The Brilliant Volvo 480 Car

The Volvo 480 is a great car. I've never owned one but I have always had a soft spot for them. When it first came out it was such a futuristic looking car for the time but these days the 480, with it's box like shape has actually gone full circle. With anything Retro making a huge comeback in recent years the 480 is a seriously cool looking car. You don't see them around all that often anymore.

And if you do it's mostly either a 480 enthusiast or an older gentleman who has owned the from new behind the wheel. With some slight modifications Volvo 480's really do look superb with it's vintage, box-like sharp angles. Volvo 480's are now considered as a classic older car but still remain very stylish at the same time. They have a growing cult following. Just check out the Volvo 480 dashboard below. It looks awesome with the Turbo dials.

 Volvo 480 Dashboard / Cockpit. Click image to Enlarge

The choice of engines is either 1.7 or a 2.0 Petrol. A 1.7 turbo version is also available. Both engines are great and do have decent power. However, the 2.0 is the more desired engine out of the two. There are various different models of Volvo 480 but the most sought after is the Celebration model. This version has many extras fitted including the very impressive full leather interior. The Volvo 480 is one of the few cars that I think actually looks good in almost every colour it was produced in.  

 Black Volvo 480

Like most cars they do suffer from a few faults. One being the pop up front light mechanism stops functioning properly. General electrical faults and also rust are quite common problems with the Volvo 480. There are other small niggles that are exclusive traits of the Volvo 480 like leaking lights / boot that can cause the inside of the car to become wet. An Erratic idle can also be an issue.

There are other small issues and I'm sure there will be a Volvo 480 expert along shortly to this post to fill us in on all the faults that 480's suffer from. I think a lot of the small problems are just down to the cars age. Overall, the Volvo 480 are reliable little cars as far as the engine is concerned. Even if they were made by Renault. They're also fairly safe cars for their age, having side impact bars fitted when they weren't a very common addition.

 Volvo 480 ES

The Car weighs around a Ton, so Scrap value is around £120 - £160. Although scrapping a Volvo 480 is not recommended! Both the 1.7 and the 2.0L cars are in fairly high insurance groups (Group 12 - 14) so they can be quite expensive to insure for a younger driver. Classic insurance might be an option, but classic insurance is quite picky about a drivers age and annual mileage so you may have to get normal insurance instead.

If you're looking for a trouble free, great on petrol, low insurance car, then the Volvo 480 is probably not for you. But if you don't mind spending a little bit more on things like insurance and fuel to have a rare car and an enjoyable motoring experience, then the Volvo 480 is a great choice. There is nothing else like them on the road. Some people, including myself, just love these cars. And I hope one day I end up owning a nice one. Do you own a Volvo 480 and want your cars picture added to this post? Leave a comment here and I'll add it to the post.

Google Car Insurance Comparison Service

Google have now entered the car insurance market. I'm not sure how new the service is but it's new to me. Well, there not actually offering car insurance cover through themselves but they are offering a comparison service. If you go to the Google search engine and type in "Car Insurance" the first result you should see is a sponsored link by Google for there car insurance comparison service. I have not seen this advert by them before. Have I been living under a rock? Or do I just have Ad blindness.. Anyway, Google must have checked out the profits made by other other comparison websites such as and thought to themselves, We need a slice of that pie.

Google have snapped up, so they are not only doing car insurance comparisons but also offering compare Credit Cards, Saving Accounts, Mortgages and Travel Insurance. They really are trying to get a piece of this marketplace. Of course, it's the same as any other comparison website, they make money (Commission) when you sign up for one of the compared services through them. Bottom line, it's all about more profit. The profit margins must be huge for this type of business because apart from the website hosting, comparison software, and marketing / advertising budget, what else is there that Google doesn't already have in place.

A comparison website, once set up, is pretty close to being able to run on auto-pilot. And if any staff are needed I'm sure Google have that covered. They have a huge infrastructure already in place. Any which way you look at it, the cost of this service is totally dwarfed by the profit margins. If it wasn't Google wouldn't be getting into offering a comparison service for insurance.

So, is Google's car insurance comparison service any different or any better then the services already out there like Compare the market etc. Well, no it's not. It's basically a direct copy. For car insurance they currently have 127 providers who have joined there service. Google claim that almost 98% of people who use their service could save money. And that over 50% could save over £200 based on there research. However, when I went through the process of getting a "cheaper" car insurance quote I wasn't surprised to see that my results were very similar to that of The same companies that offered me insurance on were offering it to me on Google's comparison site - At the same price.

So Google say that 98% of people could save money, but then again, isn't this what all the comparison websites say? It's just a marketing tactic. They say you can save money so that you take the time to go through the process of getting a quote because they know, you stand a much better chance of signing up for car insurance through them if they can get you to complete the first step which is actually getting a comparison quote list. I bet that easily 50% of people that complete this first step of getting a quote list actually end up buying car insurance from the comparison list.

Google compare have a lot of the same company's that the rest of the comparison services use like Bell, eCar, IGO4, GoSkippy, Kwick Fit, LV, and Swinton. Surpisingly, Asda is not yet part of the list. There was however quite a few insurance companies that I have not seen before on other comparison websites like Thames City, Santander, Peoples Choice, Bullseye, and quite a few others. Perhaps this could be due to these previously unheard of insurance company's being so expensive on other comparison websites that they were too far down the list to be noticed.

If you are tired of using the same comparison websites give Google insurance a try. There are a few different insurance company's on there. A quote came back at the same price for me but it might not for you. There are so many individual factors when it comes to car insurance that the cost and quotes are different for everyone. You may be able to save some money, or maybe not. Might be worth a go. Check it out here. This service has now been discontinued.

