Classic Cars – A Guide to Buying Online

Buying a Classic Car requires thought, research and some planning. Classic cars are usually bought by enthusiasts to use and enjoy. It is not easy to make a profit from buying and selling classic cars.

Make a project plan and do your best to stick to it

You may see a tempting classic car restoration project listed in a newspaper or classic car magazine or on the Internet that may only be one or two thousand to buy and could be worth ten times as much once it is restored.

Practically though, have you the skills to carry out the restoration of the chassis, engine, interior, and the exterior ? If you need to find a specialist company to undertake some or all the work your ten times buy price may just come down to zero or very little profit indeed. Indeed in many cases the cost of restoration when added together will exceed the market value of the car. If you plan to keep the car and enjoy using it then this is perhaps an acceptable price to pay but do not expect to be able to sell the car at a profit particularly in today’s “credit crunch” economy.

Before you start looking – do you have enough storage space ? Do you have enough working area (remember once stripped down, the bits can take up an awful lot of space). No old car likes to be kept out in the open, not even with a plastic sheet to protect it from the rain, frost and snow and even the worst masochist won’t like working out in the open when it is blowing a gale! Lying on a cold concrete garage floor is bad enough but working outside in all elements usually puts a restoration project on hold permanently ! 

Where to look for your classic car.

Look in the your local newspaper, classic car magazines, the Internet or even just take a stroll down your street. There is no shortage of old cars to buy. But what if you are looking for something special? Well, let’s face it, these days the easiest place to look is on the Internet.

Go to Classic Lots (link below) and you will find thousands of classic cars from a rusty Mini for £100 to a Ferrari for £500,000. This excellent site also includes all the classic cars available on Ebay.

Once you have identified the car that you want, read between the lines and look at the background of the pictures.You can learn a lot from what is not said as well as the way a description is written.

I am always cautious when it says “selling it for a friend” and yet there is no contact number for the friend so you can make personal contact. When the subject of mileage is omitted from the specification box and the description… why?

Keeping in touch with reality is essential. IF IN DOUBT – CHECK IT OUT!!!! Answer those niggling questions. In the pictures you can see what looks like oil on the ground. Is it from the car you are buying? Is that mud or rust?

Ask yourself four questions. Why do I want the car? How much can I really afford? How far do I want to travel to view or collect it? and then the most important question of all… Do I really know enough about these cars to commit X thousands of pounds on a piece of pretty (or perhaps rusty metal)?

So, buying a classic car on an online auction? Well, I would advise you to adopt the following rules before commencing such an undertaking, and before you make a bid !

Remember if you are the highest bidder (assuming if there is a reserve that it has been met ) and you win the auction then you have entered a legal contract to buy that vehicle (providing the seller has described the vehicle correctly).

Do not expect to go to collect the car and having viewed it to be able to haggle over the price or to walk away. Buyer beware, and if at all possible always view the car in person before you place your bids. If do not feel confident in being able to asses the condition of your prospective purchase take along someone who has the skills to give you an honest opinion of the condition of the vehicle. You may also wish to consider using the AA or RAC who both provide professional pre-purchase inspections – if the seller seems reluctant to allow this inspection walk away !

Viewing the car before bidding

If you have decided to go and see the car then arrange a viewing and if for any reason you can’t make it, let the seller know, it’s only courteous not to waste their time just as you don’t want them wasting your time.

Things to take: a jack, perhaps some axle stands for safety, a torch, gloves and at the very least, a list of points you want to look at.

When you get there take a quick look around. Has the car been kept outside or has it been garaged, this can give you a good indication of the condition you can expect of the body and or chassis. Are there other rotting hulks just lying around, maybe the seller just buys any old junk they can find and try selling it on, not much chance of the car you have come to see having had a service any time recently.

