especially when we don’t know the right questions to ask or what homework to do first.

Ghostly – the shortage of women throughout the motor industry (from the Boardroom to the showroom floor) and, in fact, in management roles in business generally in the UK.

Witches – high flyers all of course, we couldn’t possibly criticise our own gender but suspect others might have their own description to suggest here…

Ghouls – those politicians, business owners and companies who don’t appreciate that women are equal BUT DIFFERENT – and need to be treated accordingly.

Things that go bump in the night – the sound of our jaws on the floor when we see our ‘female friendly’ message is gradually getting through in the motor trade!

Whatever you get up to on the night, we hope you enjoy your Halloween.

And please remember, being a FOXY Lady Drivers Club member means you never have to have motoring nightmares again!


Why does anyone buy a bad car?

Why do people buy car brands and models which seem forever at the bottom of independent car reliability charts?

In simple terms if motorists only ever bought the ‘best’ cars we’d need fewer car brands or models for sale. There’d be less scrappage, longer lasting environmentally-friendly cars but fewer franchised dealerships/car sales jobs.

There’d also be less choice at car shopping time and less competition to keep prices low – but presumably there’d be fewer complaints and more satisfied motorists?

I doubt it’s quite as simple as that but I hope you get my point…

Most women are practical car shoppers, come the time, but it’s also true we can buy with our hearts and not our heads. I hear ‘it looked so lovely on the forecourt’ many times when helping members sort out problems later.

I also know many high flying business women who need cars to ferry exhibition and promo materials around yet they buy sports cars with no onboard space. I’m thinking of one in particular with a tribe of young children who really needs a MPV or estate car but chose a pricey, high emissions, small booted Mini… But I’d never dare question or advise her otherwise!!

Whilst we women are good shoppers on the High Street we’re not always as well informed about cars and there’s something semi-irresistible about certain stylish brands or a fantastic used car deal, that we then wish we HAD resisted after we buy one.

Cars that Perform and Disappoint

Take for example the Dacia range of cars. They come in at the top of most surveys for remarkable value for money (because they are really cheap) and they top the Which? survey for reliability (but not the JD Power one). They are so basic there’s surely little that can go wrong? Yes, you won’t find them as enjoyable to drive as others in the same group but perhaps this isn’t important to you. But when you know to compare their Duster, for example, with other SUVs you’ll find it performs badly in crash tests and that there’s a lack of safety features too. This sort of thing does matter to most of us, I’d suggest.

Maybe you think that luxury brands are likely to perform better, at the opposite end of the budget scale, but there are winners and losers there too. For example, Land Rover scores badly for reliability and the new Discovery Sport (2015-) seems to have more than its fair share of electrical faults according to the new Which? Car Guide 2017/18.

See below for 2017 JD Power survey results, just released.

Tesla sits at the bottom of the Which? brand reliability chart for battery and electrical issues but for those that can afford their £61000 Model S, the car’s performance is rated at 5 star probably because it’s such an impressive trailblazer, we all admire Elon Musk and hopefully Teslas will become more affordable for the rest of us in due course.

Sticking with new technology, after big success with its ground breaking hybrid Prius, Toyota is trailblazing again with its hydrogen car, the Mirai. Whilst there are too few hydrogen filling stations as yet, this will surely change soon because these cars can recharge in minutes which will give hydrogen-fuelled cars the edge re range and emissions compared to yesterday’s hybrids and electric car competitors?

Consistently Reliable Brands

As you might expect, some brands and models are consistently reliable performers. Mazda’s MX5 is probably the most reliable sports car there is and the Mercedes-Benz SLK (2011-2016 models) does well in a different price bracket – but if there’s a problem it’ll be expensive to fix. And whilst Audi’s A3 Saloon is top of the Medium size car group it’s a Dieselgate VW Group offender together with excessive emission levels that would fail the old Euro 1 standard.

We particularly like Volvo and Suzuki Cars (and have special affinity deals to make sure women do too) so we weren’t at all surprised to see these brands perform (2nd and 4th respectively) in the 2017 JD Power’s UK Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) with Kia at the top, Skoda in 3rd place and Hyundai in 5th.

We like this survey because it comes from owners and not from a PR company.

Whereas, at the bottom of the VDS you’ll find Dacia, Fiat, Land Rover, Audi and BMW listed (from 5th bottom to bottom) which might come as a shock to many of these owner drivers.

Disappointing Car Brands

Whereas after Dieselgate, it’s unsurprising to see VW near the bottom of a UK brand reliability chart alongside Vauxhall with so many Zafiras and Corsas bursting into fire.