Volvo S40 1996 - 2004 Car Scrap Value

The Volvo S40 car is built like a tank. When I had mine it felt really safe to drive. I did have an accident in my Volvo once. Someone crashed into the back of me while I was stationary, waiting to pull out from a junction. My Volvo never had any damage at all, where as the other persons car, A Ford Escort, was pretty smashed to bits at the front. That's when I knew for certain that Volvo's really are tough cars. However, you would be surprised to know that the Volvo S40 isn't actually that heavy for what it is.

Take into consideration that a tiny Ford KA weighs under a Ton and then look at the weight of the 1996 - 2004 Volvo, which is generally just over 1200 kg. For the size difference, substantial feel, and huge advantages in terms of safety features that the Volvo has there is not that much difference in weight. You would think there would be more difference. Sadly, this is not good news for Volvo S40 owners who want to scrap their car. Obviously, the price to scrap a Volvo S40 is more then scrapping a For KA but not really as much as one would expect for a much bigger car.

Volvo S40 dark blue

Ford KA crap Value is around £70 - £120. Volvo S40 1996 - 2004 Scrap Value is around £140 - £190. So not too bad I suppose. But, as I have said in another post, you can get more money for a Ford KA by selling it on eBay or Gumtree rather then taking it to a scrap yard. The same goes for the Volvo S40. Gumtree or eBay will get you more money then the scrap value. Another method for getting more money for your S40 is by breaking it down for spares. Volvo parts are expensive.

Front headlights, the VVT Pulley, other engine parts, Alloy wheels, Bonnet, and a lot of other spares are very sought after. So breaking down the car for spares could be an option if you want to get more money. Then after the car has been stripped you could still scrap the cars shell, get the scrap buyer to collect it, and make some extra money from that.

Of course, breaking a car for spares is time consuming and can be a hassle. Space is also an issue. So only do it if you have some spare time on your hands and don't mind dealing with people, or posting items off if selling your spares online. Selling the Volvo on eBay, Gumtree, or even posting it on a Volvo forum can definitely get you more money then the scrap value. My own Volvo S40 1.8 (2000) had a broken clutch slave cylinder, non working air conditioning, short MOT, and a tire that was constantly going flat. Despite all this I still got £550 for it by posting it on a Volvo forum.


I think I was lucky because after looking on Autotrader at Volvo's that were around the same age and mileage as mine (Over 100K) I was shocked to find out that you can pick up a really nice example for £600 - £800. Saying that, my Volvo did have BBS alloy wheels and a genuine Volvo engine rather then the Mitsubishi one that is riddled with problems.

Still, if I would have scrapped my Volvo the quality of the engine would have made no difference at all to the price they would offer. And the alloys wouldn't add much either. So £550 instead of the £160 I was offered in scrap value is a much better price for a broken, but still drivable Volvo then if I would had scrapped it. Just consider your options before scrapping. Most will bring you more money. Obviously if you have a totally battered S40 then maybe scrapping it is the way to go.

So why are nice used examples of the model of Volvo so cheap to buy. I think one of the reasons is the huge rise in petrol prices. Most Volvo S40's in the £600 -£800 price range are all petrol and the 1.6, 1.8, and 2.0 aren't very fuel efficient compared to a lot of other cars. Specially some of the newer cars. One of the reasons for me getting rid of my own Volvo was it's insurance group. An X reg 1.8i Volvo S40 is an insurance group 10. There are quite a few saloon / spacious cars that are in much lower insurance groups, and as a result are much cheaper to insure.

Alfa Romeo 4C Beats Nürburgring Time

Well, the Alfa Romeo 4C is now the fastest production car within it's class to do a lap at the Ring, (Nürburgring). The time of 8 minutes and 4 seconds is now the fastest time for a car producing less then 250BHP. The Alfa Romeo 4C ran the same time as the Porsche Cayman S but still beats it because the Cayman has more horse power I believe, so doesn't count in this race.Correct me if I'm wrong.

Alfa Romeo 4C Beats Nürburgring Time

I'm surprised the Alfa Romeo 4C managed to finish the lap in working order. Alfa Romeo's have a terrible track record for reliability. There are people now working towards making sure that the Alfa Romeo 4C does not stay at the top for very long. There are lots of competitors. In particular, Porsche, BMW, and Renault.

Alfa Romeo 4C Silver
Picture Credit: Wiki Commons

They have a tough road ahead. The Alfa Romeo 4C Weighs well under a Ton (895KG) thanks to the use of Carbon Fibre, and this is one of the reasons why it's so fast on the track. The Alfa Romeo 4C is a beautiful car to look at and since it's release they have been flying out of the showrooms.

Bell Car Insurance Error With Payments

Not sure how many people have been affected by this glitch but apparently there has been an error with Bells software and car insurance payments usually taken automatically via Direct Debit have not been getting taken out. So now the people affected by this problem, including me, have to pay two months in one go.

Definitely not a good thing for people who are short of cash, live paycheck to paycheck, or get paid monthly. Hopefully the problem has been sorted out and things can get back to normal. I wasn't aware of this problem until I received a letter from Bell insurance telling me about this issue. I thought my bank balance seemed a little fatter than usual.

Group 1 Insurance Cars List Used Cars

Here's a list of insurance group 1 cars that can be bought used. It's worth noting that if you perform a car insurance quote online for different insurance group 1 and insurance group 2 cars, you'll notice that in most cases there really isn't that much difference in price. There will most probably be no more then £20 - £30 difference. Got a used insurance group 1 car not on the list that you want to add. Post a comment.

