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Search Questions

Dear Harry
I have a Mk.1 Cortina, owned and driven by me from new, which has now covered over 200,000 miles with only one engine overhaul: I know there are cars with higher mileages but am I in the running for a record íone driver' car perhaps?

Dear Alan
You have someway to go yet, Iím afraid! The highest one that I know of is a 1966 Volvo P1800 owned from new by a Mr.Gordon of New York. His car has now clocked up over 2 million miles in his ownership! Incredibly, it is still running on its original engine (which has been rebuilt just once - at 675,000 miles) and transmission (which has never been touched).
The car will be on show in this country later this year as part of the Volvo 75th Anniversery celebrations.

Dear Harry
I informed my insurance company that we are taking the car on holiday to France next month: They told me they no longer issue íGreen Cards' automatically and that I don't need one anymore. Are they right?

Dear Andrew
You are no longer legally required an international motor insurance certificate (usually called the Green Card) and many insurers donít issue them as a matter of course. Nevertheless, the RAC strongly recommends you take one anyway.

Dear Harry
Recently I borrowed a friends car, with a view to buying it. I obtained written permission to drive it on his insurance. Unfortunately someone ran into the back of me and the police were called, we were all asked to produce our documents. I then found to my horror that the MOT on my borrowed car had run out 2 days earlier! The police have now said that I will be prosecuted. Surely as it is not my car it should be the owner who is charged not me? It is his responsibility to ensure the car is legally on the road.

Dear Bob
We do not usually comment on individual legal cases, it is safer to seek advice from a qualified solicitor. Having said this, a similar case to yours was reported in the press a week ago.
Briefly, it said that, as the driver of the car at the time of the offence, you will be held responsible. You may have commited two separate offenses, both can carry a hefty fine Iím afraid if the case is proven.
The first, driving a car on public roads without a current MOT and second, failing to produce an MOT certificate when asked to do so.
Be sure to state in mitigation that the car wasnít yours, the magistrates, hopefully, might take this into account when deciding any penalty.

Dear Harry
I was looking for a cheap estate car to use for D-I-Y occasionally at the weekends. A budget of £1000 seemed to offer a good range of old, but solid, cars locally. I was particularly impressed by a Volvo that, whilst being nearly 20 years old, started first time and looked solid. It was advertised as sold as seen and I asked the dealer what it meant, he said this was quite usual for cheap cars. I had the car at home for only one day when the exhaust fell off and the clutch seems to be going, I returned to the dealer who sent me away with a flea in my ear. He said sold as seen meant that I had no redress whatsoever on the faulty car - is he right?

Dear Charlie
It is essential you act quickly and contact your local Trading Standards Office. He will advise you of your position but my own opinion is that you do in fact have rights under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 despite the dealerís claims. Other similar cases have shown that the phrase used ísold as seen, in this context, is a meaningless statement. You can only apply this reasonably to the way the car looks, or something that can be easily seen on a visual inspection. It is not reasonable to expect a faulty exhaust or clutch to be picked up on the basis of a visual examination.

Dear Harry
I have heard a friend recommending a ípre-MOT' test, surely this is just paying for the same items to be checked twice?

Dear Christine
Many motorists now take their car to a garage for a ípre-MOTí test, this should take the worry out of the test itself as potential failures can be spotted, and often, rectified quite simply. Charges vary from area to area but if you offer the garage any remedial work the costs could be minimal. Some garages will include a pre-test check in the standard £44.15 fee.
When you take into account your time and inconvenience taken to re-present your car to the test centre for a re-test in the event of failure, the ípre-MOTí test is definitely worth thinking about. If the car passes both, just be thankful, and pat yourself on the back, for keeping your vehicle in top condition - Donít think of it as money wasted on ípaying for the same items to be checked twice.
This question, and many others on the subject of the MOT test, are regularly submitted to our sister site MOTUK.com, click on the link on the sidebar for more information.

Dear Harry
I passed my driving test over 5 years ago and was never able to afford a car until now. I have now started driving again and am slowly building up my confidence. I wanted other drivers to be aware that I have just started driving again so went to buy some 'P' plates. The motorist shop I went into said they don't do 'P' plates anymore but do a green 'L' plate with new driver on. However, I went into another shop a few days later only to see a 'P' plate. Is it ok to have the green 'L' plate or should I have the 'P' plate??

Dear Fiona
I think that its up to you. The use of the P plate is to warn drivers that you are a new driver. The P plate has been out longer and therefore will be more recognizable to other drivers and should work more effectivley. But an L does say 'learner' so you could argue that this plate is better.
As long as you use one of them you should be fine

Dear Harry
I have been looking for a late model Peugeot 306 to save the initial depreciation on new. I know they are very sought-after but are they really such a good buy now that the 307 has been introduced.

Dear Grahame
Used 307ís are starting to trickle on to the market, leaving the old 306 in the doldrums. Thatís great for second-hand buyers, because values will tumble, but only so far. An end-of-the-line Y-Plate will still cost around £10,000 but it is a huge saving on new and will still have the balance of the transferable manufacturers warranty left.
Only a year ago, the 306 was one of the most desirable small family cars and its appeal still holds with stylish looks, low running costs and impressive handling. It is now, though, a little more affordable!

The MOT on my car expires on August 2nd, I am on going on holiday for a month and I will be in my second week on that date, can I get my car MOTíd next month or does it have to be on that date?

Dear Hayley
You are fine to get your MOT next month but obviuosly the 12 months on it will start from the day the MOT test was taken. See the link below if you need any more info on the MOT, have a nice holiday, Harry

Dear Harry
My local authority allows holders of the Blue Badge to park free on the street but when I was in London recently on holiday I got a ticket for non-payment, I thought that parking was free for the disabled?

Dear Hyram
For most disabled people holding permits, payment for parking will only apply in off street car parks but there are some local boroughs, mainly in London, where disabled people may be required to pay for parking on the street. If you are in any doubt, check the pay machine, tariffs applying to disabled people should be apparent and where free will usually have the wheelchair symbol with FREE clearly marked. If in any doubt ask the íhoveringí traffic warden!

Dear Harry
I am planning a motoring holiday to Scotland this summer and I would like a few simple ideas please to ensure my 16-year-old BMW 316 will behave, she is fast becoming an old lady!

Dear Ivan
The hotter it is, the more strain it puts on all the carís principal systems, from its engine to its tyres; hereís a top tip for both. Think about how much anti-freeze is in the car - it helps stop the water boiling as well as freezing: Donít just check the tyre pressures, check the tyres themselves, if need be by jacking the car up and rotating each one. Look for signs of uneven wear and, in particular, any lumps or bulges where the tyreís structure has been weakened - Hot weather will increase the likelihood of a faulty tyre failing, if in any doubt, replace!

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