There are many brands and models in between all survey extremes but the purpose of this blog is to remind you to do your car buying homework before you buy any new car that isn’t at the top of your chart. You’ll soon know why if you do AND you could end up wasting time, money and stress sorting out problems that could have been avoided.

Of course, after you’ve decided on the car, you then need to decide if you buy the car online or at a local dealer. Just remember that if things go wrong after you buy, you may be expected to return it to the selling dealer to put right. And do you really want to travel hundreds of miles each way to get this sorted?

If you buy a car and it develops a fault within six months, make sure you know your rights within the Consumer Rights Act. You have rights within six months of purchase even if your dealer doesn’t acquaint you of these and how to claim them.

If things go wrong and you’d like commonsense 1:1 advice from me, you’ll need to be a Classic Member of FOXYLadyDrivers.com first. You’ll hear me start by saying things like ‘Be reasonable at all times and don’t lose your rag’ because cars do go wrong, it’s always stressful, these things are never simple/sorted overnight and ‘nice’ people get the most help, even if they have to resort to law afterwards. Whereas those that lose their cool and start threatening businesses usually get no help at all which makes it hard for me to intervene, reasonably, on any member’s behalf, at any time.


PS: The basis of this blog has been informed by the Which? Car Guide 2017-18, the 2017 JD Power UK Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) plus a wealth of anecdotal experience.

Taking care of your car keys

lost car keysIt’s February – the month to love our cars and all about them, we say.

It’s all too easy to lose your car keys so it can be a shock to discover that a replacement typically costs between £30 and £50 for a blank electronic remote with a blank transponder (the clicking gizmo) and a blank key blade from online suppliers.

You then need to allow around £20 – £30 to programme it and cut the blade.

The cost is likely to be higher from a main dealer, typically £70 – £150.

So it makes sense to take care of your car keys and have a secure place for them in the house, away from outside doors and prying eyes where they might be seen and/or stolen.

Please also bear in mind that your car key battery doesn’t not last forever either so here are some common sense tips to help you avoid getting locked out of your car.

Car Key Care Tips

1. Make sure you replace the key battery every two years, including the battery in the spare key if you have one.

2. If you don’t already have a spare key, make sure you get one and keep it safe – a failed or lost key will cost much more in vehicle recovery.

3. Each autumn on a dry day before the first frost use some lubricating spray on the keyhole, such as a 3-in-1 oil or GT85 Teflon spray. This will help keep the small parts in the lock dry and help those parts to move freely.

4. The lock can freeze in winter if there is water or condensation in it. Place a hot water bottle over the lock for a few minutes and then use WD40 or GT85 to disperse the water and reduce the risk of it freezing up again.

5. A frozen lock may also mean that the rubber seal is frozen on the door frame and if you pull too hard at it you may risk pulling the rubber apart. To prevent this, it’s suggested we apply some chalk dust on to the rubber. This is an important step to carry out when you’re oiling the locks each autumn.

6. Looking after your car keys and locks may seem trivial, but a ‘lock out’ is a severe irritation and you will have no other choice but to call for professional and costly help.

This is the sort of advice, information and support that FOXY Lady Drivers Club provides members with, in addition to VIP insurance, car buying and garage offers as well as a female friendly approved business network of garages, dealers and tyre centres across the UK. Why not join us today?

5 things to consider if you’re driving while pregnant

pregnantFor most women, travelling by car is a necessity and can’t be avoided, even during pregnancy.

Whether you are making the daily commute to work, going to visit some relatives, or heading for a night out with friends, it’s still possible to make the journey by car without too much disruption to your schedule.

There are just a few things you’ll want to consider beforehand.

To help you out, we’ve come up with five essential points that will make your driving experience freer and safer. Take them on board and you should be able to travel around freely until the latter stages of your pregnancy.

Check your car regularly

Pregnant or not, before you even get behind the wheel, you should take extra time to get your car thoroughly checked and all maintenance carried out on a regular basis. This means that your car will be as safe as possible.

Have your car serviced regularly too because a good garage will spot any expensive and/or safety-related problems in advance which you might otherwise miss.

Before every journey you should ensure that you have enough fuel to complete the journey, while essential items like oil levels, coolant, lights and so on can be checked monthly or before you head off on a long journey.

Of particular note are your car tyres – these are THE most important safety-related item bar none, as they are the only part of your car in touch with the road and capable of stopping your car in time in an emergency.

The Tyre Safe charity has published some useful guidance for expecting mothers as part of their Home Safely campaign, created to highlight the particular importance of checking tyres during pregnancy.