Take a walk around the car and look for the tell tale signs of sagging which could indicate suspension problems or perhaps chassis problems. Do the doors and panels line up correctly, another indication of chassis problems or perhaps the car has had a bump at some time. Is it even one car or was it once two? Any repairs? Have they been completed well or have the repairs been bodged? Do the tyres match? What condition are they in? Check for rot in the body or in fibre glass cars/panels, look for stress cracks. Check the areas which are most prone to rot ie. arches, sills, doors, boot and bonnet. There are many different types of panels that can be used to effect repairs on a car and because of this the quality of repairs can vary.

Check inside the car. Windows, front and rear screen, are any of them leaking? Is the headlining damaged or dirty? Lift the carpets where you can, check for water and any rot, maybe even holes in the floor? Check the floorpan and joints, don’t forget inside the boot, the floor and spare wheel area. If you are happy so far with the body etc. try the engine (you did check all around the engine compartment didn’t you?). Will the engine start from cold? If the engine is already warm perhaps the seller is trying to hide something, maybe cold starting problems, maybe he had to get a jump start or a tow just to get it going? Listen for any knocks, look for smoke. If you see blue smoke on startup that quickly clears it could mean the valves are tired and leaking oil into the combustion chambers. If the smoke does not clear that could indicate a very tired engine, something that will have to be added to the budget, not only for investigation but for the repairs.

Clouds of steam on startup could indicate a blown head gasket or even a cracked cylinder head. Remove the radiator cap and look for “goo”. It is cross contamination and a good giveaway of cylinder head problems. Black smoke, probably just an over rich mixture but could just as easily be a worn carburetter.

Knocking. Well, it could be for a number of reasons, light tapping on the top of the engine could be a worn camshaft or a small end on its way out. Knocking from underneath could be a big end bearing breathing its last. An expensive repair. A rumbling noise could be a main crank shaft bearing on its way out, yet another expensive repair. Check the various hydraulic fluids and water levels. Look for any stains around the compartment and on the engine. Does the radiator smell of anti-freeze? Is there any oil lying around? Not a good sign. Keep the engine running for a while, some problems won’t show up until the engine is warm. If the car is driveable, take it for a spin. How does it “feel” on the road, does it “pull” to the right or left? Is the clutch “spongy” or firm? Does braking throw the car into oncoming traffic? (eek!) Wiggle the steering wheel, any clunks? When you accelerate does the car lurch in any particular direction?

OK so far so good. Now, the car may be 20 or 30 years old so it is not going to have all original parts. Brake shoes, clutch, spark plugs, points etc.. if they are the original parts, they are not going to be working very well by now! But seriously, if you are looking at an older car, does it have any of the original panels? Is the interior original? These points can add value to the car but the seller may try to pass off parts which were made last year in China as “original parts”.

Check the paper work. Does it have all of the required paperwork with it? Check the logbook, a very good place to start and don’t be fobbed of with “We have just moved house and can’t find it at the moment, I will post it on to you..”. Never buy a vehicle without a logbook unless you know exactly what you are doing. It is also useful to have any old MOT certificates and any receipts are good as well.  

Valuing classic cars.

How much to pay? Well, the actual value of a classic car will vary considerably. It depends on condition, make, model, year and of course, what is it worth to you? Just how much would you pay to have that special car sitting on your drive at home?

Be realistic! Just because you can isn’t a good enough reason to buy a chassis of a 1926 Rolls Royce if you have no idea where to get the rest of the car and no idea of what to do with the parts if you can get them. Providing you followed the advice above on checking the car over, you should have a good idea of whether you are bidding for a car you can drive away or one that will take months before it even has wheels.

If you read the magazines, talked to the owners club and browsed the Internet to get a good idea of what your aimed for car is selling for, then you should have a price in mind that you will pay for the car depending on its condition.

Most classic car insurance policies include an agreed value based on the market value of the car. At the end of the day, it is up to you and your budget. If you feel happy with what you have paid for your car then that is all that matters.

