Author Archive | Contributed Post

Choosing The Right Insurance Cover

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Owning a car is every person’s dream. A car is a major investment and hence, any decision with regard to buying one calls for prudence. When you buy a car, one of your first instincts is to save it from any sort of damage. From taking care that it doesn’t even get a scratch to buying insurance, you exercise caution at every step. But how should you decide which insurance cover is best suited for your car?
Firstly, you should know your options. There are two kinds of motor insurances, third party motor insurance and comprehensive motor insurance. The difference between the two is that, while a third party motor insurance covers only the damages caused to another’s vehicle and its passengers due to your mistake, a comprehensive motor insurance covers everything. Under third party insurance your vehicle is not covered, whereas in comprehensive motor insurance, both the third party vehicle and your vehicle are covered. It covers for the injuries caused to the passengers of both vehicles. This cover also includes any damages to your vehicle in case of unfortunate events such as thefts, fires, and natural calamities among others.
While both kinds of motor insurances, third party and comprehensive, have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages; you should ultimately go with the latter, especially if you live in Dubai. Even though a comprehensive motor insurance is more expensive than a third party insurance, it covers a greater number of damages, lowering the risk of your purchase. A third party insurance is suitable only when your vehicle is of low value and the cost of its repair, in case of any future damage, is less than the premiums of comprehensive insurance.
It is absolutely necessary for you as a car owner, to have motor insurance in the UAE. As far as car insurance in Dubai is concerned, the minimum requirement by law is to buy third party insurance. But as statistics show that accidents in Dubai are more frequent than most other places, it is best to choose the comprehensive cover. Although not mandatory, the comprehensive insurance policy, which covers every single damage caused to you, your car, and the other party involved, is highly recommended in Dubai.

It is of paramount importance that you choose the best insurance policy for your vehicle, while keeping its value in mind. Besides material worth, there are precious lives involved. So, go ahead and exercise a safe choice with comprehensive car insurance policy.

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BFGoodrich ALL-TERRAIN T/AK02 Tyres

Tyres!,Tyres!,Tyres! That’s all we hear whenever a motorsport driver wins a race they thank the tyres.
But what do we the normal person know about tyres except that they help our Cars, Bikes, bicycles etcetera stick to the road,and Help keep us out of the proverbial ditch of death!
We know you can pay anything from peanuts to a small fortune for some good ones, so I thought I’d take a look at the New BFGoodrich All Terrarin T/AK02 which was Released in The United states last year and set to come to the Europe very soon.

Launched under the Tagline BFGOODRICH® TIRES INTRODUCES ITS TOUGHEST ALL-TERRAIN TIRE

As many of you Know BFGoodrich Created the ALL-TERRARIN tyre in 1976 and have been market leaders ever since,
but what’s so special about This new one I hear you ask?

Well for starters! The BFGoodrich® All-Terrain T/A® KO2 tire is the first consumer tire to incorporate the company’s race-proven and race-winning CoreGard™ technology that gives it unmatched toughness against sidewall splitting. Compared to the already formidable current KO tire, the new KO2 is 20 percent stronger in this critical off-road performance area

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The rugged KO2 is also durable, lasting twice as long on gravel roads and 15 percent longer on asphalt, allowing off-road enthusiasts to extend their adventures and working professionals to get more use out of the tire.

In addition, the KO2 improves its already legendary tradition of all-terrain performance with 10 percent greater traction in the mud2 and 19 percent greater traction in the snow4 compared to the previous-generation KO tire.

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The KO2 is an all-season tire that will carry the 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol, indicating that it exceeds the Rubber Manufacturer Association’s severe snow traction requirements.

Building on BFG’s long heritage as an innovative all-terrain tiremaker, the KO2 incorporates technology developed and tested through the brand’s legendary off-road motorsports teams that have earned 80 off-road wins at races in the Baja peninsula – by far the most of any other tire brand.

So it’s quite technical! -long lasting!-and very capable on any surface without having to change tyres before tackling the rough with the smooth.

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All this equates to a better product for the consumer, by providing a long lasting, durable tyre for any surface with the Benefits below.

