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VW Emissions scandal – the facts and what it means.

VW, recently named the biggest auto manufacturer in the world has admitted cheating on emissions testing

emissions scandal

Included in this overview are the answers to many of your questions about the VW emissions scandal:

What are the accusations against VW?

The EPA (The Environmental Protection Agency) recently discovered that many diesel VW cars sold in America were fitted with a device which detected when an emissions test was being carried out and altered the cars perfomance levels to ensure that they passed.  The German Car Giant who’s latest huge marketing campaign in the US for diesel cars boasted ‘low emissions,  has since admitted to cheating emissions tests.

Although the emissions scandal was uncovered in the US.  VW have admitted that around 11 million cars worldwide are fitted with the device.   VW-manufactured Audi A3,  VW brands Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Passat are all implicated.

What is the device?

Accoding to the EPA, engines were fitted with computer software which put the cars in a ‘safe mode’ when it sensed that it was in a  stationary test scenario. It did this by monitoring several factors such as speed, air pressure and engine performance. This ‘safe mode’ made the engine run below normal output.  The device, once it detected the car running as normal on the road would then slip back out of its ‘cheat mode’.

What was the result of the device on emissions?

The VW engines fitted with the device  emitted nitrogen oxide pollutants up to 40 times above the US threshold.  This would explain why air pollution levels being recorded were not going down.

Which models are affected?

In the UK, the VW Group is looking to recall and repair all 1.2 million vehicles affected by its diesel emissions scandal by the end of 2016.

The first vehicles to be recalled are the EA 189 2.0-litre TDIs, ideally in early 2016, with the rest of the 60 models from the five affected brands recalled and repaired by the end of 2016.

According to VW 5 million of their cars use the  EA 189 engine,  including the Mk6 Golf, Mk7 Passat, the first generation Tiguan,  the Jetta and Beetle sold between 2008 and 2015.

Affected Audi models include the A1, A3, A4, A5, A6, TT, Q3 and Q5.

The VW Group has set up websites for their affected brands, Audi, VW, SEAT, and Skoda, for owners to see if their cars are fitted with the EA 189 engines affected by the defeat device software. Links are at the bottom of this article.

Is the emissions scandal exclusively with VW?

Other manufacturers testing results are being checked and monitored.  However there is no evidence to implicate any other car manufacturer as of yet with some denying the use of such ‘ cheat devices’ and others refusing to comment.

What has been VW’s response?

VW have launched an internal inquiry into the emissions scandal.  Almost 500,000 cars have been recalled in the US so far.

The groups chief executive at the time of the findings has left the company as a direct result after admitting liability and stating “we have broken the trust of our customers and the public”.   His replacement is Matthias Mueller, the former boss of Porsche.

Mr Mueller has said “My most urgent task is to win back trust for the Volkswagen Group – by leaving no stone unturned.”

The cost to VW

VW has set aside €6.5bn (£4.7bn) to cover costs such as Legal action from affected consumers and shareholders along side the cost of fixing all recalled cars.

In addition, the EPA may excert the power they have to fine a company up to $37,500 for each vehicle that breaches standards – a maximum fine of about $18bn.

Is the problem confined to the US?

The emissions scandal started in the US but has spread to a growing number of countries. The UK, Italy, France, South Korea, Canada and Germany, are opening investigations.

What should I do if I think that I may be affected by the emissions scandal?

If you think that your car falls into the affected bracket  and you have not received a recall, then please contact your main dealer for further advice and information.


Fronting and how to legally lower insurance premiums

One in five admit to insurance ‘fronting’

This is a guide to insurance fronting, young people’s insurance and how to avoid soaring insurance premiums and keep them down.  The guide covers the following points:

fronting

What is ‘Fronting’?

The word ‘Fronting’ is used to describe when an older, more experienced driver insures a vehicle in their name  when the actual main driver and/or owner is a younger less experienced and higher risk driver.  It is often used by well-meaning parents trying to save their children  money because of the rocketing cost of car insurance.

This false economy is actually committing fraud and could invalidate an insurance policy.  In addition,  the driver could face prosecution for fraud, or driving without insurance if the policy is cancelled. This can lead to a criminal record, affecting their future job prospects, finance and chances of getting insurance.