The basic rules for Internet Auctions.

Identify what you want – and have some idea how much you want to pay. Set a budget

only you know what you can afford to spend, or borrow. Use classic car magazine price guides and real adverts to see what your classic will cost to buy. Ideally hold back 10 percent to cover any unexpected problems. Calculate running costs by looking at mpg figures. Get insurance quotes: classic cars can be covered on cost-effective limited-mileage policies and are often surprisingly cheap to insure. Remember also that pre 1972 vehicles also have no road fund licence to pay. Talk to owners about how costly your classic will be to run.

Join the owners club. A huge resource of expertise can be found in owners clubs. Not only will they have some of the best looked-after cars but they have huge amounts of knowledge on the subject of buying and running your chosen classic. They often have cheap insurance and parts schemes, too.

Get an anorak ! No really – buy some books on your chosen classic, read magazines and become a classic-car bore. Research on the Internet and visit Classic Car Shows to talk to owners. You can never know too much.

Select a range of examples available… and do not let the cash burn a hole in your pocket. There are thousands of cars for sale every day so be patient, if it is not there today, it will be soon.

Check the sellers location – are you prepared to travel to inspect and then collect the car if you win the auction. Do you need to consider the cost of having your new pride and joy collected by a car transport service or could you hire a trailer and collect it yourself ?

Check out the seller. Read all the feedback for the last three months, negative feedback should ring alarm bells Ring him/her and get to know about your seller. Why is it being sold etc. Things like “Why are you selling the car?”, “Does it come with any spare parts?”, “How long have you had it?”, “Is there any rot?”, “Does it have any history?” MOT’s, receipts etc. can be helpful for the rebuild. If you know any specifics about the car you are enquiring about then ask any of the questions you feel you need answers for. It could save you a long drive and time away if you have the necessary information before you leave.

If a vehicle has less than 3 months MOT ask the seller if they would be willing to send the car for a fresh MOT – to correct an MOT failure could be expensive.

In the event of a car being sold as an MOT failure, ask the seller to specify the list of failures, then give your local garage a ring and ask them to give you a quote for the work that needs to be carried out. this will give you some idea of the costs involved in getting the vehicle through its MOT It will save you time and money in the long run, no point in bidding on a vehicle that is going to be to costly to put back on the road.

Keep copies of all emails sent and received between you and the seller. they will come in handy if a dispute or conflict arises over the description of the item or any promises the seller makes you.

Check if the seller is a private individual or a dealer – there are many people who buy junk from car auctions and then simply try to pass them off as their own vehicles for a quick profit.

If the seller is a trader passing themselves off as a private seller and they are willing to lie about their status what else are they willing to lie about!!

If the vehicle is being sold by a private seller, ask them how long they owned the vehicle for? is the logbook registered in their name and at their home address? if it is a genuine private sale, then the answers to the above questions should be yes!! if the answer is no to any of the above walk away.

A few examples of the excuses usually given by traders posing as private sellers for not having the vehicle registered in their name “I bought the car for wife/husband or family member and they don’t like it” “insurance to high” (people will usually always get an insurance quote before buying a car)”wife/husband did not like the car” “too big or too fast” or “they failed their driving test” “I bought the car as a stop gap”

ring any bells? I am sure you have heard at least one of the above and I have heard them all.

Remember it is a Legal Requirement to register a vehicle in your name regardless of how long you intend on keeping the car.

A reputable trader should and will disclose the fact that they are a trader, remember if you buy through the trade they may have certain obligations to rectify any problems with the car.

In the event that you have bought the car without prior inspection, before you go to collect the car, print out the item page and take it with you. If the seller has mis- described the item in anyway, you will have proof in your hands to argue your case.

If buying from a private seller, always meet the seller at their home address which should match the address the car is registered at. If there is a problem at least you will have an address to go back to. Do not agree to “meet on the Tesco car park as it will be easier than finding my house “

When you go to collect the vehicle if you are unsure about the vehicle or the seller walk away. Never part with your hard earned money until you are satisfied.

