Tag Archives: Cars

AutoData Reports the Top 10 Serviced Cars

AutoData has released its annual Top 10 Serviced Cars of 2016 a few months back but I’m still working through my backlog. This really important information, it puts slant on used car buying and packs a punch. AutoData has access to about 67% of the auto workshops in the UK, and all which are using AutoData’s online services, so its a fairly comprehensive data set on the scale of things.

One of the things which screams good car, isn’t really about how many millions have been sold, how many you see on the road, or how long its been in production. Its when you see plenty of the on the road beyond 6 yrs old, when the warranty’s have run out AND they are worth spending on by having services and upkeep. No one regularly services a banger, its good money after bad.

I would say this dataset is bordering on definitive, the only larger dataset is the governments log of all registered cars, and perhaps the MOT log. I don’t believe these 2 potentially larger datasets would be more helpful. You MUST have an MOT, and it MUST be registered, but neither says its a good, reliable car or well looked after vehicle. However a voluntary willingness to spend, to service and maintain says the car is worth the effort and probably well looked after, hence being a better dataset for your car buying arsenal.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is, when there are very few cars left on the road of a hugely popular (in its time) car, it usually means total nightmare or many faults. Without further ado, here is the list and later on in this post I’ll point out some examples of popular cars gone so very wrong.

Autodata Top 10 Most Serviced 2016
Position (2015 Pos) Make Model Year
#1 – (1) Ford Focus (2004-on)
#2 – (6) Vauxhall Astra H / MK5 (2004-on)
#3 – (4) Peugeot 206 (1998-on)
#4 (New) Ford Transit (2006-on)
#5 (New) Vauxhall Corsa D / MK4 (2006-on)
#6 (New) Volkswagen Transporter T5 (2003-on)
#7 – (2) Volkswagen Golf V / MK5 (2003-on)
#8 (New) Peugeot 307 (2001-on)
#9 – (3) BMW 3-Series (2005-on)
#10 – (5) Renault Clio II / MK2 (1998-on)

Once you remove Working vehicles and the evergreen BMW, you’re left essentially with half a dozen of the most popular cars in country, Focus, Astra H, 206, Corsa D, Golf V,  Clio II and 307 (larger class), that’s a really rock solid selection to find a used car from. Its also includes 3 of the cars my own extensive research lead me to (Focus 2006-2008, Astra 2007-2010 and Golf 2007-2009). 

It would have been nice if they had differentiated between iterations of Focus, 206 and others so you could get an idea of the mk or series, much like with the Astra mk H, Golf mk V, but beggars can’t be choosers.

My local independent garage swears blue by the 2008-2010 era Ford Focus, this is to the extent that he talked me out of buying a Hyundai i20 off him, and he didn’t even have a Focus to sell me. It would be interesting to see raw numbers like Ford Focus, total number, number of each year, number of each engine, but the dataset would be huge, useful as you could rule out problem engines, problem boxes etc but so very huge.

Previous Year Drop Outs

I thought it maybe interesting to include 2015’s Top 10 Drop Outs. I suspect in the Top 20 you would find some of the following, the Ford Fiesta, VW Polo, Honda Jazz, Honda Civic, Audi A4, Audi A3, Ford Mondeo, Merc A-Class, Nissan Qashqai, and maybe a Citroen C4 in there. A few of these dropped out of the top 10 since 2015, I didn’t think the Passat were that popular, I’m surprised the Fiesta Dropped out, its always hugely popular. 

AutoData Top 10 Most Serviced 2015
Position Make Model Year/MK
#7 Volkswagen Passat  
#8 Ford Fiesta  
#9 Ford Mondeo  
#10 Audi A4  

I am somewhat surprised none of the Japanese, Korean or other Eastern Marques made any sort of entry, I though the Kia C’eed, Honda Jazz, Honda Civic or Hyundai i20 would have made the list. Perhaps they don’t use AutoData at the marques dealerships.

As someone in the process of buying a(nother) car, I have been searching long and hard, and have paid the price for some mistakes, and this data tallys’ quite well with my own research so I’m sharing the data with you. Of course don’t take this as written in stone, but if you’re looking for a car in this class (small-medium car) then this data should hit the nail and give you a solid starting point. 

When Popular Cars Go Bad

Scrapyard Cars

Scrapyard Cars

A few examples I have experienced first hand are like the early model Fiat Punto, they were like buses, two at a time everywhere you looked, the Canary Yellow were so popular, and it was horrid. Now you rarely ever see them on the road due to the diabolical electrical problems, they used to go up the road like a damn disco. The early Ford Escorts pretty much fell apart with rust, I remember the boot floor and rear wheel arch turning to thermite ingredients, the Capri were almost as bad. 