Fronting – The Figures

35% of drivers justify ’fronting’ as being a loophole in the law accoring to research carried out for MIB’s Stay Insured campaign. 1 in 10 believe it to be a legitimate and lawful way of getting a better deal on their insurance.

Research from The Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) and Aviva reveals that 70% of UK drivers do not understand what ‘fronting’ means, but that one in five of those that do understand the term admit to it.

The Financial Ombudsman Service claims it currently handles between 100 and 200 fronting disputes each year.

Fronting usually occurs because of the high cost of insurance premiums for young drivers.  The average cost for comprehensive cover rose by 40% in the 12 months to March, according to the AA.

What defines a person as the ‘main driver’?

If you regularly use the car, on a daily basis to drive to or from work or a place of education and/or the vehicle is maintained by you, then you should be the registered main driver.

Key points on fronting

Fronting is illegal

Fronting could invalidate your insurance and lead to prosecution and a criminal record.

When it’s ok to be covered by your parents’ insurance

It is ok to be added to your parents or an older more experienced drivers policy if you are only an occasional driver (i.e. your parents are the main drivers, but you have their permission to drive the car sometimes) and/or the main policy holder is the registered keeper and owner of the vehicle and responsible for its upkeep.  This is called ‘piggy backing’.

Disadvantages of piggy-backing

You do not build up no claims bonus discounts while you’re just a named driver on someone else’s policy and you can only be an occasional driver.  If you drive the car more than occasionally then this would be ‘fronting’.

Provisional Drivers

Insurance for provisional drivers works in exactly the same way to any other motoring policy.  The cost of insurance for a young driver on a provisional license can be very high but is often parallel to a younger inexperieced driver having just passed their driving test.

Provisional drivers are often put on a parents or more experienced driver’s policy while they are learning to drive, however in the long run, it could be more cost effective to start with a policy of their own so that no claims bonus can start to accumilate.

Alternative ways of lowering premiums without fronting

fronting

Always shop around for the best deal

There are an abundance of comparison websites today specifically designed to compare quotes from different insurers.  If you are willing to look, they can often get you a much more competative deal.

Look at what you can change on your policy to save money

Increasing the voluntary excess on your policy ( the amount you would need to pay in a claim) or stripping unnecessary optional extras such as courtesy cars and breakdown insurance can lower premiums.

Some cars are cheaper to insure than others

If you are a young or inexperienced driver, it pays to consider the car you are going to insure before buying it.  Cars are divided into 50 insurance groups according to various factors including their engine size and the likely cost of repairs. The higher the insurance group, the higher the premium.  Check with an insurer first.

No -Claims Bonus

It does take time, but  for every claim free year that passes, you build up a year’s no-claims bonus which gives you a discount on your following year’s premium.  Five claim free years can be worth up to a 70% discount and no claims can be protected on a comprehensive policy once you have built them up.

Drive carefully

It may sound obvious, but making a claim or adding penalty points on your licence to your policy, will increase your premium next year.

Telematics  “black box” policies.

Telematics insurance schemes involve fitting a “black box” to a car which, using satelite technology,  records a young or inexperienced driver’s behaviour at the wheel.  It records the time of day, mileage, acceleration, braking and cornering. It can save as much as £800 a year on premiums.  The better you drive, the lower the premiums.

fronting

Black box

Adding a lower-risk driver to the policy of a high-risk driver

A younger, inexperienced driver could add a motorist from a lower-risk category to their policy,  such as a parent or an older, experienced driver.   Providing that all declarations made are accurate, this is not illegal and in some cases,  could lower the premiums.

Always make sure that the information you give your insurer is 100% accurate.  In the event of an accident or a need to claim, nobody will benefit from a policy which is invalid or inaccurate.  False information will inevitably only lead to poor or no cover, and potentially get you into trouble with the law.