Once you have handed your money over, you will not be able to get it back! If you have not viewed the car do not pay prior to collection, if you do you will have little choice but to take the car away or lose all your money.

What’s the worst that can happen if you walk away? the seller will give you negative feedback. its better to have one negative feedback than a car which is going to cause you lots of problems and cost you time and money. You can always argue your case with the online auction site and you may get the feedback comment removed.

As a winning bidder you have a legal obligation to complete the transaction,however the seller has a greater obligation to be honest about themselves and the item they are selling. If the seller has misdescribed the vehicle and you do not complete the transaction they are very unlikely to take legal action against you for not completing the deal. Remember however if you simply change your mind and walk away without good reason the seller may take steps to recover the money from you.

The basic rules apply even if you are buying from a trader or private seller if something sounds to good to be true then it usually is !!!

I hope that you have found this guide helpful and that using this advice when purchasing a classic car online will help you to avoid the pitfalls and hopefully you will end up with a classic car to use and enjoy over the coming years.

Rental Car Insurance – Should You Buy Rental Car Insurance?

Your flight landed an hour late. Now, you’ll be late for that important meeting. You can already imagine your customers sitting around a conference table waiting impatiently. You step to the front of the line at the car rental counter, with six other exasperated businessmen behind you who are late for their meetings, too. The rental agent plunks the contract down in front of you, and circles all the places on the contract that you’re supposed to sign or initial. Then she stares at you, as if to say, “Hurry up!” The print is small. The sentences are written in Legalese. You’d like to stop and read the fine print, but you can feel the people behind you getting more upset. You thought you were renting a car for $35.00 per day. With all the add-ons, the cost is now $70.00 per day.

Oh…the pressure…the panic! You cave in, signing and leaving your initials in all the right places. You take your contract and keys and head for your car, inwardly feeling like a failure and mad because you didn’t stand up for yourself.

If the preceding story is too familiar, there’s hope just ahead!

It doesn’t matter if you’re a regular car renter or just an occasional traveler who needs to rent a car, you’ll likely face these kinds of choices at the car rental counter. Some folks just decline everything. Some folks purchase all of the coverage offered.

But…are you wasting bunches of money on unneeded coverage or leaving yourself dangerously under insured? Before leaving on your trip, I recommend that you make two phone calls – one to your auto insurance company and another to the credit card company you’ll be using to pay for the rental car. You’ll need to find out if you have automatic coverage for your car rental from each company, and the various terms and conditions for that automatic coverage.

FIRST…CALL YOUR CAR INSURANCE COMPANY

In your personal or business auto insurance policy, there is coverage for damage to your auto. The Insuring Agreement in most policies says: ” We will pay for direct and accidental loss to ‘your covered auto’ or any ‘non-owned auto,’ including their equipment, minus any applicable deductible shown in the Declarations.”

Another phrase is VERY IMPORTANT!

“If there is a loss to a ‘non-owned auto’, we will provide the broadest coverage applicable to any ‘covered auto’ in the Declarations.” Here’s an example of how this would work for you:

You have two vehicles. One is a 2006 Toyota Camry with full coverage. It’s worth $24,000. The other is a 1980 Chevy S-10 pickup worth $1,500 that you only use for trips back and forth to the local home improvement store, and you only have liability coverage on the pickup. If you rented a car and it got damaged, your insurance company would provide the full coverage for the rental car, which is the broadest coverage in your policy.

If you normally drive an older car with only liability insurance on it, there will not be any property damage insurance extended to the rental car. In this instance, you should either use the credit card’s Collision Damage Waiver or buy the CDW from the car rental company.