Tougher Sidewalls The KO2 uses CoreGard technology developed in the Baja T/A KR2 for split and bruise-resistant sidewall rubber and a thicker, extended shoulder to prevent sidewall failures. Computer modeling was used to predict object paths and create a sidewall design most likely to deflect protruding objects, reducing the chances of splits and snags. The result is a tougher tire as consumers take on trails of various conditions.
Longer Treadlife: The KO2 has a new tread design and rubber formulation that helps it last twice as long on gravel and 15 percent longer on asphalt than the previous tire. The tread rubber has been optimally blended to reduce chips and tears on gravel. A new footprint shape and interlocking tread design provide more uniform wear over the long haul. Special stone ejectors push objects out of the tread to reduce drilling into the tire.
Aggressive Traction: The KO2 also has a range of tread features for better mud and snow traction. Side-Biter lugs in the sidewall improve traction in mud, snow and rocks. Raised bars in the shoulder help release compacted mud for better traction in soft soil. 3-D sipes create biting edges for better snow traction.

so if your Looking for adventure ? Come test the new BFGoodrich All Terrain T / AKO2 to the end of the world and watch the cool video at the top of the page.

Top 5 Retention Cars with Maximum ROI

Top 5 Value retention cars

The first choice of indulgence is almost always a car. Unfortunately this becomes an expensive affair. Apart from the price, automobiles usually begin to lose value the moment they are driven out of the showroom. Here is a list of the top 5 cars that retain their value for as long as over 3 years.

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1. Porsche Cayenne Diesel
One of the most successful SUVs in recent times, the Porsche Cayenne is stunning in design and build. A twin-turbo V8 accelerates the car up to 62mph in 5.7 seconds while ensuring fuel efficiency. Precision in steering, elegant exteriors and comfortable interiors make this model absolutely irresistible. A 3 year old used car for sale, of this model,would be priced in the range of GBP 40,000; thus having a retention value of 83.4%!

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2. Audi Q5
Launched in 2009, the Audi Q5 is an SUV, comfortably camouflaged to feel like a car. Its interiors have sophistication and are steeped in luxury. Well-proportioned and spacious, the car is a smaller and better version of the unnecessarily larger Audi Q7. The car rewards you with an average fuel consumption of 41.5mpg, besides retaining about 72.5% of its value after 3 years on the road. Other features include anti-theft device, electromechanical power steering and light and rain sensor. You could buy a used Audi Q5 in the range of GBP 38000.

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3.BMW X3
Although first launched in 2004, the BMW X3 found its best form in its second generation of cars. The car promised to be greener, faster and cheaper! It is a really quick SUV and the six-cylinder xDrive30d can drop the 0-62mph time by over two seconds. With a rear-drive option and extremely efficient engines, the car ensures a smooth run across varied roads and surfaces. An ideal blend of practicality, luxury and durability, the automobile retains about 70.3% after 3 years and should be in the range of GBP 28,000.

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4.Land Rover Discovery 4
A 7-seater, the Land Rover Discovery 4 has improvised interiors, enhanced technology and a distinctive look that sets it apart from all other SUVs. Comfortable for the on-road and off-road, this automobile qualifies as an all-rounder and is probably the best version from among its predecessors. An InControl option, parking sensors, climate control, Bluetooth and a well-integrated infotainment system complete the car in terms of fine interiors. A 3 year old should cost you anywhere in the range of GBP 40,000 at a retention rate of 69.2%.

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5. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
First introduced decades ago, the Mercedes Sprinter is essentially a cargo van. It is equipped with several great features such as LED daytime running lamps and a spacious cockpit and ergonomic dashboard to remove fatigue that comes after long hours of driving. The infotainment system includes a 5.8-inch touch screen, Bluetooth connectivity, SD card slot, and a telephone pad. In order to save fuel, the Sprinter is equipped with a power steering pump that only kicks in when needed. After 3 years, the Mercedes Sprinter has a retention value of nearly 50% and should cost close to GBP 20,000.
Buying a second hand car often involves detailing and assessing many factors. It is advisable to deal with a reliable and experienced dealer, such as Hertz Rent2Buy for a hassle-free experience.