Misfuelling Recovery Service – Tow Show

Auto Fuel Fix spreads the word on Misfuelling Recovery Service at  Professional Tow and Recovery Show

AFF joined loads of other recovery specialists and tow operators this September at the Telford International Centre for the Professional Tow and Recovery Show 2015.  With around 1,500 visitors making their way from all parts of the UK and beyond, the show has become a showcase for the manufacturers and suppliers of  the recovery industry and a great opportunity for them to get together.  The shows organisers increased the footfall largely from last year and everyone had a great time.Misfuelling recovery service

Both days of the show are filled with demonstrations from the Industry Display Teams. The event showcases the very latest designs in truck and equipment technology :  products like access tools, automation based products, automotive tools, vehicle finance along with other motor vehicle based products and services associated with this field.  All the major work providers present.

Misfuelling Recovery Service from AFF

The show was a perfect opportunity for Auto Fuel Fix to promote  their Misfuelling Recovery Service, spreading the word that if your vehicle is mis-fuelled there is an alternative to the expensive and time consuming process of recovery to a dealer and subsequent repair.

AFF’s Misfuelling Recovery Service operates a 24 hour service on a No Fix, No Fee basis.  They are accredited by SPA and their professional technicians are trained in all the latest diesel and petrol fuel systems and the latest fuel drain techniques.   They aim to fix most misfuelling recovery service issues on the roadside and get you to the nearest filling station as quickly and with as little inconvenience and cost to you,  regardless of make or model of car.

For more information on the Auto Fuel Fix Misfuelling Recovery Service and a more detailed breakdown of the services we provide, please click on the links above.


Damaged Repairable Cars – A Guide

Damaged Repairable Cars for sale

Accident damaged repairable cars or crashed cars for sale are the perfect opportunity to buy a car for a lot less money and providing you have the necessary mechanical skills and some free time, you can, with a little tlc, end up with the car of your dreams. Similarly, you can purchase  damaged repairable cars  which require restoration and with a little love and knowledge, restore them back to their original glory.  If you can use salvage car parts, you can save yourself even more money.

Insurance companies assess vehicles which have been stolen or sustained damage from fire, theft or an accident. Each claim is investigated and estimates are made as to the cost of repair back to its original condition. This estimate includes the cost of new parts and labour. If the damage is considered uneconomic to repair ( The car would cost more to repair than its market value) then they are considered to be insurance “write-offs”. The claim is settled with the owner and the vehicle is disposed of with a salvage company.

The insurance company then classifies them into insurance categories labelled A,B,C,D,E,F and X. These categories describe the extent of the damage to the vehicle and give a guide to how salvage companies should dispose of them . There are 4 main write off categories – these are A-D. They are often refered to as CAT. CAT A, CAT B etc….

In a nutshell, there are 4 main insurance write off categories, CAT A, CAT B, CAT C and CAT D. Insurance companies assess vehicles in a claim and put them in one of these 4 categories based on the extent of the damage that they have incurred from either an accident, fire, flood, theft or being used in a crime.

CAT A vehicles are the worst of insurance write offs. Vehicles in Cat A cannot even be used for salvage and should be crushed or sold for scrap metal.  These are never repairable cars.

Example of a CAT A damaged vehicle

Example of a CAT A damaged vehicle

Cat B Insurance write-offs can be sold for spare parts. These are not sold as whole damaged repairable cars either.

Cat C cars can be fixed at relatively low cost, by using salvage parts, non-genuine parts and local garage services, you can save £££ over the full market value of the car.

Cat D cars can be fixed and the repairs will cost less than its market value. The insurance company’s decision to not repair it is based on more than soley the cost of the repairs. These are almost always sold as damaged repairable salvage cars and with the right expertise are worth fixing up.

Insuring insurance write off damaged repairable cars

If you are worried about insuring  CAT C or CAT D repairable cars which have been written off then dont be discouraged.  These cars are not impossible to insure. Sometimes insurers won’t want to cover a ‘CAT D’ or ‘CAT C’ repaired car, you will need to check first. It could be that your insurance company will insure a previously accident damaged car but it may well mean accepting a higher premium.

damaged repairable cars

Example of CAT C damaged repairable cars

You must always ensure that your insurance company is aware of the CATC or CAT D status of your car or this could effect any pay out that you may get in the event that you need to make a claim yourself.

So long as the repairs on accident damaged cars have been carried out professionally or to a high standard there is no safety reason why the car should not be insured.

