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22 May 2023 14:49:04

New research has shown the most common causes for MOT failures in the UK, with some unexpected features making the top ten. Insurance broker One Sure Insurance analysed the DVLA's MOT database to find the most common causes of MOT failure among Class 4 vehicles (cars, vans, motorhomes, and other smaller commercial vehicles). Taking first place as the most common reason for a car to fail its MOT are worn or damaged tyres. Across all four tyres, poor condition, or not meeting the legal requirement of at least 1.6mm of tread depth contributed to 1,101,839 MOT failures across the UK in a single year. The driver-side front tyre tread depth accounted for more than a quarter of these, the equivalent of 368,853 MOT failures. In second place, the cause of 1,069,069 MOT failures are damaged coil springs located in your car's suspension. It's no secret that Britain's roads aren't the smoothest, and the car's suspension tends to take the brunt of any potholes and speedbumps that road users might encounter on their travels. Fractured or broken front passenger side coil springs accounted for 346,383 of MOT failures in this category. Headlamp aim takes third place, as the cause of 806,993 MOT failures. Headlamp aim being incorrect, too high or too low, can impact visibility not just for the driver but other users on the road. Headlights can become mis-aligned for several reasons, including damage to the fittings or headlight bulbs simply expanding with age on older cars. The projected beam being incorrect is the leading cause of failure in this category, accounting for 433,681 MOT failures. Windscreen wipers take fourth place, having caused 778,244 MOT failures, with almost every case of failure being down to the wipers not clearing the windscreen effectively. Wipers not cleaning the windscreen effectively accounts for 751,881 MOT failures within this category. Position lamps take the fifth spot. Known more commonly as sidelights, non-road safe position lamps have caused 759,032 MOT failures. Used to indicate the size and the position of a car, non-working position lamps make up the bulk of the failures within this category, having caused 710,180 MOT failures. Brake pads take sixth place, being the cause of 674,986 MOT failures. The leading cause of failure within this category is almost entirely brake pads being less than 1.5mm thick, resulting in 615,077 of these MOT failures. Seventh place goes to pins and bushes, which caused 632,061 MOT failures. Most failures in this category were due to pins or bushes being excessively worn at the front of the vehicle, resulting in 467,118 of these MOT failures. Bushes act as small protective pads fitted to various parts of the suspension system, and pins - sometimes known as swivel pins, or kingpins - are the main pivot in the steering mechanism of a car or other vehicle. Ball joints allow suspension movement which maximizes the tyre's contact with the road providing optimum vehicle control and tire wear. They also take the eighth spot on the list, having caused 620,900 MOT failures. Many original equipment ball joints are designed as sealed units. If the protective boot fails, water and road debris will quickly cause wear and ball joint failure. Ninth place on the list goes to service brake performance. Otherwise known as the braking system in a vehicle, inadequate service brake performance has resulted in 615,329 MOT failures. Taking the final spot on the list, in tenth place, are issues with the rigid brake pipes which caused 522,429 MOT failures. These pipes are used to transfer pressurised brake fluid from the master cylinder to the brake hoses and are especially susceptible to corrosion. 143,600 MOT failures were found to be due to the vehicle's rigid brake pipes being excessively corroded. Interestingly, the driver's side tyre depth being below 1.6mm is the single most significant cause for failure of an MOT, with 368,853 MOT failures. According to a YouGov poll, Britons are most likely to change their tyres only when it is absolutely necessary. Three in five car owners (60%) switch them out only when carrying on using them becomes untenable, which helps explain why they are the biggest cause of an MOT failure. The study also found that of the 38,155,866 MOT tests carried out on all classes of vehicles in 2021, almost one in five resulted in failure.