World Superbikes Show 2014 Contributed Guest post from Daniel Hester

World Superbikes Show 2014

The World Superbikes Show, also called the Superbike World Championship, SBK, or WSBK, was founded in 1988 and it is one of the most hotly anticipated annual biking events. It attracts superbike manufacturers from all over the world and riders from every walk of life, who each have something in common – they love riding!

This year we have already seen races in Phillip Island, Aragon and Assen. For each location, there are SBK, SSP, STK, ST6, and EJC races. The most recent champion is Tom Sykes and the most recent manufacturer champion is Aprilia. The most successful rider of all time in the WSBK is Brit Carl Fogarty who has amassed a total of 59 race wins and four championship titles.

The show is most closely followed in Italy because of Ducati and the UK because superbike racing is the most popular form of motorcycle racing. Current SBK motorcycle manufacturers include Aprilia: RSV Mille R, RSV 4, BMW Motorrad: S1000RR, Bimota: Bimota YB4EI, Bimota SB8R, Bimota BB3, Ducati: 851, 888, 916, 996, 998, 999, 1098, 1198, 1199 Panigale, EBR: EBR 1190RX, Honda: RC30, RC45, RC51, CBR1000RR. Kawasaki: GPX750R, ZXR750, ZX-7RR, ZX-10R, MV Agusta: MV Agusta F4, and Suzuki: GSX-R750, GSX-R1000.

There are 28 riders in the SBK including 7 Brits.

The first stop for the Grantham Honda Bikes Team will be at the World Superbikes Championship at Donington Park, where a full exhibition unit with roof terrace will be available. You will be able to see the latest Honda bike range and get information on upcoming releases.

Here is a rundown of the 2014 Calendar (remaining races):

Round-4: 11th May at Imola

Round-5: 25th May at Donington

Round-6: 8th June at Sepang

Round-7: 22nd June at Misano

Round-8: 6th July at Portimao

Round-9: 13th July at Laguna Seca

Round-10: 7th September at Jerez

Round-11: 5th October at Magny Cours

Round-12: 19th October at Phakisa Freeway

Round-13: 2nd November at TBC

Tickets

Ticket bookings are now open for Imola, Misano, Laguna Seca, Sepang, and Portimao. Pricing differs per location, with 3 day passes and 2 day passes available for most events. There are one day passes available for all events.

If you wish to go to Donington, Jerez, Magny Cours, or Phakisa Freeway, you should ask for information from the official SPK website. Ticket prices have not yet been finalised for these locations but there’s a good chance you can get a rough price by contacting them.

We’ll see you there!

We will be at Donington Park from May 23rd – May 25th. You are welcome to come see our stand and we invite you to check out our latest range of stunning Honda motorcycles.

To get you in the mood for the SBK, be sure to check out the latest news on the show and all of the excellent videos of full session races and expert commentary. You might also like to subscribe to SBK Live and OnDemand on the television if you can’t make it to any of the events.

Top 5 Tips for Getting that Showroom Shine from BullsEye Car Parts

Top 5 Tips for Getting that Showroom Shine

Ever wondered how the professionals do it? We tell you how it IS possible to achieve the same results yourself…

 

 

 

We’ve all driven by a car showroom and longingly remembered when our car was brand new, so we’ve put together 5 tips from the professionals to achieve that showroom shine again:

1. Wash the car first

This may sound silly, but washing the car with a good quality wash without wax will give you a clean surface to start on. Using a wash and wax combined, this can trap dirt in the layer of wax.

2. Rinse with clean water

Never rinse your car with the same water you washed it with. All the dirt you’ve lifted off the vehicle will be re-introduced to the paint surface.

3. Dry the vehicle properly

Did you know that leaving water drops to dry can mark your paint surface? The best drying method is with a microfiber towel, or a damp chamois leather.

4. Waxing

This adds the shine to your paintwork, it is not a cleaner and will seal in any contaminants left on the paintwork. Preparation is key to showroom shine!  Remember to use wax sparingly and to buff up using a clean soft cloth.