Group 1 Insurance Cars List Used Cars

Skoda Fabia 1.2 Classic 5dr - 2003 and newer

Peugeot 107 1.0

Chevrolet Matiz 0.8L S

Fiat Seicento SX, Mia, S

Vauxhall Corsa 1.0L 12v

Fiat Panda 1000 CLX

Fiat Panda 1.1 Active 5dr

Volkswagen FOX 1.2

Citroen C2 1.1i

Citroen C1 1.0i

Toyota Aygo 1.0 VVT-i

Insurance Group 1 Cars Quick List

In a previous post I talked about low insurance group cars that were also very cheap to buy and maintain. One of the key aspects for the list was that they were also reliable. The cars talked about previously were older models. In this post the top 6 Insurance Group 1 cars are more newer models. If you have some money to spend or if you are someone that doesn't mind getting car finance then these newer model low insurance group cars should be right up your street.

All are insurance group one so they are as cheap to insure as your ever going to get. The second set is an extra list of cars all worth a look. Some are insurance group 1 and some are group 2. All are very cheap to insure, and a few of them cost peanuts to buy.

Insurance Group 1 Cars

Citroen C1 1.0i - Models: Cool, Vibe, Rythm and Airplay 2005 and newer

Peugeot 107 1.0 Urban

Skoda Citigo 1.0 MPI

Vauxhall Corsa 1.0i 12V  - 2006 and newer

Chevrolet Matiz 0.8L S - This little car doesn't even have a 1 litre engine.

Volkswagen FOX 1.2L - 2006 - 2012

Worth Considering

Fiat Seicento SX - Insurance Group 1

Daewoo Matiz SE 0.8L - Insurance Group 2

Fiat Cinquecento 0.9L - Insurance Group 2

Toyota IQ 1.0L - Insurance Group 2

KIA Picanto 1.0L - Insurance Group 2

Car Insurance Estimates Online

When looking for cheap car insurance Online it's important to remember that most insurance companies are giving you an estimate. This basically means that going on the information that you provided when you filled out all the questions on the quote form has determined the estimate price you have been given by each company. So you should make sure that all the information is correct.

If the information provided is not correct, or you haven't declared certain details and you accept the quote from an insurance company they can either void your insurance and hit you with charges. Or void your insurance and ask you to go elsewhere. So the insurance quote estimate you thought appeared quite reasonable is now through the roof or void because you failed to include certain details that could affect the price of your insurance. It's very important not to lie regarding car insurance because it can come back to bite you.

Where to get the cheapest car insurance estimates Online. Well, in my experience it would have to be the comparison websites. Every time I thought to myself, I'll go direct to an insurance company's website that isn't on the comparison websites and do a quote they were always extremely expensive. Much more expensive then the top 5 results on the comparison websites. You could get lucky and find a diamond amongst the rough. But most of the time they are expensive.

Compare The Market, GoCompare, and all return the same results. So it's best to just stick with the one out of the three your most comfortable using. I always stick with

One tip if you want to try and get car insurance cheaper then the estimates giving on the comparison websites is first go to and do a quote. Then take the top 3 cheapest insurance quotes and write the names of the company's down.

Example: Asda came back the cheapest so go to Google and type in Asda Car Insurance and you will see their website. Contact them and tell them you done a quote Online, they came back within the top 3 results, and would it be possible that if you go direct to them through no comparison website could they get the price down a little lower. There's no harm in asking. After all, they want your business and I'm sure you want to save some money. This has worked for quite a few people with various insurance company's.

Toyota Yaris Back Light Bulb Issues Fix

Toyota Yaris, a great car, very reliable. However, they do suffer from a few niggling problems. One being the back light bulbs. Sometimes they blow, or just stop working for no apparent reason. This is a problem I have had with my own Toyota Yaris. For some reason the back drivers side brake light would not work. First it worked when given a little knock from the outside.

But then after taking the bulb out in order to see which replacement I needed to buy, and then putting it back in until I bought a new bulb, it just wouldn't work at all. Faulty connection somewhere maybe? All the wiring seemed fine. The new bulb came, a 380W Capless. Great I thought. Fitted the new bulb, but still it was a total no go. No back brake light at all on the drivers side.

So I tried the other brand new bulb just in case one was faulty. Still no good. Surely you can't get two brand new brake bulbs that are both faulty. Well I'm sure it's possible but the odds of that have got to be pretty high. Due to the brake light not working properly before fitting any new bulbs, in my opinion it had to be the car. Here's what fixed it for me.

In the book that mechanics look at when checking what car takes what part, like what oil is used in a Yaris etc, it says that my particular model of Toyota Yaris, a 1.3 VVTi SR takes a 380W Capless brake bulb. I'd already tried those bulbs and they didn't work. So instead I bought a 580 12V 5W capless bulb and guess what. It worked straight away. Not sure why. This is just a post in case you are experiencing the same brake light problems and have tried everything else to no avail. You may want to try a 580 bulb and see if that fixes the problem. It did for me.

Petrol Cap Release On A Toyota Yaris

The Toyota Yaris is a great car. They seem to be much less tinny than a lot of the other little cars I've had over the years. They are also a bit different in other ways too. When you first buy a Toyota Yaris you might be thinking to yourself, where the hell is the petrol cap release button..I was when I first bought mine. I was also close to running out of petrol at the time.

Well, there is a little lever button that you pull up with your finger to release the fuel cap lock. It's located on the right side (UK) (Left side US) of the drivers seat, right at the bottom.


Just look down the side of the seat to the floor and you will see it. Here's a picture in case you are still baffled and having trouble finding it. Click the picture to enlarge. Not sure if this is the same location used on newer models of Toyota Yaris.

5 Of The Best Cheap Insurance Cars

With car insurance being one of the most expensive costs you incur when running a car it's important that you try and get covered for as cheap as possible. Cheap insurance cars usually all have one thing in common, a small engine. This means they are not the fastest thing on the road but in most cases they are very fuel efficient. With the way the economy is right now things are pretty unpredictable so it makes sense to have a small car that's cheap to run and cheap to insure. Obviously, the cost of a persons Insurance is not only about the car. Although a low insurance group car certainly helps. There is a long list of other factors that are taken into consideration.

