Media post: Two Important Checks for Buying a Used Car

Used car. Picture courtesy thevra.co.uk

Buying a used car comes with many advantages – using depreciation to your advantage and getting a better deal being the main one. But when you’re buying used it makes it harder to know exactly what you’re getting. This post gives you some tips and pointers to help you wise up to the tricks dodgy sellers use when selling used cars.

Clocking

Clocking is the word used to describe the way dodgy dealers disguise the true mileage of a used car, making it appear to have been driven fewer miles so they can extort more money out of you. So how can you avoid finding yourself in this predicament and shelling out more for a tired out motor?

Check the vehicle inside and out for signs of wear

Check areas like the front of the bonnet for high-speed stone chips (indicative of heavy motorway driving), worn pedals, wheel and upholstery. If the mileage looks low, but the wear and tear indicates otherwise, this is a warning sign.

Check MOT history and service records

This should be willingly given and easily available from your dealer if they’re trustworthy. You can even contact garages for the recorded mileage at the time they had the car in.

Penalties do exist in the UK to stop this from happening as regulations state that a seller must disclose the fact that the mileage has been altered. The European Parliament bans firms that wind back the clock on vehicles. So make sure you choose a reputable dealership like Shelbourne Motors, for instance. The Sale of goods Act 1979 stipulates that when you deceive or misrepresent a customer about a product or service for a monetary gain, it is in fact a crime. Despite this – people still try their luck.

How can you tell if the vehicle is stolen?

Make sure your chosen car has the V5C document. This registration document shows the registered owners, past and present – not the person in possession of the vehicle, so you can directly contact them if you have any questions about the servicing, mileage or modifications for example. Watch out for the following:

  • Watch out for missing V5C documents
  • Make sure the V5C is legitimate, valid with no spelling mistakes or missing watermarks.
  • Ensure the details like name and address match that of the person selling the car – request that you check their ID for this – driver’s license or passport.
  • Check the identification details on the car match that on the V5C document with no alteration.

These are a couple of the main ways you can make sure the car you’re looking to buy is legitimate

Media post: Insuring Your Classic: Why It Pays to Own a Vintage Motor

1958 Buick Limited. Picture courtesy americanclassiccar.com.au

There is something really special about classic cars. They possess an indefinable charisma that transcends the ages, the purr of their antique engines proving enough to send many grown men into shivers of ecstasy. With their gleaming paintwork, vintage aesthetic, and timeless elegance, it’s little wonder that those who own them adore them. That’s why it’s so important to take proper care of them. From weekly waxes to luxurious garages, dust sheets, and devotion, it’s essential to treat your vintage drive to the very best, and choosing the right insurance for it is a great place to start…

How to Insure a Classic Car

For those blessed enough to own a vintage motor, two insurance options present themselves: insuring as a ‘classic’, or insuring for ‘everyday use’. The former policies are often highly competitive, and companies like A-Plan pride themselves on offering premiums that you’ll love. The downside is that these may impose limitations, making them ill-suited to those who don’t just drive for pleasure.

Classic Specific Cover

‘Everyday use’ policies for classic cars are much the same as those for other vehicles, but specialist cover varies in some quite marked ways, and many enthusiasts are quick to sing its praises. This is largely down to the highly competitive cover that’s available. With coverage for many popular models starting at around £100 for the year, you can save an awful lot of money by choosing your policy with care.

Laid-up Cover

For those who would like to reduce their costs even further, laid-up cover is available for when your car is off the road. With many enthusiasts choosing to lock their beloved classic away in a warm, dry garage during the wet winter months, you’ll find that this practice can prove very beneficial to your wallet, cutting costs to as little as £45 per year.

Agreed Value

Special classic car cover can save vintage enthusiasts a lot of money in the long-run, but it’s important to choose your policy with care if you want your efforts to pay off. This means paying attention to the ‘agreed value’ that you and your insurer settle on. Although higher value cars may well cost more to insure, this will add mere pounds to your policy, and will ultimately ensure that all of your potential costs are properly covered before any repairs or replacements are needed. Take care of your classic car today by choosing the perfect cover, and give your bank balance a welcome boost along the way.