5. Glass and Wheels

People often neglect windows and wheels when cleaning their car. Nice clean wheels with a tyre dressing and smear-free windows will finish the job off a treat and make your car stand out.

 

Summary

It is important, that you choose your supplier wisely as poor quality products will affect the end result and could even potentially damage paintwork (which is NOT the desired effect!).

 

You can buy all the kit you need from reputable national retailers, or online from trusted suppliers like www.bullseyecarparts.co.uk, who are experts in this field and are on-hand to advise you on any of your car-shine related queries over the telephone.

 

Top 3 Honda’s to consider from Daniel Hester

Top 3 Honda cars to consider in 2014

Looking to buy a new car this year? Consider these 3 Honda cars.

3. Honda Jazz 1.3 IMA Hybrid HE-T

If you are in the market for a hybrid car you should definitely consider the Honda Jazz 1.3 IMA Hybrid, a city car that’s ideal for all types of driving. It costs £18,145 on-the-road, which is a lot of money for a little Jazz, but this car is in high demand and commands solid residuals.

The car is powered by a 1.3-litre petrol engine and an electric motor. The result of this is a Jazz that’ll return 62.8 miles per gallon on a combined cycle with a CO2 rating of 104 g/km. This is also one of the most practical cars in its class, with tens of cubby holes and cup holders, and a 300-litre boot that can be extended to 883-litres by folding the rear seats.

HE-T trim gets you lots of standard equipment including climate control, cruise control, satellite navigation, Bluetooth, and lots of media and entertainment equipment.  You can get a Vertu Honda Jazz (click here) for a great price used.

2. Honda CR-V 2.2 i-DTEC Black Edition

Honda might not be the first car manufacturer that springs to mind when you think of a 4×4, and at £30,505, the Honda CR-V Black Edition 4×4 isn’t exactly cheap. But, there is no other 4×4 on the market that can match the CR-V’s equipment levels for the price nor its reliability.

Black Edition is the second to top trim level. Standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control, cruise control, heated electric mirrors, automatic headlights and wipers, heated front seats, power folding mirrors, CD player, Bluetooth, MP3 / iPod connectivity, AUX-in, alloy wheels, fog lights, rear and front parking sensors, a reversing camera, plus much more.

The 2.2-litre diesel engine in the CR-V is much better suited to the character of the car than the 2.0-litre i-VTEC. This engine will return 48.7 miles per gallon on a combined cycle with a CO2 rating of 154 g /km.

1. Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC SE Plus

First place on our list is the refined, well equipped and economical Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC SE Plus. This car has an on-the-road price of £21,960 but used versions are available for less from Vertu Honda. The Civic in all trim levels and specifications offers a comfortable and refined driving experience. In SE Plus trim, standard equipment includes climate control, cruise control, heated electric mirrors, MP3 / iPod connectivity, AUX-in, alloy wheels, LED running lights, and split/fold seats.

The 1.6-litre diesel engine will return 78.5 miles per gallon on a combined cycle with a CO2 rating of 94 g /km, which means free annual road tax. The engine is quiet and surprisingly powerful, with 221 lb /ft of torque available from 1,500 rpm. This gifts the Civic with excellent in-gear response and considerable urge on the motorway.

In terms of practicality, the Civic has an excellent boot. The standard capacity is 467-litres but this can be extended to a whopping 1,210-litre by folding the rear seats flat.

 

Renault Twingo At Geneva Motor Show Contributed post

New Renault Twingo at the Geneva Motor Show

The all-new Renault Twingo will have a rear-mounted engine and rear-wheel drive – a first for the Twingo franchise.

UK motorists have had a number of great city cars to choose from over the last five years, and the Renault Twingo has been one of the best. The Twingo MK2 enjoyed good sales since it was launched in 2007, with a strong range of engines, which included the economical and environmentally-friendly 1.5-litre dCi and the perky 1.2-litre petrol.

Thanks to the model strength, Renault is going to introduce a new Twingo in 2014, and they’ve been showing it off at the Geneva Motor Show. The all-new Twingo will be available in three or five door guise.