Some of the most important are things like does the driver have any penalty points on their license, does the car have modifications, where's the car parked overnight, do you use the car at peak times, and the age of the driver. Of course, accidents and no claims bonuses are also top of the list. One factor that some people might not be aware is of importance is what type of job you have. Here's what the insurance industry does. Let's say that you are an office worker, and within the year office workers have been involved in a high number of accidents or claims. As a result of those statistics your insurance price would be higher if you were in the market for new car insurance because they then see office workers as a higher risk. Very unfair.

Believe it or not, if you are unemployed your car insurance will cost more. This is because they think that being unemployed means you will be driving your car more throughout the day. It's a bit sad really because if someones unemployed they usually have less money to spend on car insurance, not more.

In order of lowest Insurance group first here are 5 of the best little cars that are cheap on Insurance. The choices were also made with reliability in mind. It's no use having a car that's super cheap to insure but is always in the garage being repaired costing you a fortune. All cars mentioned here are the older models which are very cheap to buy.

5 Of The Best Cheap Insurance Cars

Vauxhall Corsa 1.0L 12v 

Very cheap to buy, good on petrol, reasonably reliable, and the cheapest you are going to find to insure being insurance group 1. The 1.2L versions are mostly insurance group 2 so still very cheap to insure.

Toyota Yaris 1.0L

Great on petrol, very reliable, and very cheap to insure being only Insurance Group 2. *Best Choice*

Seat Arosa 1.0 MPi 

Insurance group 2, great little reliable city car. Excellent on petrol returning around 50mpg. You don't see that many of these cars on the road all that often so a good choice if you want something a bit different from what everyone else is driving.

Ford KA 1.3 

Apart from the rust issues Ford KA's are great little cars. There engines are really reliable and they are pretty good in terms of petrol consumption. 1.3 Ford KA's are an insurance group 2 so cheap to insure.

Nissan Micra 1.0L 

The ugly duckling of the bunch, with close to zero street cred. But make no mistake about it, Nissan Micra's are basically bomb proof. Their reliability is only rivalled by some of the old Honda's and Toyota's. And some of the newer ones! Nissan Micra's are very cheap to buy and maintain. Also cheap to Insure at insurance group 3. Definitely a smart choice for new drivers.

Bell Car Insurance Saves The Day

Bell-Car-Insurance-Post-TalkIn a previous post I talked about getting my car insurance renewal quote, and it being more expensive than last years even though I now had another years no claims bonus. Which now takes it up to 7 years No Claims Bonus. After looking at reviews for other car insurance company's I was left horrified at what people had to say. This made me hesitant to go with a new insurance company just in case I ran into the same problems which other people had been unfortunate enough to encounter.

So I thought I'd phone the car insurance company (Bell Insurance) who I have been with for Seven years and see what they had to say about lowering the price of my insurance. This would be about the third time in seven years that I had actually needed to talk to someone about my policy. So I rang them up and straight away I had a problem, I was on hold for so long that I actually ended up putting the phone down and calling back later. The second attempt at talking to a real person also failed so I went Online to see if emailing them and asking for a callback might be more effective.

Numerous emails down the line and I was starting to get annoyed. I would receive their automated response telling me that someone will be in contact soon but no one got back to me. To cut a long story short a week went by with me receiving no reply at all despite loads of emails and phone calls. I was starting to get concerned because I only had like 5 days left to go before my cooling off period was over. I started to think, is this a tactic they use. You can't contact anyone throughout the cooling off period, so the time runs out and the policy holder is then automatically signed up for another year, and if they want to cancel their contract they are charged a fee. In my case the fee would be £50 to cancel my car insurance once the cooling off period had finished.

I ended up ringing them back again and this time I did get through, to a call centre in Canada. Bell have a call centre in Canada! The guy was really helpful when I told him I was not happy being treated like this. I mean, Ive been trying to talk to someone about my policy for over a week, and with no reply at all, it just felt like I was deliberately being ignored. So I let him know I wasn't happy. I pay them more than enough money every year and I can't even speak to someone.

The Canadian representative had a talk to his manager who said that treatment was not acceptable and told me that this time I would definitely be getting a call back. He said if I don't get a call back there will be hell to pay for the people in the UK call centre I was trying to make contact with. I got the feeling that this guy called the shots.  I think I got lucky and talked to someone high enough up the chain of command to actually get things done in a hurry. Well it worked. 

Within 10 minutes of putting the phone down I was called back by the Bell UK call centre. They were very apologetic, but to be honest I was in no mood to hear it. I went through some of the things I wasn't happy about, like being ignored for over a week etc, and then I asked about why my insurance was so high even though I now had 7 years no claims bonus that had been built up with them from the very start. He just said insurance is rising for most people.

Car Insurers Can See Your Quote History

But then I went on to tell him about some quotes I had done, which came back really cheap, and I'm thinking of leaving if they (Bell) can't knock some money off the renewal price. Somehow, the representative actually had access to my quotes at his computer and he said yes, I can see you have gotten back some seriously low quotes and because you have been with us for such a long time, I can give you a discount on your renewal price. He said, I can give you a discount of £100.

I didn't really say much when he said that because the quotes were considerably lower even with £100 off. He then continued, telling me he would go and speak to his manager about getting some more money knocked off because of how long I have been a customer and with all the inconvenience I had gone through trying to talk to someone. He came back from speaking to his manager and said, we can give you another £30 off. So they were offering a total £130 discount.