Ask your insurance company representative how much coverage you have on your car. Ask if there is a limit of value on your Collision coverage. If there is a limit, and you drive a 7 year old Ford Taurus that’s worth $5,500…and you rent a new Cadillac Escalade that’s worth $55,000…will your personal auto insurance cover the damage to the higher valued vehicle? REALLY important to know this…you could owe the rental car company tens of thousands of dollars to repair or replace a high value rental vehicle if you’re not properly covered.

Find out the limits of liability. Make sure that your limits are higher than the minimum limits required by your state. Limits above $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident for Bodily Injury, and $100,000 for Property Damage are very inexpensive. Make sure that you limits are no less than that amount…higher would be better.

Find out what collision and comprehensive deductibles you have on your car, because those deductibles will apply when you rent a car and use your own insurance for rental coverage.

Make sure that you have Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist coverage on your personal or business policy. If you are in an accident with an uninsured motorist, and the accident is his fault, recovery will be practically impossible. Likewise with a motorist who is underinsured. Best to have your own coverage protection.

Q: What if I don’t own a car, and don’t have car insurance?

A: If you do not own a car, you won’t have an automobile policy. You should buy the rental car coverage, both the CDW and liability coverage. Or, you should use your credit card’s CDW and buy the optional liability coverage from the rental car company. If you’re a frequent car renter, however, you can still buy a “non-owner” liability policy. This solution might save you money over the coverage available through the car rental company.

Q: What happens if my personal property inside the car gets damaged or stolen?

A: Most Collision Damage Waivers provide coverage for theft of the vehicle, but not any personal property stolen or damaged inside the vehicle. Check your homeowners or renter’s insurance policy because you may have coverage through them for your stolen or damaged personal property. A deductible will likely apply.

Here’s a super important tip! Some people think that, if they purchased the Collision Damage Waiver or used the CDW from their credit card, and the rental car got damaged, they don’t have to report it to their own insurance company. They are hoping that because the CDW covers the damage, it won’t affect their own insurance policy….and they won’t get a rate increase. WRONG!!! Don’t be misled into thinking that you can get away without reporting your accident to your own insurance company. In most accidents, more things get damaged than just the rental car. Even if your accident is just you running into a guardrail, whoever owns that guardrail is going to look to you to pay for the damages. Also, other people might have been injured. You could have a large liability exposure, and you might need your personal or business auto policy to cover your loss. Your insurance policy includes legal representation if someone files a lawsuit against you for damages.

If you’re going to use your own personal or business auto coverage, decline the Collision Damage Waiver on the car rental contract.

NEXT…CALL THE CREDIT CARD COMPANY

Ask your credit card company about the benefits they offer. Each company is different, and each level of credit is different. For example, a regular card might have different insurance benefits than a gold or platinum card. Ask the card company to send you your benefits IN WRITING. If you’re in a hurry, ask them to fax or email it to you.

Some cards may only cover collision and comprehensive, and leave you uninsured for liability. Some cards only offer coverage when you rent from a certain rental company. Some restrict the number of days of coverage. Some cards don’t automatically cover you and require you to sign up for a particular program. Still others limit the kinds of vehicles you can rent. (see below for some exclusions)

If you have more than one credit card, call each one and find out the card with the best benefits. Then, use that credit card to pay for your rental car, and use their benefits.

If you’re planning on using the credit card company’s coverage, you must decline the Collision Damage Waiver shown in the rental car contract. Otherwise, the credit card company’s coverage will become excess to the coverage in the rental car company’s Collision Damage Waiver. “Excess” means that any other available coverage would pay first, and the credit card coverage would pay any remaining portion of the loss.

Credit card Collision Damage Waivers cover:

o vehicle damage
o theft
o loss of use
o towing

See your credit card company’s written CDW for all the details.

