If your car has developed a fault, or for consumer advice, turn to Honest John by emailing honestadvice@Finance.co.uk
My wife’s car was stolen from our drive last year. It was recovered by the police 24 hours later, no damage done and therefore no cost to the insurer. I paid the police recovery charge of £150 and was then penalised with a 45 per cent increase in my premium (although another broker managed to halve the quotation from my existing insurer). What do you think? RD
There was a no-cost claim against the policy, so penalising you for it was extremely dubious. You did the right thing by shopping around for another quote, assuming that your existing insurer clearly did not want your business if it was prepared to increase your premium by a whopping 45 per cent. Claims like this should always be disclosed, however, because they will appear on the Motor Insurance Database.
If you use the vehicleinformation.uk website to check a car’s details, you will be signed up to a monthly subscription. Why would anyone want continuous access to information that is freely available elsewhere? JD
Cloning a free site and turning it into a nice little earner has become a standard scam. The free government site giving the same information is gov.uk/get-vehicle-information-from-dvla.
Between 20 and 40mph, my Hyundai Santa Fe 2.7 4×4 emits a whining noise from the engine area. Could it be differential bearings? SB
It could be the 4WD system, especially if you have been running in 4WD on a set of tyres that is not evenly matched. Other possibilities are the turbo, alternator or the pumps for the power steering or air-conditioning.
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Don’t let the Cat in
My main car is a Jaguar XK8; I also have a 1934 Austin Ruby and a 1936 Morris 8 Tourer. There’s only space in my garage for two cars, one of which will be the open Morris. Which of the Jaguar or Austin should be garaged? TP
I would leave the Jag outside, because it’s much younger and therefore much less vulnerable to corrosion.
Round and sound
My first hybrid was a Toyota Prius and I had winter tyres that were stored from spring onwards. I now have an Auris Tourer and wonder if spending about £400 on another set is a good investment. One garage suggested I buy all-weather tyres instead. What do you think? CA
That is a very sensible solution.
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I am preparing to sell my late father’s 2016 Mercedes B180 CDI and would like advice on how to receive payment. I am wary of receiving bank notes or even a BACS transfer. Can you advise? SP
Firstly, it’s essential to read this: www.gov.uk/tell-dvla-about-bereavement/selling-the-vehicle. Afterwards, your best bet is a car-buying site such as motorwise.co.uk, webuyanycar.com or wewantanycar.com. That relieves you of the considerable expense having to transfer the car to your name, then insure, MoT and tax it before attempting to sell it privately.
Warrior and worrier
A dealer has offered me a 2005 Mazda BT2500 4×4 single cab pick-up (98,000 miles) for £1,200, which seems remarkably cheap, despite there being no warranty offered. It appears to be kosher, but should I be wary of anything? DW
I guess it has had a hard life. Have you seen it yet? You’ll make a first judgement from the state of the bodywork, the cab and the pick-up bed. Underneath, there could be damage to the 4WD system. The tyres are not cheap to replace. And the 2.5 engine is belt cam, so budget for a timing belt, tensioner, water pump and auxiliary belt replacement. Nothing is for nothing.
My 25,000-mile Skoda Yeti has been trouble-free and is coming to the end of its original manufacturer warranty. Do you recommend taking out an extension? PH
I recommend MotorEasy (because I have a direct line to the MD in case of complaints, which are few and far between). And I’ve had no complaints about WarrantyWise for years, which suggests they are also doing an excellent job.
This is your leaf
I have a 2016 VW Golf and the windscreen leaks. A national repairer says Golfs are in the top three for problems. What do you think? TJ
Are you sure it isn’t simply a matter of the vent well drains becoming blocked with leaf matter? That means there is nowhere for rainwater to go except via the pollen filter into the cabin.
I have a narrow garage and am seeking to replace my Seat Ibiza. I now want an automatic and I am considering a used Audi A1. However, I have seen one advertised as semi-automatic. I like to put the gearlever into Drive and then forget about it. What is semi-automatic? Can I find an Audi A1 that is fully automatic? RP
Almost all automatics that have a manual override are confusingly described as “semi-automatic”. The A1 has the DQ200 seven-speed DCT that changes gear by itself but has been more problematic than the average automatic. It is best not left in D when you have your foot on the brake.
I have a 2007 Audi A3 SE and intermittently the passenger door would not unlock from outside – and now it won’t unlock at all. One of the rear doors has failed similarly. Is there a way of fixing this without removing the door cards? CJ
It’s likely to be moisture getting into the locking servo. Get a can of WD40 and poke the extension nozzle between the window glass and outer seal above the locking servos, then give them a squirt. That should drive the moisture out and get them working again.
Kid’s in America
I have tried to obtain temporary car insurance cover for my daughter, who will be visiting from the USA. My age (79) prevents me adding her to my own policy. How do I insure her? SC
Try dayinsure.com or aplan.co.uk. Direct Line, LV, Quote Me Happy, Churchill, Covea and Saga might also be able to help.
I want to replace my ageing Ford Focus Mk2 with a similarly sized petrol manual. A friend recommended a Vauxhall Crossland. How do you rate this? CP
A Vauxhall Crossland X is similar to a Peugeot 2008. It’s built at Zaragoza along with the Citroën C3 Aircross and Vauxhall Corsa. If discounting means you can get a Crossland with the 1.2 Puretech engine for a lot less than a new 2008, it could make sense.
I need a larger, more comfortable car than my Fiat Qubo for the 1,000-mile trip to my holiday home in France. It must be automatic, with room for our dog. Apart from a Citroën Berlingo, what else should we consider? JE
A Berlingo 1.5 HDI 130 EAT8 or the similar Peugeot Rifter would make sense. I have covered 25,000 miles with this engine/gearbox combination and find it excellent.
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