Even though £130 off my current car insurance renewal price wasn't cheaper than the quotes I had got back, I still thought to myself that's a great discount. Because in all honesty I didn't want to change insurers anyway. After reading through the horror story's (reviews) from customers who were with the insurance companies I was thinking about joining just to save some money, I would rather stay with Bell. It may have been hard to contact Bell but in the end they showed that loyalty does still count for something at least and I saved £130. So I guess it's always worth ringing your insurers first to see if they will consider lowering the price before changing car insurers and wishing you didn't.

Car Insurance Reviews Have Me Spooked

cars-on-the-freeway-all-need-insuranceThat times come again. You know, when your insurance renewal has just come in the post and even though you now have another years no claims bonus they still have the cheek to raise your insurance premium by a few hundred quid. If this wasn't offensive enough they even add a little flyer mixed in with your quote saying "Simply do nothing" "Renewing couldn't be easier". Yeah OK, I'll do nothing, let the cooling off period run out, and let you rob me for another year. So off I went in search of a cheaper renewal price. Every quote I completed where I went direct to the insurance company's website like Direct Line, Aviva, and Churchill they all came back with prices that were so high it made me laugh. I thought these companies said if you go direct to them you can save money!

So the only place left was the comparison websites. I generally use if I want to check new insurance quotes but this time I thought I'd try the other two comparison websites, Compare the market and Go Compare. Sadly, all three comparison websites return the exact same results..All after one thing and one thing only, the commission for making a sale in the form of you signing up for insurance through them. So after seeing that they just use the same results I stuck with Confused.

Some of the quotes that came back for me seemed a little too good to be true. ASDA came back as the cheapest for every quote. And I was very close to changing my insurance over to them but my instincts told me to do a little research first. But when you are desperate, and your dazzled by the cheap price, it's easy to just change insurers without checking them out first. I'm relieved that I did. I did email ASDA about my quote but have not yet received a reply (A week down the line).

If you are anything like me and you go and read the customer reviews on car insurance companies before committing to buy car insurance the chances are that you have been left as confused as me. Throughout all my research I did not come across one insurance company, offering a decent quote, that had a good rating. All of them had very bad reviews. In fact, the reviews weren't just bad they were absolutely terrible. And you guessed it, ASDA was the worst I came across.

Closely followed by Igo4, Zenith, and Swinton. Some of the reviews from customers were frightening! I won't mention specific company names but issues like, The insurance company cancelled a policy holders insurance for no reason, without informing them, and it resulted in the person being pulled over by the Police and arrested for having no insurance. Resulting in their car being seized and they are now awaiting a court appearance! This was not a one off that I read either, it was written by more than five separate reviewers.

Issues when changing insurers

Other problems that were consistent in my research were insurance companies asking for proof of drivers license and no claims bonus and then claiming they had never received the documentation, even though on many occasions the documents were sent by recorded delivery. Another problem that stuck out was insurance company's going back on their agreement after the policy holder had took the plunge and bought the premium, resulting in void insurance.

This only means one thing for the policy holder, as do most of the issues talked about here - Fees - Extra Charges! Upon reading the small print of some the insurance company's it's shocking to see some of the fee's and charges they demand for little changes to a policy. Cancelling a policy for no reason seems to be another problem high on the reviewers list. This of course results in the policy holder having to pay even more charges.

Better the devil you know

One word of advice: Always read the small print of any insurance company you are thinking of joining. The quote may seem low and attractive but there is a reason why it is so low. The Terms Of Services that I read for various companies were hiding some hefty charges. So in the end your not actually getting the cheap insurance you thought you were. It's like these insurance company's just make up whatever charges they think are right. The car insurance industry as a whole needs to have tighter regulations in place. As it stands right now, car insurance is a real rip-off. And I can't help but think that the insurance industry must be laughing their socks off at just how good they have got it. They are raking in some serious money.

No wonder some company's that previously had nothing at all to do with car insurance are using their brand names as a front for real car insurance company's that want to use a highly regarded company name as a disguise. Credit where it's due, It's a great tactic. But it's very misleading. And when you find out the truth it makes the companies in question look a bit sinister.

Going on all the reviews I have read on various review websites, they are all just as bad as each other. Is it worth changing insurers and risk encountering these sorts of problems to save a few quid. It seems like more trouble than it's worth. I know my current insurers might be asking a higher premium but at least I don't get any hassle from them. I pay my money and I'm left alone. Saying that, I haven't really needed to contact my insurance company for anything, and you usually only find out how good a company is when you have a problem.

And to be honest, Bell (Part of the Admiral Group), the insurance company I have been with for 7 years, had terrible reviews also. However, I have to be honest and say that I have never really had a problem with them. Rather than risking going with another company, and encountering some of these costly problems I think it might be worth giving Bell a ring and seeing if they can sort out the price a little. Hopefully loyalty still means something in this day and age. After reading all the reviews and being scared to change insurers, I think it's better the devil you know rather than the one you don't.

Toyota Yaris VIN Number Location

If you need to find the VIN number of your Toyota Yaris (1999 - 2005) it can be slightly confusing. On some models the number can be located on the lower part of windscreen, which is visible when looking at the bottom of the windscreen from the outside of the car.

Or it can be engraved on a chunk of metal directly above the engine. This post is not about these two locations.

The third location for the VIN is on a little metal plate located under the bonnet (Hood) on the drivers side. Pictured below. This is the location I want to talk about today.

Toyota Yaris VIN Number Location
Toyota Yaris SR Year 2000 VIN Number Location

Vehicle I.D Number Is The VIN
Vehicle I.D Number Is The VIN. Not the model number. Picture Credit:

I recently bought a Toyota Yaris SR (Year 2000) that didn't come with a V5C. As you may know, in order to get a new V5C you need to fill out a slip together with a postal order for around £25 and sent it off to the DVLA. I done all that was required then waited for the V5C to arrive in my name. After a few weeks I had a letter from the DVLA telling me that they needed the VIN number and car details like make and model to process the V5C request. I thought to myself, Ive already done this.