The Aygo/C1/107, the early versions at least had a transmission made out of rubber bands, which literally died for a giggle. I’m not sure about the current models. I once saw a garage were buying them with a failed tranny for scrap, then fitting the uprated 190mm gearbox from the Toyota Yaris which isn’t made of rubber bands and reselling them as rock solid runner.

The Mercedes A-Class, the old 2002-ish Auto, the Gearbox ECU were a known fault. Due to the whacky way its set out you have to lift the whole engine out of the vehicle to get to the transmission. This means its silly expensive not only for the parts being a Merc but also in labour costs. While on gearboxes the more recent M32 Gearbox in lots of current cars means they are often resold at the first sign of slipping, then they are reconditioned by garages and sold out again.

Its always worth checking into known faults, check ebay and breakers to see how many of your car are for sale for parts or repairs, and figure just how bad the fault it. This is also a good indicator of parts availability too. 

Future Updates

I have fired off an email to AutoData to see if they will A, reply to a small time blogger like myself and B, provide me with the top 20 for a few years so I can do a more inclusive plotting. I will ask for 3 to 5 yrs so I can build a better image, I’m also hoping they will give me actual numbers so I can attempt to place them in an all time top 10, least the ones with more than 1 year beyond top 20.

I’m not sure they will already have that data or even if they will provide it for free even if they do.

I will of course report back with any replies I get. 

Beetle Mechanic Photo by Gratisography, Scrapyard by Emmet.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Risky Locations Could Increase Your Car Insurance Premium

Ghetto Area High Insurance

Ghetto Area = High Insurance

In the UK “Black Box” or “Telematics” devices are used as a way to reduce the cost of insurance for new or young drivers by tracking how they drive. Its hoped by having an “all-seeing-eye” watching how you break, corner and accelerate will make you a safer driver, and apparently its proven to improve the drivers skills. The Discounts are up to 38% and even 40%, when you consider the average new and young drivers insurance can be £2,000+, a 40% discount is substantial.

You may not know this, but some Telematics policies actually track WHEN you drive, so if you regularly drive between 11pm-7am, your discount is reduced. If you regularly exceed the speed limit. If you regularly drive during rush hour, it can also reduce your discount.

Its worth pointing out that the Telematics box won’t increase your premium for THIS year. It will reduce your discount / refund, when you drive or how you drive.

What Do Telematics Boxes Track

Geotab Go7 Telematics Device

Geotab Go7 Telematics Device

If you look at the list of what telematics box can track:

  • Time of day or night you drive.
  • Speeds you drive.
  • The type of road (A, B, Motorway).
  • Your Location.
  • If you brake hard or accelerate sharply.
  • If you take regular breaks to rest on long journeys.
  • Your motorway miles and usage.
  • Fuel Level.
  • Seatbelt Usage.
  • The way you handle corners.
  • The total mileage.
  • The total number of journeys you make.
  • Vehicle Maintenance and Condition.
  • Anything else the ECU knows, such as remapping or mapping out egr/dpf etc.

You can see there is quite a lot of information there, and many ways this can be interpreted and analysed.

Next Years Premiums Could Increase

Its fairly openly stated in the small print that it could (read as Will) affect your renewal or next years premium, and its sketchy if the data is shared with other insurance companies. More so even if shared within the same company for example Bell Insurance shares with its parent Admiral and sister Elephant for example.

Insurance companies have been trying to standardise the systems  data since 2014, so its coming soon that companies will share, less clear how UK data protection laws will see that.  

What they don’t officially track is your geographical location, but I believe this data is logged, I mean they are using a GPS tracker, so your location must be tracked but its not used yet. My research tells me there are (currently) no plans to change that. 

Driving In Risky Locations

Car Price IncreasesSome insurance companies in America are starting to use the Geographic location data in the calculation of your insurance premium, so if you routinely drive through down town Detroit at midnight where more than 1 person in every 2,000 people will end up dead in any given year, you can expect your insurance premium to rocket.

Same if you routinely park your car in the ghetto or rougher parts of town. 

I’m not sure how Risky Location would be defined in the UK since we don’t really have “hoods” or “motor city” type things, but I’m guessing they will use the same data they use to assess your home risk factor.

If you live in a low crime area, with high value homes, your insurance is cheaper, than if you live in a high crime area with low cost homes, or overspill estates etc then your insurance costs more. Since this data already exists, I suspect they will use this same type of data to determine if you’re driving / parking in “rough” areas. 

