Car ownership

Increased car cloning causes innocent drivers trouble

car cloning
Cloning cars usually starts with stealing a number plate (Picture iStock/Jens Rother)

If you’ve been hit with an unexpected fine for speeding, driving in a bus lane, parking or not paying a congestion or emissions zone charge you may have unwittingly become a victim of car cloning.

New research shows an alarming increase in fines issued by Transport for London (TfL) to cars with altered identities. The number overturned because they were given to cloned cars was up nearly nine times between April 2021 and April 2022.

We look at what cloning is and what to do if you suspect your car has been a victim of it.

What is car cloning?

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We rate the fuel tracking apps that help you to save money

fuel tracking apps
Do you know how quickly you are using fuel? If not you need a fuel monitoring app (Picture iStock/GeorgeClerk)

We all know the price of fuel is going up. But do you know how much you really spend filling your car up? And if you don’t, how do you know if any steps you’re taking to make savings are working?

What you need is an app on your phone that records what you’re spending on petrol or diesel. But which one? We’ve tried five of best-rated fuel tracking apps so we can tell you the ones that are worth looking at.

How fuel tracking apps work

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Ways to stop your car’s catalytic converter being stolen

catalytic converter theft
Drivers are increasingly starting to protect their catalytic converters from thieves (Picture iStock/Michael Vi)

Catalytic converter theft continues to be a problem around the UK. The Centre for Infrastructure and Asset Protection (CIAP) claims thieves stole 2,254 catalytic converters – also known as cats ‑ in March 2022, up by 11 per cent from February.

The CIAP, with backing from the police, now wants to roll out its SmartWater marking for cats nationwide so that more drivers can benefit from it. We look at how drivers can stop crooks making off with this valuable part of their car’s exhaust system.

How can you stop your catalytic converter being stolen?

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Is pay-as-you-go insurance the right cover for you?

pay as you go insurance
Low mileage drivers should look at pay-as-you-go insurance (Picture iStock/Kameleon007)

You might well use pay-as-you-go for your mobile phone. It does after all seem fair enough to only pay for what you use. So what about pay-as-you-go car insurance? It’s becoming increasingly popular with drivers and according to comparison site Compare the Market, a fifth of car owners could save money by insuring in this way.

How does pay-as-you-go insurance work?

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Air conditioning quiz: will you keep your cool?

Turn up the air con to max for our cunning quiz (Picture iStock/Bernie-Photo)

We take air conditioning for granted now that it’s fitted in even the cheapest cars. But how much do you actually know about it? And will some of our questions about what keeps you cool make you all hot and bothered? Take our air conditioning quiz to find out.

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Best motoring apps for your smartphone in 2022

motoring apps
Some navigation apps can work better if there’s a passenger to help (Picture iStock/Dean Smith)

Most drivers have a smartphone. And that means they’ll have access to motoring apps. There are hundreds if not thousands of them out there, but which are worth having and which are worthless?

We’ve taken a look at different areas of motoring and investigated the most appropriate apps for them. Read on for the best mapping, safety and learner driver apps plus the motoring app we think you might not want.

Best mapping? Google Maps or Waze?

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Expert advice: Used car tyres? Probably not such a great idea

used car tyres
Used car tyres can be sold with dangerously worn tread compared to new tyres (Picture iStock/Fertnig)

We’re hearing from our friends in the tyre industry that they’re expecting cash-strapped drivers to buy increasing numbers of used car tyres. Of course, it’s related to increases in the cost of living: motoring costs are as badly affected as food when it comes to inflation.

And buying used (sometimes called part-worn) tyres is one way people might think they can save money.

Like a visit to the dentist, no one relishes forking out to replace the rubber on their car. But I think there are several reasons why buying used tyres isn’t a brilliant idea.

What are used car tyres?

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Great motoring ways to spend the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday

queens jubilee
Why not go to a car show over the Queen’s Jubilee weekend (Picture iStock/Alphotographic)

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations are on the first weekend in June. Ahead of it, Britain is basking in the knowledge that we get a four-day weekend to help Her Majesty celebrate. But what are you going to do during it?

Below we outline five great motoring ways to spend the long bank holiday weekend.

Celebrate with the Queen

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How parking on someone else’s drive is legal and other strange laws

Parked on someone else’s drive? It’s not an instant offence (Picture iStock/Alphotographic)

Imagine waking up and finding someone else’s car dumped on your drive. It might sound strange but it happens. And astonishingly there’s no simple fix because one of Britain’s strange laws means it’s not immediately illegal.

You read that right. The 1991 Road Traffic Act handed over parking enforcement to local authorities. They can fine drivers for parking on public roads. But a drive is private land and the council has no jurisdiction over that.

The land owner isn’t allowed to remove the rogue car either as that could make them responsible for damaging someone else’s property.

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What does the war in Ukraine mean for car drivers?

The cost of living is increasing and so is what you pay to go motoring (Picture iStock/Simon Bradfield)

The devastating effect of war in Ukraine is being felt to a lesser extent across Europe and into the UK too. Here we look at how the war is affecting car users today and the impact it could have in the future.

More expensive fuel

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