But it wasn't until I looked at the metal plate again which holds the VIN number, along side other numbers and codes, like model number etc, that I realised I had sent them the wrong number. I sent them the model number! I thought that was the VIN number. It's an easy mistake to make, I think. Anyway, I re-sent them the correct details and am now waiting for the V5C to arrive, but have had a letter telling me it's on the way so it's all good. So the reason for this post was to show what number the VIN actually is on the plate because I suspect that anyone else who's not too clued up about VIN numbers can easily make the same mistake.

So if you need to send the DVLA your Toyota Yaris VIN number for any reason and it's located on a metal plate under the bonnet (Hood) on the drivers side this is the right number to send, The 17 digit Vehicle I.D Number as pictured above. I wished I'd have known this before I sent mine off. Luckily I still had a long amount of tax left on the vehicle so it wasn't too much of a problem.

But if you have short tax on your Yaris and you make the mistake of sending the DVLA the wrong VIN number it takes a long time for them to contact you in order for you to re-send them the right number. Something to consider if you need to tax your car in a hurry. If you have no V5C you can't tax your car.

If you can't find your VIN number at the location talked about here just look for it at the other two locations mentioned above. The lower part of windscreen, which is visible when looking at the bottom of the windscreen from the outside of the car. Or engraved on a chunk of metal directly above the engine. And just remember when checking those locations that it's the 17 digit model number, as shown on the image above above that you need to make a note of.

Ford KA Car Scrap Value 2013 More Money

Ford KA cars make great little run arounds. I used to have one myself. They are cheap to buy, cheap to run, and cheap to maintain. Great on insurance being group 2. Had mine for about a year and in that time nothing went wrong with it. When I say nothing I mean it started first time every time and I never had no trouble from the engine. These are the two most important things for me.

The car wasn't without it's little problems like needing a heater valve replacement, which I done myself, and the car had a coolant leak in the engine which meant it went through coolant a lot quicker than a KA without a leak!

Ford KA Car-1999 1.3 UK

The car also needed a fair amount of work doing for it's MOT, which was due to expire within a few weeks. Couple that with the body rust and it's safe to say that when selling this car it would be for scrap or spares or repairs only.

So the time came when I needed to get rid of the car. I wasn't going to pump a load of money into this car, it wasn't worth it. With the amount of money it would take I may as well just buy another run around. OK, so what's the scrap value of a Ford KA. From my research the price range is around £75 - £120 (2013) depending on where you go and whether you drop the car off to them or not.

If they have to come and collect the car because it's not drivable, or has no MOT etc they will give you less money going on how far they have to travel. However, there are a few places that also deal with Salvage and Recovery that will give you a bit more for your Ford KA. I was offered £135 for mine which still had short tax and MOT.

But it wasn't until I checked out some other avenues that I seen that you can get more for your Ford KA than the scrap value. First off eBay. Have you checked out eBay's auctions for Ford KA's being sold for spares or repairs..Most actually sell for a decent price. I was surprised after adding some running auctions to my eBay watch list with what they actually sold for. Regularly around £200. In most of the auctions I watched they sold for closer to £250. Obviously eBay has it's bad points.

One being the fee's to sell a car. To sell a Ford KA on eBay, spares or repairs or not, it will cost you £30. £10 to list the car and £20 if it sells. This is a bit of a rip off to be honest because you could put the car on Autotrader for 2 weeks for £10. Saying that, A car being sold as spares or repairs on eBay with a low starting price does have a better chance of selling if compared to Autotrader. One other negative aspect with eBay is time wasters, but I suppose that applies when selling a car using any method, not just eBay.

The best way to sell your Ford KA, for free, in my opinion is Gumtree. This is where I sold my Ford KA. A good thing about Gumtree is it's split into locations. Like Gumtree London. Gumtree Birmingham etc. A bit like Craigslist. This is good because you get to target potential buyers that are close by. This is where eBay can be annoying. Lets say you are in Manchester and you have put your Ford KA on eBay. The winning bidder is from Birmingham and can't get down to collect the car until the weekend. By the weekend they have changed there mind and no longer want to go though with the sale. This is a common problem when selling a car on eBay.

With Gumtree it's much better. And it's free. And it gets looked at a lot in your specific area, so you have a really good chance of selling your car locally. I sold my Ford KA on Gumtree for £230. A good result, and a lot more money in my pocket than what I would have got if I sold it for it's scrap value. It did make me think though, why would someone pay that much money for a car that needs a lot of work doing. I suspect it's someone that may need spare parts or someone who knows how to fix cars and is confident that they can get it sorted for cheap and either sell the car on or keep it to use as a run around.

BMW Snapped Timing Chain 07 - 09 Fault

Well this isn't something you expect to encounter when buying an expensive car from a top car manufacturer. Also with the affected cars being within the years 2007 - 2009 you'd expect that they would have a lot of life left in them. There has been numerous cases of the timing chain snapping and causing major engine damage. The damage is so severe when the timing chain snaps that the only fixes are either a full engine rebuild or buying a new or used engine.

You may get away with just replacing the timing chain (£500+) if the car was driving slowly, like in slow moving traffic and then pulled to the side of the road as soon as the problem arose, but in reality this is a rare occurrence. In most cases the more expensive fixes will be needed.

We are talking serious money here. Like £1000 - £7,500 depending on what model and what fix you choose to go for out of the available options. As you might have guessed people who know about this problem that own BMW's within these years are quickly putting their cars up for sale hoping to get a quick purchase from an unsuspecting buyer and just moving on to something else, most definitely not another BMW. The affected models are the 2007 - 2009 1-Series, 3-Series and 5-Series that have the N47 Engine. So be aware of this problem if your thinking of treating yourself to a nice BMW.