BSCB featured in the Special Annual Edition of L’Automobile Magazine

TLVM 2015(Click to enlarge) 

BSCB is now in its 4th year of collaboration with best-selling French monthly L’Automobile Magazine, with tighter links being woven each year. Every year L’Automobile Magazine publishes the bible “Toutes les Voitures du Monde” (All the cars in the world), a catalogue listing, describing and analysing every single nameplate sold across the planet. This Special Edition, in French, is available to purchase in all French-speaking regions of the world including France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, New Caledonia, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Reunion, Mauritius, French Guiana.

For the 2016-2017 edition, BSCB has upped its involvement, which now includes:

– A full page feature at p.12 of the magazine detailing the best-sellers in the Top 10 markets in the world including a mention of BSCB

– All commentary and photos for the “Tour du Monde” (Around the World) section of the magazine from p.335 to p.355

– BSCB’s expertise coverage of the Chinese car market has been put to good use with all commentary for the Chinese brands selected among the largest brands in the world: BYD, Changan, Chery, Dongfeng, Geely, Great Wall, Haval and SAIC

– All commentary for the Japanese models not sold in France including Daihatsu, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota

Media post: Maybe 12 volts isn’t enough anymore

1954 Cadillac cadillac sixty-two1954 Cadillac Sixty Two

In the early part of the 1900s, cars all had 6 volt systems. Back then a 6 volt system was perfectly capable of powering the starter, lights and other accessories that the cars and trucks of the time had in them. Things changed in the 1950s, though.

In the 1950s, Detroit started the power accessory revolution. Things like power windows, power seats, power antennas, radios, air conditioning and other accessories all started to appear. Unfortunately, this caused a problem for engineers who were taxed with the task of designing an electrical system that could power all these accessories.

The solution came from General Motors who in 1954 offered a 12 volt system in their Cadillac Series 62 models. The rest of the American car industry quickly followed suit and soon every passenger car and truck made had a 12 volt electrical system. The results were significant. Ken Garff Used in West Valley City, UT tells us that vehicles with 12 volt systems started faster and multiple accessories, like the radio and AC could be used at the same time.

As the number of automotive gadgets climbs, however, the industry is wondering what to do. Today’s cars offer a buffet of new electronic technology and car engines themselves, which traditionally used little electrical power, now have lots of electrically powered components.

So, wouldn’t a simple solution be to just beef up the existing 12 Volt system? Let’s do a little math and see how it all adds up. Take all the power consumed by all the electrical accessories in a new car-the power windows, the defroster, the heated seats-and the total will probably be between some 1.5 and 2.0 kilowatts. To supply 2.0 kilowatts of power, a standard alternator must be capable of churning out more than 140 amps. Not a problem, especially with the new water-cooled designs. But size up a 14-volt alternator to feed the 3.0 kilowatts of power expected in cars built later this decade, and you’re looking at 200 amps. This is an entirely different matter because wiring that is capable of carrying 200 amps is extremely thick and expensive.

So to drop the cable and alternator size issues, one simply needs to increase the voltage of the system. The number being thrown around currently is 36 volts. 36 volt systems would be just about right to power the complex demands of today’s automobiles and provide plenty of reserve for the future.

That being said, the car companies are hesitant to switch to 36 volts. There are some downsides. Electrical components will corrode more quickly and potential arcing are two major reliability issues. Plus, many devices in an automobile just prefer fewer volts. Light-bulb filaments, for example, grow too long and flimsy if designed to handle more than 12 volts and smaller, low-amp electric motors must be wound with special extra-thin wire that increases cost.

So, today we have a wait-and-see thing going on. Several manufacturers are experimenting with 36 volt systems but none have decided to go into production yet.

Media post: Towing a Trailer

Ram Trailer

If you’ve never towed a trailer before then this guide is for you. First, don’t be afraid of towing. You’ve probably heard some horror stories about trailer accidents but, honestly, they are rare. Furthermore, if you do some homework (such as reading this guide), you will probably never have an incident. Here’s checklist of what you need to know.

Make sure your car the right size

First, make sure your vehicle is rated for towing the trailer load you wish. You need to find two numbers: 1) The gross trailer weight (GTW), which is the combined weight of the trailer and the load on it
2) The maximum tongue weight for your vehicle to determine the class of hitch you’ll need.