Unlike the current Twingo on-sale, which is a facelift MK2, the all-new Twingo is based on a new platform that’s the same as the new Smart cars. According to Renault, this helps the Twingo save weight and offer a more subtle ride alongside better handling.

Developed alongside the all-new Mercedes-built Smart ForFour, the new Twingo shares many of the same retro design cues as the cute little Twin’Run concept. That means it has the same flat face, wide rear arches for a sporty look, and little overhangs to give the new Twingo real street appeal.

Engine wise, Renault is keeping things a secret. It is likely that the range will still include petrol and diesel, with a new, more economical 1.5 dCi on the cards – this engine is be expected to dip well below the 100 g/km mark. It is also possible that the new Twingo will be available with the excellent 0.9-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which should also allow the Twingo to dip under 100 g/km.

As far as a RenaultSport Twingo goes, there is no rumour as of yet. However, it is possible that Renault may introduce a new TCE engine to replace the rev-happy but thirsty 1.6-litre naturally aspirated engine currently found in the Twingo RS.

Interestingly, the new Twingo will have the engine rear-mounted under the boot, like a Porsche 911, and it’ll be rear wheel drive. According to Renault, this has allowed engineers to free up cabin space and boost the Twingo’s agility considerably. With regard to interior space, 80% of the cabin will be available to passengers, yet the boot floor will be able to carry loads up to 2.2 metres.

Renault is also said to have worked hard on refinement, although the biggest problem with the last car was with five-speed gearbox, which wasn’t really built for the motorway. If Renault can stick a six-speed in the new Twingo, this could be one cracking little car.

Bristol Street Motors is extremely excited about the new Twingo. The new Twingo looks exciting and more than ready to take on the competition.

Pricing, specifications, and availability have yet to be confirmed by Renault.

 

The Farnell Land Rover guide to off road driving Contributed Guest post

The Farnell Land Rover guide to off road driving

All-terrain vehicles are built to be used off-road. In any desert, snow storm or rainforest around the world right now, there will be an all-terrain vehicle making progress. Whilst your adventures might not be as cool as those, it’s important to understand your car, its limits, and your own experience before tackling a muddy trail.

What you will need for general off roading:

  • A four-wheel-drive vehicle, preferably with a long wheel base and clearance
  • Off-road tyres
  • A winch.

Different types of off-roading require different kit. On snow, you will need snow chains, even with snow tyres and four-wheel-drive.

Vehicle checks to do before off-roading:

  • Ensure your tyre pressures are correct
  • Make a mental note of fragile underside parts, such as where the fuel tank is and engine sump
  • If you have a roof rack, get to know its height.

Expert tips

Off road driving is not as simple as most people think, and contrary to belief, it is possible to get a Land Rover stuck. To prevent this, here’s some expert tips:

Drive slowly, but as fast as necessary

All-terrain vehicles are designed to take abuse, but not at speed. Just as you would go over a speed bump slowly in a hatchback, tackle off-road terrain as slowly as possible. Make sure you balance this right, though, because not enough power at the wheels means you’ll not make it up an incline.

Know your vehicle

If you plan to make the most of your off-road adventures, get to know your vehicle inside and out. Get a mental image of your undercarriage and learn your cars height, width, and length.

Avoid unnecessary gear changes

Changing gear cuts power and drive to the wheels. Whilst negotiating rough and slippery terrain, this is the last thing you want. Avoid unnecessary gear changes to keep your four-wheel-drive functioning. At Farnell Land Rover Leeds, we recommend letting the car do its thing. If you are in the wrong gear, change as quickly as possible.

Here is a basic guide for selecting the best gear:

  • Rocky ground – low range, 1st gear
  • Soft ground – low range, 2nd or 3rd gear
  • Ice and snow – the highest gear possible
  • Climbing – the highest gear possible
  • Descending – low range, 1st gear
  • Wading – low range 2nd gear
  • Sandy tracks – low range, 3rd or 4th gear.

Avoid the throttle

All-terrain vehicles have lots of torque, which will pull the car without you even touching the throttle. You need to avoid the throttle on wet and slippery surfaces, or else you will wheel spin and lose grip – this will cause environmental damage and could even bog you down.