Collision Damage Waivers exclude:

o Injury to anyone or damage to anything inside or outside the rental vehicle.

o Loss or theft of personal belongings.

o Liability

o Loss due to intentional acts, like DUI, drug use or other illegal activities.

o Off-road operations. If you rent an SUV and take it off-road, no coverage.

o Rental periods of more than 15 days within your country of residence, or more than 31 days in a foreign country.

o Vehicles that do not meet the definition of “covered vehicles,” such as:

- expensive, exotic and antique vehicles

- certain vans

- pickup trucks

- other trucks

- motorcycles and ATVs

See your credit card company’s written CDW for all the details.

CAR RENTAL INSURANCE

Most major rental car companies offer these four coverages.

o Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). This covers a rental vehicle damaged by an accident, vandalism, theft or loss of use. Costs range between $9 and $20 per day.

The most misunderstood part of car rental coverage is the Collision Damage Waiver, or sometimes called the “Auto Rental CDW.”

Remember…the car rental CDW provided by the car rental company is not insurance. Insurance is regulated by each state. Collision Damage coverage is a waiver. The car rental companies agree to not hold the renter responsible if the rental car is damaged or stolen, and they guarantee that they will pay for certain damages listed in their coverage agreement.

In many cases, the waiver also provides “loss of use” coverage, which pays the rental company if the damaged or stolen car cannot be rented. In most states, car insurance policies don’t cover loss of use. So, if you choose not to buy the Collision Damage Waiver, you might have a loss of use exposure if the rental car gets damaged. But if you’re using your credit card’s automatic coverage, it will pay for that loss of use.

Some car rental companies will require you to pay for repairs or replacement costs out of your own pocket up front, and then you have to get reimbursed by your own insurance company. Being forced to come up with thousands of dollars in immediate cash could ruin a vacation. You’re protected from these up-front costs by the CDW. Read your rental contract CAREFULLY!

o Personal Effects Coverage. This provides coverage for theft or damage to personal items inside the rental car. Costs range between $2 and $5 per day.

o Supplemental Liability Insurance. This provides liability coverage up to $1 million. Costs range between $7 and $9 per day.

o Personal Accident Insurance. This covers you and passengers in your vehicle for medical expenses. If you already have personal health policies or travel policies, it won’t be necessary to buy this optional coverage. It usually costs between $3 and $5 per day.

Corporate Travelers. If you’re a frequent traveler for business, do one other thing. Check with your company to find out if they have a corporate travel policy. If they do, find out what that policy covers, and then simply don’t buy duplicate coverage on the rental car contract.

Car rental outside your country of residence. Some insurers exclude coverage if you’re driving in a foreign country. Some will cover you, but only a limited time. Some credit card companies cover car rentals outside your country of residence. Check with your insurance company and credit card company for specific details, and GET IT IN WRITING!

Q: Can I allow others to drive my rental car?

A: If you’re using your personal or business auto coverage to cover your rental car, the chances are all “authorized drivers” are covered. An “authorized driver” is anyone listed on the policy. However, here’s a BIG GOTCHA! If your teenaged son drives your rental car and he allows his girlfriend to drive the car, you’re covered. If the girlfriend allows another person to drive, NO COVERAGE!

Some car rental companies have exclusions for young drivers. Some charge extra for young drivers. Find out this information BEFORE you arrive at the car rental counter.

Q: How do I file a claim if I’ve had an accident?

A: When you experience the damage or theft, immediately get a camera and take lots of photos of the damage, including any other autos or property that was damaged. Keep those photos! Notify the rental company IMMEDIATELY of the damage.

Report the damage to your own auto insurance company if you have personal or business coverage.

When you return the vehicle to the rental company immediately ask for:

o A copy of the accident report and any claim documents, which should show the amount you’re responsible to pay, as well as any amounts that have been paid toward the claim.
o A copy of the initial and final auto rental agreements.
o A copy of the repair estimate or the paid repair invoice.
o A police report, if one exists.

So the bottom line is this:

If you have personal auto insurance, commercial auto insurance or corporate travel coverage, it is usually not necessary to pay for the Collision Damage Waiver or extra coverages offered to you by the rental car contract. Your situation may vary.