Prepare for long journeys

Uncomfortable and long car journeys are best avoided if at all possible during pregnancy, especially during the latter stages. However, if you do need to take a trip for a few hours, there are a few things you can do to make it safer and a little more bearable.

Plan your journey ahead of time so you can be sure there are places that you can pull over regularly for a toilet stop and a stretch. Sitting still for a long period of time can often be uncomfortable when pregnant, so a chance to have a break can do wonders.

If you suffer from back pain while driving, the addition of a wedge pillow, like this one from Mothercare, can often relieve some of the stress.

Pay special attention to seat belts and airbags

While seat belts and airbags are both vital safety features of your vehicle, they deserve some special attention when pregnant. Airbags are considered safe for pregnant drivers, though you should move your seat back so there is a fair distance between the steering wheel and your bump. You may need to increase this distance as your bump grows towards the later stages.

You should wear a seatbelt at all times when driving, in accordance with the law.

However, during pregnancy a three-point belt that has a diagonal strap and a lap belt should be chosen over a lap belt only. This is because it provides better overall support, and any stress placed on your body will be more dispersed, rather than concentrated on your stomach. This instructional video from Safe Ride 4 Kids shows exactly how you should wear a three-point seatbelt during pregnancy.

Practice safe driving

Though you are most likely a safe driver anyway, when pregnant you need to be even more cautious. Don’t take any risks at all when you are behind the wheel — even if other impatient drivers are tempted to. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and practice extra vigilance when on the road. If you feel tired or ill before the journey, it’s probably best to delay it or not to make it at all, just to be safe.
Should your term fall over the winter months, you should think twice about making longer trips and read up on some winter driving techniques so you are prepared.

This guide to driving in hazardous weather by Lookers is a good place to start as it gives you practical advice for a number of weather conditions.

Know what to do if your car breaks down

There are a few precautions that you can take to be prepared for a vehicle break down. The first, and one of the most important, pieces of advice is to always travel with a fully-charged mobile phone, so that you can make an emergency call or find your location should you need to.

It might also be wise to keep a phone charger handy that fits into the cigarette lighter of your car.

Should you feel that something is wrong with your car, pull over safely at the earliest opportunity and point the front wheels away from traffic with your hazard lights on.

You should try and call a breakdown service as soon as possible, as well as a loved one to let them know what has happened. When someone is on their way, it is simply a case of waiting for some assistance.

Keep these essential five pointers in mind and you will be able to safely enjoy the same level of mobility that you have been used to before and throughout your pregnancy.

Is it MOT time?

The MOT Test Centre in Deptford - FOXY Lady Approved of course
The MOT Test Centre in Deptford – FOXY Lady Approved of course

September is a busy MOT month so here’s some timely information to help you prepare for it, if this affects you. Here are three useful tips for starters.

1/ Did you know that your motor insurance could be invalid if you make a claim whilst your car is without a valid MOT?

2/ Your MOT can be carried out up to a month before its expiry date – potentially making it valid for 13 months.

3/ Be wary of cheap MOTs (the full price is £54.85) at garages you don’t know. But do be prepared to negotiate with a garage you know and trust when you have a car service done at the same time. Most garages will agree to discount the MOT fee, hopefully reducing this to 50%.

MOT advice

If your car is older than 3 years then it needs an MOT. The MOT is your friend – it’s a safety snapshot of the car’s roadworthiness but only on the day. Areas that are likely to become a safety-related problem during the short term are flagged up as ‘advisories’ and need to be read and acted on.

A good garage will predict when safety-related areas like brake pads and tyres will likely need changing based on mileage. And don’t think you need to have everything done immediately. Best to stagger non brake or tyre-related work to fit in with your finances.

Needless to say, your tyres are THE most important road safety related component as they are the means of your car staying on the road and/or stopping quickly in an emergency. Tyre safety is a combination of checking the condition of your tyres, their pressure and their tread.

Here’s some advice re tyre safety to help you in this area through the year.

A worrying number of motorists assume that a new car doesn’t need maintenance or tyres checking during their first three years of ownership. That is clearly untrue so please make sure that any members of your family and friends aren’t of that mindset.

Don’t forget your MOT

The busiest months for MOT tests are March and September to reflect new car registration months when car sales are at their most buoyant.

A worrying number of motorists forget their MOT date and, speaking from personal experience, that nearly included me after we acquired a nearly new family car and forgot to add that MOT to our family calendar.

Useful MOT resources

Here’s where to find out the MOT status of your car and when yours is due.

This is what the MOT test includes and how to prepare your car for it.


You can choose a FOXY Lady Approved ie female friendly garage here.