22 May 2023 14:47:58

ROAD SAFETY and breakdown recovery provider GEM Motoring Assist is warning drivers who take hay fever remedies to be aware of the possible drowsy side effects some remedies can produce. Experts warn that a heavier-than-usual pollen allergy season is expected this year, due to recent heavy rainfall which has caused a surge in grass growth across many parts of the country. When grasses flower they release clouds of pollen, spelling misery for hay fever sufferers. The peak grass pollen period is usually the first two weeks of June, with a second peak in early July. As well as warning drivers about the medicines they may choose, GEM is also advising drivers against getting behind the wheel while experiencing symptoms of hay fever. Sneezing, a runny nose, streaming eyes and coughing all bring the risk of impairment and distraction, and increasing the risk of a collision. GEM chief executive Neil Worth said: “The symptoms of hay fever can be very uncomfortable, with a risk that they will impair your ability to drive safely. At the same time some medicines used to treat hay fever can make you tired or groggy, potentially compromising your ability to react to hazards while driving. “We encourage you to check with your GP or pharmacist, and to read any warnings contained on the labels of the medicines you plan to take. The same road traffic laws apply to therapeutic drugs as to illicit substances, so if your driving is impaired and you cause a collision, you risk prosecution and the loss of your licence.” Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, affects almost 10 million people in England, of all ages. That's almost one in four adults and one in 10 children. GEM's hay fever safety checklist: Ask your doctor or pharmacist if a medicine could affect your ability to drive. Be particularly careful if you are using a medicine for the first time. If you do experience potentially dangerous side effects from a medicine, don't drive. Organise a taxi or a lift from a friend if you need to travel. If you find a particular medicine is making you sleepy, consider asking if there is a non-sedating alternative available. If you decide not to use a remedy, bear in mind that the symptoms of hay fever itself can impair your ability to drive. So if pollen counts are forecast to be high, please ask someone else to drive - or use another form of transport. It's not just prescription medicines that can cause drowsiness and other potentially dangerous side-effects. So, check with your pharmacist if you plan to use an over-the-counter drug. If you're unsure about the warning given on the medicine you're using, ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any risks before you drive anywhere.


22 May 2023 14:46:43

The recent 76th Cannes Film Festival saw one particularly spectacular world premiere - but it was in the port area of the southern French town rather than on a cinema screen. This was where the BMW brand and boat maker Tyde presented 'The Icon', a new kind of flagbearer for sustainable mobility on water. 'The Icon' is the first battery-powered marine craft of its kind and brings together locally emission-free travel with a vision of luxury that embraces pleasure. At 13.15 metres in length and with a top speed of 30 knots, this is a trailblazer for a new breed of watercraft with battery-electric drive. Innovations from yacht racing enable electrification and decarbonisation on the water. 'The Icon' uses a battery-electric drive system to set new standards in its sector in various ways. Up to now, marine electric mobility has been restricted to smaller, slower craft with comparatively little range. And the segment for faster boats with longer range is dominated by models with combustion engines. 'The Icon' redefines this relationship between the dimensions, top speed and range of an electrically powered watercraft. A pair of 100 kW electric motors convert the 240 kWh of energy supplied by six batteries from the BMW i3 into an eye-catching range of more than 50 nautical miles (approx. 100 km). The craft can deliver an operating speed of 24 knots, while its maximum speed is 30 knots (55 km/h). Spurred on by its innovative drive system and foiling technology, THE ICON makes almost silent progress, without vibrations or shocks and without sending out waves.


22 May 2023 14:44:04

A survey of 2,000 motorists commissioned by CarGurus has found that less than a third of car buyers (29%) always try to negotiate when purchasing a car. The survey also found that those who had successfully negotiated a car's price managed to save, on average, £896. With combined transactions of new and used cars in the U.K. totalling over 8.5 million in 2022, Brits are collectively forgoing billions of pounds in potential savings by not negotiating. While motorists that bartered saved on average nearly £900 per purchase — equating to an average of 11% off the total asking price by those who negotiated successfully — there was disparity between age groups and locations. Buyers aged 18-24 were the most successful in knocking down the price, saving an average of £1,730. This was followed by those over 65, who secured £1,023 off the car's asking price. Drivers aged 45-54 were the least effective in their negotiations, saving £753 on average. Regionally, car buyers in the North East of England were able to save the most through their negotiating skills, saving on average £1,395. In contrast, Welsh buyers managed to get £723 off. The survey also looked at reasons why motorists weren't negotiating, and found more than half (53%) found it too uncomfortable to negotiate, 16% didn't want to offend the dealer, 15% didn't know how to, and 9% thought it was rude. Younger buyers (18-to-24-year-olds) were seemingly the most polite, with 55% not wanting to offend the dealer.