A Friends BMW M Coupe that was quickly traded in for an Audi A5

In some cases BMW have agreed to pay some of the money to fix a car in which the timing chain had snapped, but only if the car has full BMW service history. But don't hold your breath as each case is looked at as completely separate, and it's at BMW's discretion as to whether they contribute to repair costs or not. So if you are interested in buying a BMW with an N47 Engine and the price is too low for you to walk away from make sure it has full BMW service history at the very least.

If the worst does happen then you may get some financial assistance from BMW to fix the damage. But, is it really worth all the bother? I mean, you can buy an Audi A5, Audi A4, or Audi A3 for around the same money. Fair enough, Audi's aren't perfect but with such a costly potential repair on the mentioned models of BMW's it would be wise to steer clear for a while.

Volvo S40/V40 VVT Pulley For Sale

The Volvo S40 and V40 are great cars that are reasonably reliable and very solid. But like a lot of different makes and models of cars, some have common faults.

At some point in their life quite a few of the Volvo S40 and V40 model of cars may suffer from a failed VVT Pulley. The models most prone to this problem are Volvo S40/V40 1997 -2000 and 2000 – 2004 models. If you are planning on buying a Volvo S40/V40 made in those years check it carefully. Amongst all the regular checks that you would or should go through when buying a used car make sure to listen to the engine bay on any Volvo S40/V40 made between 1997 – 2000 and 2000 – 2004.

Volvo S40 with pulley - solenoid problem

The sound you don’t want to hear is very similar to a rattling piece of plastic, and you would be forgiven for thinking the rattle was nothing more then a bit of plastic in the engine bay if you hadn’t done your research before hand and your not aware of the VVT Pulley problems on 1997 – 2000 and 2000 – 2004 models of the Volvo S40 / V40. If you do go and view a Volvo and notice that it has the rattling noise coming from the engine bay it’s probably best to move on and find another Volvo.

There’s no shortage of good examples around. Either that or point out the fault to the seller and make sure you get a hefty discount. VVT Pulleys are for sale and can be bought for around £140 – £180 brand new. You may be able to find a used but fully working VVT Pulley on eBay that’s come from a Volvo being broken down for spares. You can find this part for sale here (UK).

Sadly, the VVT Pulley is not an easy part to replace yourself. This is because in order to correctly fit the new VVT Pulley the timing belt /cam belt has to come off. So while replacing the VVT Pulley it’s recommended that you just fit a new timing belt / cam belt at the same time. This is a fairly complicated job that requires some precision so it’s best left to a good independent garage or a Volvo specialist.

If your Volvo S40 /V40 has a strange rattling / ticking noise coming from the engine bay the chances are that you need to replace the VVT Pulley. Symptoms of a failed VVT Pulley include higher petrol consumption and a decrease in car power. Some people drive their Volvo S40/V40 with a broken VVT Pulley, and some drivers have even reported that they have been running the risk and driving their car for months with this problem in full force and the car had not broken down.

However, there are a handful of people who have had the unfortunate luck of engine failure due to a failed VVT Pulley. An engine failing because of a broken VVT pulley is rare but has happened. This happens because without the VVT Pulley in fully working order it can lead to starvation of oil to the engine. How long it takes to result in engine failure is unpredictable and seems to be different from car to car. If it's not the Pulley that's broken what else can it be? It could be the solenoid, but most of the time it is the VVT Pulley that needs replacing.

You can either run the risk and see how long you last or get it fixed as soon as possible. I suppose it depends on how much you value your car, and also how much breakdown cover you have just in case the worst happens. I had this problem with my own Volvo S40 when I first bought it. Once the car developed the dreaded VVT Pulley failure I parked the car up and left it until I had the time and spare money to get it fixed. I refused to drive the car with this problem because at the time I didn’t have any breakdown cover and I also didn’t want to cause more damage to the car by driving it with a fault that has the potential to cause engine damage.

Autotrader Scammers Emails

At the moment I have been trying to sell my car. The obvious places to list the car online to try and get a quick sale are Auto trader and eBay. Well, my experience so far has not been a good one. I have had no problems with eBay except an almost zero response..I put this down to the current climate. People don’t want a big engine car at the moment with petrol prices being at an all time high.

And then there’s Auto trader. The only people interested in my car have all been scammers. The first time I had an email from one of these people I didn’t realise it was a scammer, so I replied to his email and sent some pictures of the inside of my car..His follow up email was something along the lines of “yes car looks nice and I’ll buy it right now for the asking price”. ” Only problem is, I’m at work and really busy etc”, so can only pay by Pay Pal, so if I could send my Pay-Pal details name and phone number he’ll buy the car ASAP and send someone to pick up the car in a few days..

Amazon car

Obviously I said no because it sounded very suspicious. I asked him why can’t he just come and buy the car after work, but he avoided answering the question. I told him I will only accept cash on collection of the car because Pay Pal does not protect the seller from charge backs. He tried for a little while longer to persuade me, saying things like “I can only pay by Pay Pal online..” I just said “Look mate, You’ll have to try that scam on someone else because it won’t work on me”. I never had a reply after that.

After doing some research on this scam I quickly found out that what they want is for you to accept their offer,they then claim that they have sent you the payment and an agent will be out soon to pick up the car – BUT the agent requires the princely sum of £800 up-front which YOU need to transfer via Western Union Money Wire Transfer. Needless to say, if you fall for this scam and wire the money, you will never hear from them again. Do not fall for these low lives.