Its interesting times ahead as far as insurance goes, and its not the first time something altruistic has taken a more sinister turn.

Ghetto Area image courtesy of boldizsar csernak, Geotab Go7 Telematics Device image courtesy of Geotab, and Price Increase image by Svilen Milev.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Car Shopping and New Driver Insurance Tips

Broken Car Insurance

Broken Car Insurance

I officially only own a car now, one were sold recently. It still seems bizarre, since I passed my theory test, I’m now looking at a car for me to drive. I am juggling between a few ideas…

Update: I now own 2 cars again, Just bought another Car.

Short Term Plan

Buy an older car, perhaps a 2004-2007 plate, keep it for a year rack up the no claim bonus and experience. This will be a smaller car, and not as useful to lump my gym weights, kegs, logs and other stuff around. Once the year is up, I’ll have a year under my belt which reduces my insurance by approx 8%, the no claims discount will take approx 20% off, nearly cutting a third off my insurance.

I can then buy a more suitable car with the reduced insurance.

Medium Term Plan

Buy an decentish car, perhaps a 2008-2011 plate, keep it for 2-3 yr, rack up multiple no claims and years of experience.  This will be a larger more practical car, able to move all that I need to move but not quite my ideal car.

By the my current estimates 3 yrs experience knocks approx 12% off the insurance and 3 yrs no claims knocks 35% off. These aren’t applied concurrently, so its not like £1000-47%=£530, its more like £1000-12%-35%=£572.

I at this point, would be able to buy a lower trim/spec ideal car, with affordable insurance.

Long Term Plan

Buy the type of car I want, with a lower trim and slightly older registration to reign in the insurance.

I would need to bite the bullet on the insurance, VED and initial costs, but solves all my problems with the other plans. The numbers make it clear, this is a really really bad idea.

Its likely I will need to do Short Term, Medium and Long, or at best Medium and Long plans and progress.

Costing Projections

Ford SuperDuty F450 Super Ranch 2017 Model

Ford SuperDuty F450 Super Ranch 2017

Current costings on an average run of the mill “dream region” vehicle, not allowing for price increases, inflation and blah, based on “fake” information entered into various comparison sites. So I basically set the years of experience, and pass date back 1 yr and increased NCB by 1 yr each step. The figures are levelled off between 2-3 comparison sites, but don’t allow for cashback or other incentives or my age increasing, which in retrospect I should have increased my age by 1 year as well.

Costing Chart

Year 1: £3,700, 0 NCB, 0 yrs XP.
Year 2: £2,900, 1 NCB, 1 yrs XP.
Year 3: £2,200, 2 NCB, 2 yrs XP.
Year 4: £1,900, 3 NCB, 3 yrs XP. (I have no idea why the drop seems small).
Year 5: £1,2o0, 4 NCB, 4 yrs XP.
Year 6: £1,000, 5 NCB, 5 yrs XP. (again not sure why the drop is small, but seems to be a pattern)
Year 7: £800, 6 NCB, 6 yrs XP.
Year 8: £750, 7 NCB, 7 yrs XP.
Total: £14, 450 over 8 yrs.

From Year 7, the drops are small, about £50 per year and it floats around that same price. Not much difference really, I anticipate, about 10% rise each year on top as well. The medium term price cuts the long term prices down about 40% off the top leaving £8,670, the short term plan, into the medium term plan, into the long term plan gives me about 60% off the long term plan leaving £5,780 over 8yrs. Hefty savings to be had with some shopping around and compromises.

Realistic Plan

I think I’m going to have to find a sub group 6-8 vehicle, which fits my absolute basic needs, which is a little like short term plan 2.0, perhaps a Honda Jazz, Toyota Yaris and at an absolute push Toyota Corolla or an older Gen 8 Civic perhaps, maybe even a Vauxhall Astra. I could make do with a VW Fox, but oddly not a Polo, shoulders are just too wide.

So I think I will have to bite the bullet on an older car for the year, and possible move on again.

What is amusing is, I can get insurance on a 1999 plate, 4 litre, Convertible Chevrolet Camero with a custom reg plate, for LESS than I can on a 1.6 litre Ford Focus, the minimum excess is £3,000 but still, how does that happen. A 4 Litre Red Convertible Sports car costs less than a bloody baby engined Focus ? Its actually cheaper to insure the Camero on a provisional than the Focus too.

