Rather like humans have finger prints, cars have VIN plates. These Vehicle Identification Numbers should be unique to every car. The first thing to know about this number is that it’s actually not a number at all. It’s a seemingly random collection of digits and capital letters. But as we’ll see, these characters aren’t random at all. And the VIN is actually the most important means we have of registering the true identity of a car. Here’s everything you need to know about your car’s finger print.
Car ownership can be a taxing business – in more ways than one. There’s so much to remember that it’s easy for simple bits of admin to slip through the net. Forget one of those and it could end in a costly fine or ‑ even worse ‑ an accident. For worry-free and safe winter driving, here are six points that it’s worth checking.
Safe winter driving: car tax and MOT
After the abolition of the tax disc, the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) witnessed an increase in the number of drivers who hadn’t paid Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) or tax. Part of the problem is the tax disc was a very visible reminder for drivers that they needed to keep their car legal. If you’ve lost track – it’s easy to do ‑ check whether your car is taxed by going to the DVLA website here. Continue reading
Drivers escaping bans despite reaching the 12-point limit are increasing. The threat has always been that if you accrued 12 points or more for driving misdemeanours you’d be banned for a period of time. But latest figures from the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) reveal that the number of drivers being allowed to continue driving despite having 12 or more points has grown by a quarter in the past year.
What does the law say?
Currently, if you accrue 12 points or more over a three-year period, you are banned from driving for six months. If you get a second disqualification within three years of that, you are banned for 12 months. Continue reading
A new service has been launched for drivers to check if their car needs to go in for manufacturer recall repairs. This work is called for when specific parts or systems prove faulty on a large number of similar cars. Recently, Vauxhall had to issue a second recall for its Zafira family car’s electrical components causing fires after the first fix proved ineffective. And in 2009, Toyota had to recall around nine million cars world wide, including 180,000 in Britain, because of a problem with unintended acceleration.
To enable drivers to check if their car has been subject to a recall, data company HPI has unveiled a new service to enable drivers to have someone carry out a recall check on their behalf. You simply enter the vehicle registration and HPI does the detective work for you, for £2.99. But it will only save you about 10 minutes and there are cheaper alternatives.
How to check for free if a car has been recalled
No matter what shape and size, or how cheap or expensive the brand, every car needs to be maintained according to a service schedule that is set out by the vehicle manufacturer.
Often, however, the paperwork associated with the servicing of a car can be missing. That can be for all sorts of legitimate reasons, such as losing it during a house move or being mislaid by an elderly relative who is no longer driving.
Thankfully, recovering a missing service record is possible – and pleasingly straightforward. But it’s important to understand the significance of a service record. Continue reading
Motoring fines abroad are one way of ensuring the holiday hangover continues long after the sun tan has faded. Whether you get nabbed by a speed camera or handed a ticket for (possibly inadvertently) parking somewhere you shouldn’t, it can be an expensive business. So what are the rules? And where do you stand if a fine from abroad drops on the door mat? Our simple guide explains all. Continue reading
Drivers have been warned not to be duped by government website copycats charging for services that would normally be free. Continue reading