Get the right hitch

Get the appropriate class of hitch for your load installed. Generally, you’ll get a hitch receiver installed that you can use for different size trailer hitches. Ken Garff of West Valley, UT recommends that you use a class 3 or higher hitch.

Class 1: 2000 pounds GTW/200 pounds tongue weight
Class 2: 3500 pounds GTW/350 pounds tongue weight
Class 3: 5000 pounds GTW/500 pounds tongue weight
Class 4: 7500 pounds GTW/750 pounds tongue weight
Class 5: 10,000 pounds GTW/1000 pounds tongue weight

Get the right-sized ball

The larger the ball, the more weight it can carry. Basically, the ball of the hitch will come in one of three sizes:

1 7⁄8 inch (4.8 cm)
2 inch (5.1 cm)
2 5⁄16 inch (5.9 cm)

Attach the trailer

Use the tongue jack to raise the trailer and align it with the ball. Make sure that the hitch lock is unlocked before lowering the trailer onto the ball and securing the tongue. After you lower the hitch, lock it securely. Cross the safety chains to the hooks near the vehicle hitch or the vehicle frame, making sure there is enough slack in the chains but not so much that they drag on the ground.

Attach the lights

Attach the lights with the wiring harness. Generally, these employ a simple one-way connection that makes it easy to hook up the lights to the harness.

Secure your load

Tie down everything that could potentially fly off the trailer. Depending on the load you’re hauling, you might need to use a tarp to secure loose objects in boats or refuse trailers, since you’re responsible for anything that flies out and causes damage.

When underway, stop occasionally and check things.

Stop frequently and check everything. Make sure your cross chains aren’t dragging on the road, make sure your load is securely fastened down in the trailer. It make be a good idea, especially if night is falling to check to see if all your running lights and turn signals are working.

Media post: The latest on Airless Tires

aireless-tires

When Scotsman Robert Thomson invented the pneumatic tire a century and a half ago, a rubber doughnut inflated with air was only one of several ideas he proposed. It seemed like a good idea but he was concerned about how one would keep the air contained within this new type of tire. Other designs he had involved filling his proposed tire with sponges, springs and even horsehair. The object of all of this, of course, was to have a tire that absorbed shocks and thus provided a comfortable ride regardless of what the road conditions are. Even though the pneumatic tire had yet to be perfected, research was being put into tires that weren’t inflated by air.

Airless tires on the Moon

Despite over 100 years of success with pneumatic tires, the concept of an airless tire appeared once again, but this time on the Moon. Yup, in the 1970s NASA’s Lunar Rover was outfitted with four 9-by-32-inch tires consisting of steel-mesh toroids attached to aluminum hubs. The treads were made of V-shaped titanium which undoubtedly were considered the best type of tread for driving around on moon dust.

Back on Earth, the Tweel was developed

Back on earth, the concept of an airless tire became a serious concept once again when Michelin designed the “Tweel” in 2005. The Tweel consists of a thin rubber tread band reinforced by a composite-plastic belt and supported by dozens of V-shaped polyurethane spokes. Introductory claims versus conventional pneumatic radials were impressive. Studies showed that they were capable of two to three times the tread life and five-times-better lateral stiffness. Frankly, the Tweel seemed like the answer to every handling engineer’s dreams.

Holt Fiat of Fort Worth, TX explains that Bridgestone presented an airless tire concept at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. Mimicking the Tweel, the airless Bridgestone consists of a thin rubber tread supported by flexible thermoplastic spokes and a rigid aluminum hub. Inner and outer spokes run in opposite directions to provide vertical compliance without twisting. Bridgestone claims that high-speed noise and vibration are not concerns.

Airless tires are still years away

Despite plenty of R&D, nonpneumatic tires are realistically a decade away. Beyond their performance, two things will propel them toward acceptance: Tire companies must address the recycling of such tires and, of course, expense. The new wheels must be cost competitive with the old technology or the industry will likely stay with what is standard and familiar.