Get everything in writing, and make an informed decision. Then enjoy your car rental experience!

Top 10 Kinds of Cars For 2009

Looking to buy a new car this year? You may have your heart set on a particular make or model and you might have explored the new and second hand car prices on the internet and have decided that you can afford to purchase the car of your dreams, but a question you have to ask yourself is can you afford to run it? 

Previously you may have asked yourself this question in passing and not really given it any real thought, but with the changes in Vehicle Excise Duty in 2009 and spiraling fuel and maintenance costs, coupled with the Credit Crunch and the through of recession for the next few years then running costs become much more important, therefore compromising and picking a car that you not only like, but will save you money in the long run is a sensible thing to do.  

What about the changes in Vehicle Excise Duty? Now cars are classed by how much Carbon Dioxide they emit, therefore more environmentally friendly cars will be charged less Vehicle Excise Duty than more polluting vehicles. At the time of writing the least polluting cars will be exempt from paying tax at all, where as the most polluting cars (class M) such as large, big engined 4×4 vehicles will have to pay £440 per year. Come 2010-11 then this cost increases further to £455 per year.  

If you’re looking to purchase a brand new car, then there will be another shock for your wallet and it has been dubbed the ‘showroom tax.’ If you’re looking to drive that Class M car out of the showroom, you’ll also have to face a bill for a one off ‘showroom tax’ payment of £950. 

To help you pick the right car in this current environmental and financial climate we’ve compiled a top ten list of cars and car related schemes to consider that could save you money. 

1. Buy a Small Family Hatchback. Small family hatchbacks are generally more economical to run and are usually big enough to meet most people’s needs. For example the VW Polo Bluemotion 1.4 Tdi is an economical runabout which falls into the Group A tax band. Not only do you not have to pay any tax on this vehicle, you can also avoid paying the showroom tax as this diesel car is so economical it is exempt. This car also boasts around 70mpg which makes it super cheap to run. 

2. Buy a Diesel. When it comes to economical cars, vehicles with diesel engines are first to spring to most people’s minds. Whilst historically this was typically true, with the cost of diesel at the pump increasingly outstripping the cost of petrol, buying a diesel may not be the best way to save money. For drivers who typically need to drive a lot of miles each year then a diesel will still be more cost effective than its petrol equivalent. However if you do not drive many miles then this may not be true. You’ll need to do the maths before you take the plunge in buying a diesel car. On the plus side, the miles to the gallon of a diesel vehicle is typically much higher than petrol cars, so you will at the very least be doing more for the environment. Diesel vehicles are also typically classed into a lower tax band saving money on Vehicle Excise Duty.  

3. Bi-Fuel Cars. Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) as a method of running a car or van is becoming a popular way of running a vehicle more environmentally friendly and economically. Although you can buy a bi-fuel car from new many people pay to convert their current car to support LPG. The cost to convert a car is typically around £1500 and a real saving of around 30% on fuel costs can be made with each fill up at the pumps. Finding a petrol station that sells LPG may be one of the more difficult aspects of owning a LPG vehicle, with at least 10% of forecourts now stocking this alternate fuel type.  

4. Electric Cars. – For many years electric cars have been pitched as the salvation to spiralling fuel costs and saving the environment from car pollution. Unfortunately in reality the electric vehicle hasn’t really lived up to the hype, with slow vehicles and short battery life limiting range. There are a few vehicles on the market which may be suitable depending on your circumstances. If you live in the centre of a large capital city such as London then a vehicle like the G-Wiz may be the right vehicle for you. Owning a G-Wiz in London could make perfect sense as they are exempt from paying parking charges in Westminster, do not have to pay the Central London Congestion Charge and are free from both road tax and petrol costs. However there are some catches. The G-Wiz is a tiny vehicle and feels very cramped inside. The car has a top speed of 50-60 miles per hour, which may not be the end of the world in a city where traffic barely moves faster than a snail pace. Another limiting factor is that the range of the vehicle is just 70 miles and it takes a while to recharge the batteries, which is not quite as simple as filling up at a petrol station! A less extreme version of the G-Wiz is the Toyota Prius, a hybrid electric vehicle which predominately runs off petrol, but uses electric power at low speeds and recharges the batteries at faster speeds. The Prius can do around 65 mpg making it an extremely economical car to drive.   