Final Thoughts

Unless your 6 n a half feet tall, with huge shoulders and a bit of a gut, the trick is go for an old around 15-16 yrs old, group 3-4 car, like an V/W/X-Reg polo/fiesta, you can get that insured for about £500 on provisional, and about £1,400 first year insurance.

Failing that a 2009 plate Kia Picanto, 2009 Toyota Aygo/C1/107, VW Fox, 2012 Skoda Citigo, will all come in around 600-800 on provisional and 1300-1600 on fill license.

A 2006 Honda Jazz, 2007 Toyota Yaris, 2009 Toyota Corolla, 2010 Vauxhall Astra will all hit 1,000-1,100 on Provision and £2,000-2,200 on full license for the first year.

Its also worth waiting about 3 months after you pass before you get a car. I took a quote on a 2010 Vauxhall Astra Active 1.4L, and assumed I had a provisional, passed that very day, and passed 62 days previous, and passed 125 days ago, and all assumed no named driver experience, and 0 NCB, here’s how it worked out…

Provisional: £1,220
Passed Today: £2,470
Passed 62 Days Ago: £2,200
Passed 125 Days Ago: £2,097

All on the same car, the same is also true on various cars I tried. Once you go above insurance group 15 or below group 4, the differences are way smaller but still apply. But waiting a few months, could save you 8-17% off the top depending which car I tried.

Ford F450 Image Courtesy of Ford Motorcars.

Red Crash Images Courtesy of Duchesssa.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Private Number Plates

MR57 EVE Number Plate

MR57 EVE Number Plate (not a real plate)

Like many people who deal in domain names, who also deal in other rarities. The most common of which are Car Registration Plates and Mobile Phone Numbers among various others.

I’m always watching DVLA Auctions for any decent number plates or plates which I like coming up. There maybe 1 or 2 I like in the 21st September to 23rd September auction (Catalogue Here). It made me think about my biggest personal reg plate purchase.

Suitable Cars

I bought the personal number plate which closest matches my surname, which were madness since I didn’t even have a car new enough to hold the plate. In general the rule is, you can’t put a plate on a car which is newer than the date of the car. So you can’t put a 2016 Plate on a 2012 registered vehicle, but you can put a 2012 Plate on a 2016 Registered Vehicle.

The person I took with me, had never been to a DVLA Auction, or even any auction before so they didn’t know the hammer price is a far cry from the price you pay. In this instance the hammer dropped at £4,000, on top of this you have pay VAT, Buyers Premium at 8%+VAT and a £80 DVLA Assignment Fee (about the only thing without VAT).

The break down of the costs looks something, more or less like this…

Hammer Price: £4,000.00
VAT on Hammer: £800.00
Buyers Premium: £384.00
VAT on Premium: £76.80
DVLA Assignment Fee: £80.00

Total Cost: £5240.80

This means the final price is just over 31% extra on the hammer price, so its a hell of a whack on top. When you add hotels, fuel, 2 days of food, drink, etc due to distance the auction were held away from my home, it were closer to £6,000 all in.

DVLA Auctions

New Look Plate

New Look Plate

This is just a standard auction, so I’ve decided to bid online, since there isn’t a plate I 100% want no matter what.

Some of the interesting ones are… I especially like “New 100K”, which as a personal trainer / fitness coach / body transformation expert / make over coach, this plate would be spectacular.

That’s not the plate I’m mostly interested in, but I have listed some of the nice plates due up in this auction… I have also added the perceived alphabetic words too.

Day 1 – 21st September
Lot 353, Plate: 848ES (BABES), Guide Price: £2200
Lot 346, Plate 82ENT (BRENT), Guide Price: £1200
Lot 462, Plate GRO11S (GROWS), Guide Price: £300

Day 2 – 22nd September
Lot 549, Plate: H311 KAT (HELL KAT), Guide Price: £250
Lot 689, Plate: KN16HTS (KNIGHTS), Guide Price: £700
Lot 890, Plate: NEW100K (NEW LOOK), Guide Price: £250

Day 3 – 23rd September
Lot 1099, Plate: RU13BER (RUBBER), Guide Price: £700
Lot 1228, Plate: THE 145T (THE LAST), Guide Price: £250
Lot 1229, Plate: THE 800T (THE BOOT), Guide Price: £250

Awesome Branding Opportunity

Its worth considering a private plate as an awesome branding tool. Can you imagine, you’re a professional, top of your game in Scratch and Dent Removal, so you turn up and your number plate is “RU13 BER” like in an eraser. You “rub out” spots, scratches and dents.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.