Media post: When it’s time to ditch the old car

Rusty beetle. Picture courtesy asegeev.com

Most of the time when an old car needs repair, you just bring it to your local dealer and simply have it done. However, there are times when perhaps it’s best to part with your old friend. Sure, a good mechanic can repair just about anything but sometimes it’s not worth the expense involved because either it will cost too much or you may be left with a “poor investment”. Here’s a few good examples:

1 Excessive rust

There’s “surface rust” and then there’s “rust perforation.” If your old car has some surface rust starting to show, a good body repairman can sand off the rust and paint it as good as new. Rust perforation is a different affair. When there are holes in your car’s body, they need to be filled, generally with a patch panel. This sort of repair when done right will last a while but not usually a real long time. Cars with rusty holes in them are good candidates to sell or trade.

2 Noisy engines

Today’s engines run pretty quiet. It’s not like the old days when you could hear valve trains clicking away and making general rattling noises. That being said, Holt Chrysler suggests that if your old car seems to have a noisy engine, it might be time for a trade. OK, sometimes engine noise is just a valve train adjustment, which isn’t a terribly expensive affair but other times its piston slap, rod knock and other stuff that means a complete overhaul is necessary.

3 Bent frames

If your car gets hit hard enough by another vehicle or you plow into something at speed, chances are that the frame of the car is going to get bent. Sure, you could take it to a body specialist and get it straightened but, face it, it has been compromised and weakened by the strain that was placed on it during the accident.

4 Electrical problems

Some cars as they age just simply start to develop electrical problems. The bottom line is that some manufacturers just simply do wiring better than others. The problem is that when wiring starts to go, it can be devilishly hard to troubleshoot and repair. Be careful if you find yourself chasing multiple electrical problems in a car you own. The money can add up fast and, in many cases, the problems reappear!

5 Blown head gaskets

The head gasket is the gasket that separates the “head” of an engine from the engine block. For a variety of reasons, head gaskets can leak and while this usually isn’t a major problem, sometimes it can be. Sometimes when a head gasket leaks, the engine overheats. Unfortunately, when this happens it can “warp” the head (which is aluminum and can warp easily) and this is a very expensive repair. In fact, some mechanics just junk the old engine and try and find a fresh, low mileage one to replace it.

Media post: How to get out of a speeding ticket

Speeding ticket

Driving a little fast? You know the drill, the second you see those ominous lights in the rearview mirror, you know there’s a good chance you’ll be handed a ticket.

Or, maybe not? For minor speeding (typically less than 20mph over), an officer will use his discretion as to whether to issue a citation or let you go with just a warning. To sway the odds in your favor, there are certain things you can do when you’re pulled over that may help your cause.

If you pass a traffic cop, smile and wave

If you’re going five to 10 over and suddenly see an officer, smile and wave as a way of acknowledging that you’re paying attention and slowing down.

Put your turn signal on the second you see their flashing lights

If you get pulled over, start off on the right foot by communicating with the officer, especially if you’re somewhere that’s too dangerous to immediately stop.

Stop immediately if the siren comes on

Don’t look for a better spot to pull over. If the officer hits the siren, he or she considers it safe enough to stop right here.

Get your license, registration, and insurance out before they get to your window

It’s a safe bet that the officer doesn’t want to spend any more time at this stop than you do, so dig out your info. Another item: If you know your registration and insurance are buried somewhere, wait with your hands on the wheel until the officer is there and then ask permission to dig for it.

Say something nice before they go back to their car

Timing is important here, say something nice before the officer goes back to his car to check out your information. Once he or she writes that ticket, it’s a done deal.

Don’t be short with a cop, but don’t talk too much either

Rambling doesn’t look good, but answering with a quick, one-word response to every question actually makes you look suspicious. Have a brief conversation.

Be humble and apologize

We’re all humans, we all make mistakes, and believe it or not officers really do have compassion. As Holt Fiat of Hurst recommends, if you’re speeding and you know it, apologize to the officer and say you’ll be more careful!

Avoid speeding around the holidays

There are certain times of the year when officers can take overtime to sit around with the sole purpose of writing tickets. That unofficial buffer zone of 5-10mph, give or take, still applies, but try not to exceed that on holidays.