Always remember for your own safety  ……Crashed cars, CAT C and D cars should only be purchased from a professional and accountable vehicle recycling and auto salvage facility such as AFF Vehicle Services.

AFF Vehicle services has attained compliance levels required to hold both Authorised Treatment Centre and recycler of End of Life Vehicles status, recognised by the Environment Agency.

If you purchase your crashed cars for sale from a reputable and registered company, you can be sure that the necessary documentation has been obtained and that the vehicle has been categorised as C or D. You should never be sold a CAT A or CAT B vehicle as a Damaged Repairable Cars for sale

For more information:

AFF Vehicle Services

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Using Road Signs to pinpoint your location

If you have put the wrong fuel in your vehicle, helping us to pinpoint your exact location will inevitably reduce the amount of time that you are stranded and reduce the amount of damage to your vehicle.

If you have put petrol in diesel or vice versa, and not realised before leaving the fuel station, knowing the location where you have broken down  will help us to find you as quickly and safely as possible.  This will havea huge impact on the length of inconvenience and discomfort for you.  Most importantly though, once the wrong fuel has started its journey around the engine, the quicker that it is removed, the less long term damage is likely to occur to the filters and seals, saving you money.

Driver location signs, now widely used across the motorway and A-road network pinpoint exactly where you are.  They are visible from the road on the near side verge  at every 500m.   This may be reduced in some locations where obstacles might seclude them.

Most of us are aware that the M number or A number on a driver location sign indicates the type of road and route number.   Below this, there should be either an A or a B . This tells us which direction you are travelling in:

roadside location marker

M27 location sign

On the M25, ‘A’ indicates clockwise on the main carriageway and ‘B’ anticlockwise.

On other Motorways ‘A’ is generally used to indicate northbound or ‘Away’ from London and ‘B’ southbound or ‘Back’ to London.

On motorway sliproads you will see J, K, L or M depending on direction and location.

Distances are accurate to within 20 metres and are generally quoted from the beginning of the motorway. On the M25 distances are measured clockwise from the Dartford crossing.

Being able to pinpoint your precise location from these road signs will greatly increase our chances of a favourable outcome from your wrong fuel mistake.  Petrol in diesel can potentially cause extra damage if not removed quickly and effectively.

Information obtained from
For any further information or advice on putting petrol in diesel or any oter questions regarding wrong fuel errors, please see……

Biofuels – Better than Petrol or Diesel?

Biofuels are liquid transport fuels blended with petrol or diesel. They are made from plants that absorb energy from the sun and store it chemically as sugars or similar materials.

Biodiesel can be used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure form, but it is usually added to diesel. Biodiesel is produced from oils or fats using transesterification and is the most common biofuel in Europe.

biofuelAdvanced Biofuels

Advanced biofuels offer several advantages compared with conventional biofuels. They are better for the environment and could be more sustainably available, reducing the cost of production.

Advanced biofuel conversion technology means that it is now possible to use agricultural waste and fast-growing, high-yielding energy grasses instead of the conventional crops. Some of these grasses can produce in excess of 3-4 times as many gallons of ethanol per acre comared to crops like corn .

Cellulosic ethanol was one of three advanced biofuels used in an experimental trial to power part of the Olympic fleet at the London 2012 games. (http://www.bp.com)

The next generation biofuel – biobutanol, has all the benefits of ethanol, and offers additional advantages . Its more compatible with fuel supply systems, gives more miles per gallon and reduces GHG emmissions.

Regular ethanol production plants can also be converted to produce biobutanol, utilizing existing assets and enabling faster build times to achieve material production capacity.

Biobutanol has already been road tested in vehicles covering more than 1.5 million miles – a distance equivalent to 3 journeys to the Moon and back.

Biofuels production continues to grow significantly worldwide. They currently make up around 3% of trasport fuels. To be successful in this highly competitive market, plant operators must ensure their production is as efficient, safe and economical as possible. BP estimates that by 2030, use of bio fuels will increase to 7%.

Are biofuels actually worse than fossil fuels?

Some environmentalists believe that the use of bio fuels made from crops contribute more greenhouse gases than fossil fuels and cause deforestation and hunger, costing the tax payer billions. The European council however have released legislation encouraging the use of bio fuels and investing in their increase.

You can find more information here.


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