Their scams are ridiculous, but some people do fall for them so that’s the reason of this post. People need to be aware of these fraudsters. If you get a suspicious email from anyone on Auto trader ALWAYS copy and paste the email address into the Google search bar and see what you come up with. Be careful though, it’s very easy to just make a new email address, so if you don’t get any results in Google don’t just trust that and think everything’s OK, they could still be scammers, just ones that are using a new email address that no one has wrote about yet. So always be on your guard.

Here are the ones that have tried to scam me:

Feel free to post yours so that others are aware.

Mazda 323F 1994-1998 Model Cars

The Mazda 323F (1994-1998) model car was way ahead of it’s time. The car looked so much different to everything else on the road at that time. Even today, the Mazda 323 is widely admired, by owners and onlookers alike. Many people still look at the 323 with a face of pleasant confusion. It’s not the kind of car you see all that often, so when you see one, specially a well kept one, it’s a nice sight. But it’s not only the look of the Mazda 323 that owners love, it’s also how reliable this car is.

Almost every person that has owned a Mazda 323 1994-1998 model car has only good things to say about it. Many owners are gutted if they have to sell theirs, and always pine for the opportunity to own another one. Of course, there’s a bad review on every car in the world, including the Mazda 323, but we musn’t forget that any make or model car that’s not properly maintained will get problems sooner or later.

Picture Credit: Autopictu

The Mazda 323 1994-1998 is a very tough car, from the chassis to the engine, it takes abuse extremely well. I have seen Mazda 323′s that were never serviced and they just keep going and going. So if you do service the Mazda 323 and take good care of it, the 323 will reward you with many years of trouble free motoring, with the only money needing to be spent on the car being for regular wear and tear items. The Japanese reliability has really shone through in this car.

One downside to the Mazda 323 1994-1998 is parts. If you do need a part they can be pretty hard to source, also quite costly. But the good thing is, the Mazda 323 1994-1998 model are so reliable that you hardly ever need to source major parts. And if you do, it’s pretty easy to find a Mazda 323 that’s being sold as spares or repairs in the UK, so you can get your desired parts for a much lower price.

The reason why this outstanding car is being mentioned on this website is it’s price! You can pick up a Mazda 323F 1994-1998 for anything as low as £400-500! For what your getting this is more than a bargain, it’s actually daylight robbery for the seller. This price applies to all engine sizes, 1.5, 1.8, and even the 2.0L V6 ZXi.

But if you want a well maintained Mazda 323, with full service history, look to spend £800 – £1200 and you can’t go wrong. If you can get one cheaper than that, your laughing. If you want a different looking car, with not many of them on the road, and with super reliability, the Mazda 323F 1994-1998 model is the car you should be looking at. A true gem of a car to drive and own.

Blown Volvo S40/V40 Headlight Bulbs

Most models of Volvo S40 / V40 suffer from the common problem of prematurely burnt out headlight bulbs. If your Volvo is prone to this problem then headlight bulbs will burn out within around 1 year, or in many cases even sooner. Some people report buying brand new bulbs that last no longer then a few weeks.

There are many potential reasons for the blowing of bulbs but some of the most common are faulty fuses, crossed wires, auxiliary wiring harness, faulty relay, cheaper bulbs used, cracked headlamps leading to moisture seeping to the bulb, slamming of the bonnet etc. Another common culprit for premature burning out of bulbs is due to surges of voltage from the standard Volvo voltage regulation unit. This problem is not limited to just the front headlights either. Back lights are also prone to burning out way before reaching the end of their standard life span.

Blown Volvo S40/V40 Headlight Bulbs

Bulbs can be made to last longer by not running the day lamps when they are not needed. However, some Volvo’s are set to run the lights even in the daytime for safety purposes. So you might not have any choice but to leave lights running constantly whenever the car is in use. The cheapest option when the bulbs have blown is to just replace the bulbs as trying to find the reason for this fault can be a costly adventure, specially if you take your car to a Volvo garage.

Ford KA Heater Valve Fix Instructions

I have recently been searching the Internet looking for how to fix the common heater valve problem on the Ford KA. Found quite a few guides but all were just words, which is quite useless if you can't see what it is there explaining. Specially if your not too clued up with car mechanics / part names etc, like I'm not. Maybe I should invest in a Ford KA Manual.

The heater valve controls the heating system of the Ford KA. If this is broken you won't be able to get any warm air coming through from the blowers. You also wont be able to de-mist the windows front and back, not by using warm air anyway. I believe this problem can be in reverse order also. Like only hot air coming through when the cars up to temperature. I didn't check the heating when I bought this car so was quite peed off when I got home and found out I had no hot air. With winter here it's not something you want to be without. Not nice driving around having to wear a coat and hat, freezing your b*lls off.

Ford KA Heater Valve Fix
 New Ford KA Heater Control Valve

There is an easy fix. First go to eBay and buy a new Ford KA Heater Valve. It's about £10 -£12. Then go to this link (link removed - more information below) and follow the very detailed instructions (with pictures!). A big thank you to the guy "JohnKA" for taking the time to make the guide.

I fixed mine today, some of it was quite fiddly but I got there in the end. What made it hard for me was lack of tools for the job. I only had a small pair of pliers so getting those hose clips on and off was tough. Make sure you have a nice pair of mole grips like the ones "JohnKA" is using. Makes the job a lot easier.

Update: The owners of have decided to make their pages (website) unreadable to anyone who isn't a member of their site. This has made the link above unreachable. Unless you sign up to their website.

So for instructions on how to remove the heater valve check out these videos. Part 1 - Part 2. The videos are showing the heater valve on a Ford Fiesta but it also applies to the Ford KA. Everything heater valve related about the Ford Fiesta (Older models) is basically the same as a Ford KA car of the same years. The maker of those videos (TK42138) also has videos related to fitting the new Heater Valve. See one of those here.

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