Media post: A history of Invention – The Peugeot story

peugeot-logo-01

Last year, Carlos Tavares turned French manufacturer Peugeot around from a firm that was losing money, into a once again profitable enterprise. Now Peugeot is firmly back in the picture. This was probably one of the biggest crisis situations to affect the brand since the company was founded in eastern France by brothers Jean-Pierre and Jean-Frederic Peugeot. They founded what would later become the biggest producer of cars in France and one of the most iconic manufacturers in the world.

But it was Armand Peugeot, the great-grandson of Jean-Pierre, who is often credited with transforming the family business into an automotive giant. After traveling to England, he saw the potential of the bicycle and started producing them on a large scale, and they were a huge success.

Several years later he developed a steam powered tricycle and exhibited it at the 1889 World Fair in Paris; laying down the foundations of the group’s automotive ingenuity.

The advent of internal combustion engines

When combustion engines became more reliable, Armand took to them immediately and together with his cousin Eugene, created the first Peugeot car, using a Daimler engine. However, Eugene was sceptical about making a big investment in this new technology, forcing Armand to set up the automotive branch on his own. He built a factory in Audincourt, to begin production of internal combustion engine cars. By the time he retired, Peugeot were the biggest manufacturer in France, producing 10,000 cars per year.

World War 2 stalled production of popular cars as main plants were converted to help the war effort.

2010-Peugeot-Lion-Emblem

After the end of the war Peugeot, restarted production and in 1947 released the 203: it’s most popular car up until this point. They produced 700,000 model copies of the car and actually proved popular enough to be the only model in production, up until the release of the 403 in 1955.

In 1983, the firm released the 205, the car credited with turning the company’s fortunes around completely. The hot hatch proved popular in France and Britain thanks to its chic styling and fantastic handling. This model is still popular today and the GTI versions are still increasing in value.

How they look today

Modern Peugeots are getting an industry-wide boost thanks to the financial help now available to buy a new car. Leasing options and telematic boxes let owners drive away new cars at a very little initial cost, something that has helped the firm’s recovery in the last year or so. Plans for 2 new SUV’s look set to revive the functional roots of Peugeot’s past. Hybrid and EV cars are also set to be produced within 3 years, signifying a bold entrepreneurial change that Armand Peugeot himself would probably have been proud of.

Media post: How to Buy Cars to Sell at a Dealership

Car dealeship

If you own your own dealership, then finding the correct cars to sell is essential. If you pick the correct cars to buy and sell, you’ll get a high turnover, increasing your profits and hopefully resulting in happy customers. However, if you don’t buy well, you may end up with stagnant stock and falling sales. So, how do you pick what cars to sell at your dealership? In this post, we take a look.

Find What’s Selling Nationally

Generally speaking, if something’s selling well nationally, it will sell well at your dealership, too. The top selling cars in the UK generally seem to sell well at all times and across a number of different destinations. At present, the top selling cars in the UK are:

3) Ford Fiesta

2) Ford Focus

1) Volkswagen Golf

Source: Confused

You’ll also need a high turnover to make your business successful, so keep an eye on what’s selling quickly. The fastest selling cars in Britain are:

3) Ford Focus – average days to sell – 18

2) Ford C-Max – average days to sell – 17

1) Citroen Grand C4 Picasso – average days to sell – 15

Source: CarMagazine

If you pick a popular car that’s selling quickly and is in good condition, you can’t go far wrong.

Find What’s Selling Locally

Although what’s selling well nationally will give you a good indicator of what types of car to buy, you also need to keep an eye on the local market. For example, what’s selling well in Bristol may not be selling well in Aberdeen or Leeds. The local roads and local driving conditions will largely dictate what cars are selling well. For example, small cars and superminis will generally sell well in cities, while 4X4s, SUVs and Crossovers will sell well in the countryside where there might be more of a need to go off-road.

Calculate Depreciation as a Guide

Finally, motorists are becoming more and more conscious about the costs of car ownership; particularly during the financial downturn. As such, many are thinking about the perils of depreciation. To appeal to these motorists, keep a constant stock of cars that depreciate the least. It’s a great selling point, particularly if you and your salespeople keep mentioning it. To conclude, stocking the correct vehicles in your garage can be straightforward. Look at what sells well and quickly, and also keep an eye on depreciation. You can’t go far wrong.