Plan ahead

At Farnell Land Rover , we believe that a lot of successful off-road driving is about planning ahead. Try to plan your drive over 15 metres ahead of you, depending on visibility. Avoid hugely uneven surfaces and even with rugged off-road tyres, don’t purposefully drive over jagged rocks.

 

A great year for Ford Contributed Guest post from Daniel Hester

A great year for Ford in the bestselling cars of 2013

This is Money recently unveiled their list of the twenty top selling cars of 2013, and it’s good news for Ford – two of the top three cars were theirs, with the Ford Fiesta taking top spot and the Ford Focus taking second. The third bestselling car of 2013 was the Vauxhall Corsa, with Vauxhall also claiming fourth place with the Astra and eighteenth with the Zafira.

Let’s take a look at the two best selling cars of 2013, to see just why they sold so well.

Ford Fiesta


Number sold: 72,129

With over 70,000 units sold, the Ford Fiesta didn’t just claim top spot in the bestselling cars of 2013, it obliterated all of the competition.

Prices for the Ford Fiesta start from £9,995 and go up to £17,995. Key to this cars success was its range of incredible engines. These include the economical and punchy 1.0 T EcoBoost, flexible and road tax smashing 1.5 TDCi, and the stunning 1.6 T EcoBoost found in the Fiesta ST.

The driving experience the Fiesta offers is what has made it sell so well. No matter what engine you choose, the handling is sharp, the ride is exceptionally comfortable, and even at speed the little Fiesta is extremely refined. Each trim level is also well equipped, with the Titanium models benefiting from cruise control, stylish design hues, and lots of resale potential.

Used cars Glasgow available from Macklin Motors include the Fiesta. I recommend the 1.0 T EcoBoost 100 engine in Titanium trim – this has lots of equipment and rolls in at just £15,545 brand new. Great deals can also be had used on this desirable model.

Ford Focus


Number sold: 54,904

With over 50,000 units sold, the Ford Focus is the most popular family hatchback in the UK, smashing the likes of the Volkswagen Golf and even the desirable Astra.

Prices for the Ford Focus start from £13,995 and go up to £25,495. Like the Fiesta, the Focus has some incredible engines in its line-up, including the 1.0 T EcoBoost, economical 1.6 TDCi, the 1.6 T as found in the Fiesta ST, and the extremely powerful 2.0 T EcoBoost that can be found in the Focus ST.

Macklin Motors Ford Focus Glasgow include all of these engines.

The Ford Focus beat out family hatch competitors with its reasonable pricing, strong equipment levels no matter the trim, and a desirable image. My pick of the Focus range is the excellent 1.6 T 180 EcoBoost Zetec S which rolls in at £20,305. This has the same flexible, refined and punchy engine as the Fiesta ST, offering brisk acceleration and excellent fuel economy.

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Maintain your Car online with Dipstix (Sponsored post)

Maintain your Car Online with www.Dipstix.co.uk

Online Car Maintenance Service

Welcome to the new and easy way to maintain your car!

 

 

 

 

www.Dipstix.co.uk is a new and unique online service that brings you:

  • Local garages
  • Instant quotes
  • Online booking
  • Free Reminders and automated quotations

Over the last 10 years it’s become the norm to search for your new car online, whether that’s the initial scouting stage or further down the line when completing the buying process. Buyers can even sell your car to online companies at the drop of a hat – you put your car details on, they give you a quote, you agree it and they come and collect it.

But what happens when you’ve bought a car? You can insure it online – usually making use of the numerous comparison sites that are freely available – and even tax it online, but can you manage the maintenance online?

Manage your Car Maintenance Online

www.Dipstix.co.uk is a new portal featuring garages that are local to you; you can get an instant online quote and book online.

Not everyone is a car maintenance expert; this is where www.Dipstix.co.uk comes in. Online services include

  • Online MOT Reminder Service
  • Automated, tailor-made quotes from local service centres for work that is required
  • Online booking facility – for a date to suit you – which will make life even easier!

