Monthly Archives: December 2015

What To Do If You Break Down?

Breaking down, whether you’re on the motorway or on the street, can be dangerous, which is why it’s important to know what to do when it happens.

Before You Set Off

Make sure that you have breakdown cover. If you’re going abroad, make sure that your cover extends to the country you’re visiting. Have all the relevant information handy, such as the number for your provider and your policy certificate. Put the number in your phone.

Look after your car. The better maintained your car is, the better it will perform.

Have a reflective jacket and a waterproof in your car, and in the winter, have a rug and some emergency food in the car too.

If You Break Down

If you’re on the motorway and your vehicle develops a problem that you’re concerned about, then you should leave the motorway at the nearest available exit or stop at the nearest service area. If you can’t, then you should pull on to the hard shoulder, ideally next to an emergency telephone.

You shouldn’t use the hard shoulder for using the toilet, using a mobile phone or to check a route or a map.

Once on the Hard Shoulder

Try to leave your vehicle as far to the left as possible and leave by the left hand door. Leave your sidelights on.

The Highway Code recommends that you leave any animals in the vehicle, or if you are confident that you can keep the animal under control, on the verge. Children should be kept well away from the carriageway.

Head to the nearest emergency telephone, following the arrows on the posts. The telephone is free to use and connects directly to the Highways Agency or the Police. Give as much detail as you can, letting them know whether you’re vulnerable, such as disabled or travelling alone.

Call your breakdown cover provider after you’ve talked to the Highways Agency.

Return to your vehicle, away from the hard shoulder on the verge. If you feel vulnerable, then get back in your vehicle and lock all your doors. You should leave your vehicle when you’re happy that the danger has passed.

Don’t try to fix the problem yourself.

If you are disabled and unable to leave the vehicle, then stay in the vehicle, seatbelt on, with hazard warning lights on.

Returning to the Carriageway

Build up speed on the hard shoulder before rejoining the motorway.

On Other Roads

When you realise that you have a problem, find a safe place away from traffic to park your car. Use your red warning triangle to warn any oncoming traffic about your stationary car. Call for assistance and then sit in your car and wait, assuming that your car is safely parked.

How does the VW Emissions Scandal Affect Me?

As the scandal that currently engulfs VW becomes clearer, it’s likely you’re beginning to wonder how it might affect you. With around 11 million cars affected worldwide, Volkswagen has stated it will fix the software used to cheat emissions tests fitted on diesel cars between 2009 and 2015. Here’s how it affects you.

Is the software fitted in my car?

The easiest way to know whether you’re affected is to check your V5C document and service books. The scandal affects vehicles with an EA 189 diesel engine. If you’re unsure, you can also call VW’s customer care centre.

Also remember that your car can be from a different manufacturer and still be affected. These manufacturers include Audi, Skoda and Seat. So, if you have one of these vehicles, check your engine, too.

Will my car be recalled?

VW expect to contact all the customers affected over the course of the next month as per their “action plan”. As part of this, they will fix the software free of charge. Crucially, however, there will not be a formal recall, as this only happens in the UK when a defect “could result in serious injury”.

Overall, the defect affects almost 1.2 million diesel cars in Britain, so fixing them all will take time. VW hope to have fixed all the cars affected by 2017, so don’t panic if you’re not contacted immediately. The defect doesn’t affect the car’s roadworthiness.

As the owner of the car, you’re also not obligated to have your car modified, and the Department for Transport have confirmed that not returning the vehicle wouldn’t be illegal. However, it is worth noting that a failure to return the car could affect the warranty of the car or its resale value. Ultimately, although not a legal requirement, it is in the interests of the owner to get the problem fixed.

Will this affect my resale value?

With VW’s stock market price plummeting following the news, it is perhaps unsurprising that early signs indicate that the resale value of VW’s has taken a slight knock. Data shows that the resale value of used VW cars fell 0.2pc in September versus a 2.8pc rise in the wider market. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that this will be a long-term trend, and it may be a short-term consequence.

If you think you may sell your VW in the future, it would be advisable to keep all documentation regarding the correction of the software. This way, when selling, you can prove to the new buyer that you’ve had the issue corrected.