5. Large Cars For the Family and Dog. If you’re single and want to save money on your car running costs or do your bit for the environment then you have a lot more options than families who need a larger vehicle to fit everyone in. Whilst smaller cars are more likely to be economical there are some larger vehicles out there which have been designed with both space and economy in mind. Take the Ford Focus C-Max 1.6 TDCI LX- a MPV which has been designed to give plenty of room inside. This is a five seat car which boasts a 1620 litre boot space and a top speed of 115mph. With fairly low emissions, helping to save money on Vehicle Excise Duty and decent economy with 58mpg this vehicle is a good bet for a family looking to save money.  

6. Sports Performance in a ‘Green Car’. Traditionally being green means that you also have to sacrifice something. However car manufacturers being aware of this have been trying to come up with a compromise- a car with good performance, yet can also give a decent MPG return. For example the Honda Accord 2.2 I-CTDI Sport is one of these cars with 52.3 MPG and a top speed of 129 miles per hour, a great combination of efficiency and performance that can meet all your expectations.  

7. Buy a Classic Car. If you’re scared that you’ll loose a lot of money on the value of your car then buying a classic car may be the best option for you. Try to avoid fashion trends such as the one for VW Beetles and Camper Vans which inflate the cost of these vehicles short term for them to only crash at a later date. Instead pick a car that pure enthusiasts hanker after, as most classic cars tend to hold their value, or indeed increase over time as long as they are looked after. Maintenance costs are likely to be much higher with a classic vehicle and they may not be the most economical on the market, but for pure return on investment if you pick the right vehicle then you will likely get your money back when you come to sell the car.  

8. Car Sharing Schemes. Those looking to save money on their everyday running costs of their cars could consider car sharing schemes. Basically car sharing schemes are set up for people to take turns when they drive, saving themselves money on fuel, plus gaining the benefit that they do not have to drive all the time! There are plenty of car sharing schemes out there, such as ones set up for parents doing the school run to a scheme for members of the Met Police Force in London. Explore the options in your local area and you may find that car sharing is a great way to save money. Perhaps if you want to get even more involved you could consider setting up your very own scheme.  

9. Time Share Cars. You’ve heard all about time share villas in the Costa del Sol, but you don’t necessary have to be scared of time share car schemes. These schemes can range from clubs where you get a share of a Ferrari or Bentley to drive at the weekend every so often, to pay-as-you-go car schemes where you can join a club, and simply book a run-around for as long as you want from an hour to a day. For those who tend to use public transport predominately and can’t really justify owning a car then a pay-as-you-go scheme may be the perfect way of having access to a car without having to pay expensive rental costs. Live in a city and fancy a country jaunt once a month? No problem, book a car online and pick it up, swipe your membership card on the dashboard and you’re away! Generally fuel costs (up to a point) are included and insurance is also taken car of.  

10. Car Finance Packages.  In the current economic climate taking out a car finance package makes perfect sense as you can split your payments over many months allowing you to fully budget for your vehicle. If you are considering buying a car in cash over a forecourt you may be concerned about the recession and redundancy. Having a nest egg in the bank can help provide comfort and piece of mind. Spending that nest egg in the current climate may not be the most sensible thing to do therefore buying a car on a car finance scheme can be the smart move. Also you will likely be able to afford a better car on finance than you might if you were to buy a car outright. The newer the car the more likely your maintenance costs will be reduced, again saving you money in the long run.