All that is needed is your cars’ registration number and postcode; quotes are always based on the time and distance; they are also in line with government MOT regulations.

If you’re not sure which service centre is right for you, you can see ratings and reviews from other customers and a profile telling you about the service centre’s experience and expertise.

Sign up Today!

At present we’re only live in Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Leeds, but we’re constantly growing our network of service centres across the UK.

Sign up now at www.dipstix.co.uk for your free MOT reminder; hopefully, your car maintenance headaches will become a thing of the past as a result!

When you register with www.dipstix.co.uk you’ll also receive a voucher for a Free Winter Car Check at one of our registered service centres

Thanks for taking the time to read about us. One last thing- we love feedback at Dipstix, if you have anything to tell us then please drop us a line or two – info@dipstix.co.uk

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2014 Land Rover Defender Announced, From Daniel Hester

The 2014 Land Rover Defender challenge announced

Good news, our dear off road fans! The 2014 Defender Challenge by Bowler is being officially sponsored by Land Rover this year, which has sent waves through the off road scene and is sure to get a lot of new people involved in the event.

The 2014 Defender Challenge by Bowler is widely considered to be the biggest stepping stone for drivers who want to tackle the famed Dakar Rally. The Challenge, which takes place in several locations across the UK and attracts thousands of fans, will see an all new tricked-out Land Rover Defender tackling the terrain.

This year, Land Rover’s entry will be a road legal Defender, that has been modified to make it is durable and practical as possible off road (forget luxury or refinement). The car will be powered by the road-going 2.2-litre diesel engine, but the ECU has been altered so that it produced a rather tasty 170 bhp and 330 lb /ft of torque, which is enough for the car to accelerate from 0 – 62 mph in under 8 seconds.

It is even fitted with the Defenders standard 6-speed manual gearbox.

Inside, things are a little different – the seats have been completely stripped and in their place are two light-weight racing seats complete with harnesses for safety. Also, a performance roll cage has been installed, to give drivers confidence. Farnell Land Rover Guiseley thinks that this year’s entrant is the best yet, costing only £50,000 + VAT, which is a small price to pay for the ability on offer.

All cars that compete in the Defender Challenge by Bowler are road-legal hardtops. The beauty of the event is that teams can drive the car back to whatever hotel they’re staying at, although, most teams garage the car up and take a minibus back to wherever they’re staying.

This latest news surrounding the Defender Challenge by Bowler is fantastic news for Jaguar Land Rover, who formed a strategic partnership with Bowler in 2012. The partnership involves collaboration in off road events to boost the appeal of them and get more younger drivers involved.

Mark Cameron, Land Rover Global Brand Experience Director said: “The Defender Challenge by Bowler rally series will push the Defender’s breadth of capability beyond established boundaries – it is the ideal accessible platform to provide customers with an entry-level rally series and for those who are considering entering world-stage rally-raids such as the Dakar.”

Entry into the Defender Challenge costs £10,000 to £14,000. The preliminary rounds will kick off on March 2nd in mid-Wales, and will continue every month except September up to November. The full itinerary will be decided in the early months of 2014.

 

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Top 3 Fords to Consider from Daniel Hester

Top 3 Ford cars to consider

1. Ford Focus ST

Who is it for? Speed demons, those seeking an involving drive.

The Ford Focus ST is an incredible hot family hatchback – it has all of the practicality of a regular Focus, but benefits from drop dead gorgeous looks, a unique interior complete with stunning seats, and an incredibly potent 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. With 250 bhp and 270 lb /ft of torque, this is faster in-gear than a Golf GTI, and it’ll happily mix it with a Vauxhall VXR but with more laid back, family friendly looks.

Macklin Motors Ford Focus is available in the ST configuration, and there are plenty of other Ford’s to browse through there too. The ST takes advantage of the regular Focus by offering up 316-litres of boot space extendable to 1,101-litres with the rear seats folded flat. In every single way, this is the ultimate hot family hatchback. The question is, are you cool enough, Dad?

2. Ford Fiesta ST

Who is it for? Hot hatch lovers, those seeking an involving drive.