22 May 2023 14:43:05

To mark the release of the latest film in the Fast & Furious franchise, Fast X, eBay asked motorists to rank the UK's favourite car chase movies, with the original The Italian Job taking pole position. eBay also calculated how much it would cost to repair some of the damaged cars from the top three films with Parts and Accessories available on the site. The now legendary 1969 The Italian Job, starring Michael Caine and Noël Coward, features a series of pursuits and seriously damaged cars. The key chase follows the trio of 1967 Austin Mini Cooper S models packed with stolen gold speeding across Turin, passing through shopping centres, markets, a river and even the sewer system - flying down staircases and leaping through the air between rooftops. Taking the runner-up position was the original The Fast and the Furious. Released in 2001, it was the first chapter in what has become a multi-billion-pound franchise, starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. Third favourite among UK drivers is Quantum of Solace, released in 2008. Daniel Craig's second appearance as the world's most famous spy and the 22nd film in the franchise. But how much would it cost to repair some of the iconic cars featured in these movies, damaged in the line of duty? To total the costs and estimate the work required to bring them back to good health, eBay consulted expert mechanic Hannah Gordon. With all those stairs and jumps, the shopping list for the three iconic Mk1 Austin Mini Cooper S cars is pretty extensive. Hannah said: “They would all require new front and rear bumpers along with the bumper brackets. Front valances, exhausts and exhaust hangers would also be needed. That's before you even get to the suspension components, where you'd need shock absorbers, springs, arms, top mounts, tie rods, alloy wheels, wheel bearings. Add that all up across the three cars, including new radiators, too, and you're looking at approximately £3,000 for replacement parts.” In The Fast and the Furious, one of the main chase sequences begins when undercover cop Brian O'Conner (Walker) is in pursuit of two motorcyclists in a 1994 Toyota Supra Mk IV, which has been recently restored by the criminal gang. As he makes his way down the harsh hills of Los Angeles, the newly refurbed iconic Japanese sports car takes some punishment. Hannah says: “To get the car back to its modified standard with all the modified parts could cost in excess of £5,500. The front bumper and trims, suspension components, exhaust, radiator, condenser, intercooler, alloy wheels, headlights, oil sump and engine undertray would all need to be replaced. On top of that, you'd have to consider the cost of repairing its bespoke paintwork.” Quantum of Solace opens on the roads of Lake Garda, with Bond pushing his Aston Martin DBS to the limit evading two Alfa Romeo 159 3.2 V6 Ti saloons. The battered DBS, finished in 'Quantum Silver' with an Obsidian Black interior, ends the chase with a door torn away, plus multiple dents and scratches across the bodywork and more. Hannah says: “In reality this car would probably be a write-off, with the nearside door, windscreen, windows, headlights, wheels, front bumper, nearside wing and sill all badly damaged. The rear quarter panel is not replaceable because it's part of the body but it would need to be repaired, too, along with the front and rear bumpers.”


22 May 2023 14:40:38

In the 55th anniversary year of the iconic film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, two of the vehicles that starred in the film have returned to one of the filming locations as part of a commemoration service for Sally Ann Howes, who played Truly Scrumptious. On Sunday 21st May 2023, both a reconstruction Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the original 1909 Humber 8hp used in the film returned to Russell's Water in Oxfordshire, to the spot where they filmed Truly Scrumptious driving the Humber into a duck pond as she encounters members of the Potts family, Caractacus, Jeremy and Jemima. The vehicles, being provided by the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu in the New Forest, were parked near to the pond as part of a commemoration service following the death of Sally Ann Howes in December 2021. The service included guests from Russell's Water Village committee, the National Motor Museum, and Sally Ann Howes' family members, including her nephew Rupert Howes, and his daughter Ella Howes who has recorded a modern arrangement of the classic Sherman Brothers songs by composer Alfie Godfrey. A tree was also planted together with a commemorative plaque alongside the pond, which has become a pilgrimage for fans of the film from across the world. Six Chitty vehicles were built by Alan Mann for the purpose of filming, one of which, still owned by the filmmakers, Eon Productions, is proudly on display in the National Motor Museum. The 1909 Humber 8hp, driven by Truly Scrumptious, was originally purchased in 1959 by the late Edward, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu as a wedding present for his first wife, Belinda, Lady Montagu, and loaned to Eon Productions for the filming of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

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