The Ford Fiesta ST is the best hot hatch money can buy right now – it has replaced the RenaultSport Clio as the drivers car to have. Why? Well, the 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine offers blistering straight line pace and the fantastic chassis coupled with the manual 6-speed gearbox makes for an involving drive. With 180 bhp and 177 lb /ft of torque, this Fiesta absolutely flies.

Despite the sporty credentials, the ST is as practical as any other Fiesta, which means a generous 290-litre boot capacity and exceptional comfort whilst cruising. Glasgow’s Macklin Motors used cars include the Ford Fiesta. You can test drive and buy all Fiesta specifications from there.

3. Ford S-Max

Who is it for? Families who want to travel in style.

The Ford S-Max is ideal for larger families who want to travel in style – the S-Max is the more premium, grown up version of the C-Max, and it is available with a wide range of excellent engines with prices starting from £23,105.

The entry level model is the one we recommend – it has the same engines as the Fiesta ST, albeit with a different ECU program, and it outputs 160 hp and 177 lb /ft of torque, which is more than enough to bring the S-Max to life and turn it into an exciting car. On long journeys, the S-Max is unrivalled in Ford’s range for comfort, and with over 1,000mm of rear legroom, it’s sure to keep your children happy too.

Even more impressive is the maximum 2,000-litre boot space with the rear seats folded flat – you’ll never have to get IKEA to home deliver your furniture again!

 

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Why Electric Cars Haven’t Really Taken Off by Matt Carrington

It seemed like such a great idea at first, writes Matt Carrington: cars that run on electricity instead of petrol. This sounds like an environmentalist’s dream, not to mention what it means to those of us tired of paying high petrol prices.

However, despite large government incentives (which are now being phased out), the sale of electric cars has just not taken off. The goal was to have 1.7 million electric cars on the UK roadways by 2020. The reality is that in the past two years only about 3,600 vehicles have been sold. Even though the government offered a £5,000 subsidy to electric car buyers, sales have been sluggish. So exactly why hasn’t the electric car movement gained much traction here in the UK?

Electric Cars are Expensive to Produce

Pound for pound, electric cars cost about twice as much to manufacture as their petrol powered counterparts. Unfortunately, a person’s wallet often speaks louder than their desire to reduce carbon emissions. Electricity might be cheaper than gas, but electric power is not free. In order to make up the difference in cost you would have to drive close to 200,000 miles. This would take the average driver over 24 years to accomplish (based on figures in this 2012 report).

Combine this with the higher cost of insuring electric cars and it’s a lot to put consumers off. Sure, it’s possible to look around on a comparison site to find a better policy and it’s possible that electric car production cost will go down, but for now price is a clear obstacle.

Slow Re-Charge Time

The fastest charging time possible for an electric car is about four hours. Now you can plug it in overnight, but sometimes you just don’t have the time or an outlet. How long does it take to fill up a fuel tank? The UK government and the EU are investing big money to add charging stations throughout Europe, but this does not eliminate the time factor.

Some electric cars claim to have a range of 100 miles. However, real life road tests show numbers more in the range of 30-55 miles per charge depending on temperature and average speed. So what do electric car drivers do to save charge? They turn off the radio, the AC or the heat. Also they obsess over trip routes, charging times and charging locations.

BBC reporter Brian Milligan wrote in his online electric car testing diary, “Including the time spent both charging and driving, I managed an average speed between London and Edinburgh of just 6mph. Not exactly impressive or very practical…”.

They Aren’t Completely Green

Electric car advocates often point to the low emissions produced by electric engines (about half that of petrol or diesel engines). This is only half of the story though. The fact is that the manufacturing process of an electric car produces twice as much CO2 emissions as does the manufacturing of a petrol powered car. Also, the energy used to produce the electric charge is mostly from fossil fuels. Like the cost comparison, you end up having to drive the electric car huge distances for a long time in order to make a real difference in emissions.

Conclusion

Even though electric cars are a great idea, prohibitive factors like cost and convenience must be resolved. The real issue, however, is that the whole environmental benefit is questionable. Given these obstacles electric cars have a long way to go before they make a real difference in the automotive market.

© Author Matt Carrington

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