Is it REALLY worth having that scratch on my car fixed?

 

woman with carI wrote the article below early in the year and it has received a great response, so I thought that it would be a good idea to share it here again!

Is it REALLY worth having that scratch on my car fixed?

The answer depends on your circumstances. I always like to give an honest answer when customers pose this question, so here are a few scenarios to help you decide.

You should get the scratch fixed if you use your car for business. Many commercial fleet managers take great care in ensuring staff vehicles look their best. Although I don’t, people WILL judge your professional (and sometimes personal) standards by the state of your vehicle. It’s part of your brand. A well known courier company uses ChipsAway – they understand that delivering parcels in a scraped van gives the impression they are careless.

You should prioritise broken paintwork on metal – which is generally anywhere except your front and rear bumpers (which are usually plastic). Left untouched, the weather and salty roads can cause rust to set in to damaged steel panels. Once corrosion has taken hold, it is costly and specialist to repair. I don’t work on corroded damage – as although the repair might look perfect at first, within months the rust comes back. It generally needs to be cut or ground out. In worst case scenarios it can lead to MOT failures.

If you are returning a car at the end of it’s lease, it is worth getting estimates for any body work repairs – including alloy wheels scratches. At the same time, you might ask your lease company for a “Schedule of Charges” to check whether their charges are more than the cost of a repair. They often are (although alloy wheels vary the most) – so it is worth booking in a repair if the lease company would charge you more not to.

You should definitely think carefully about getting any damage fixed if you are selling your car. You might not get the value of the repair back in the asking price, but if someone has a choice between buying a car without damage and one with, I know which one I’d chose. A scuffed car might also give the impression that it has been mechanically neglected too – even if that’s not true. However, bear in mind that a simple bumper scratch repair from us starts at £165 + VAT. If you are selling your car for less than £1000, it probably won’t make a difference.

If the damage is ruining your enjoyment you might want to consider a repair. Many of our customers love their cars, and even the smallest dent causes them distress. It’s amazing how many people reverse into their own gateposts in their brand new pride and joy car. Having spent thousands on their cherished asset, many of our customers feel a few hundred more to put right a small mistake usually worth it.

If someone else has caused the damage, and offers to pay, you should accept. Some people chose not to, as they mistakenly think it involves a lot of hassle. We can collect the car from your house, leaving a courtesy car with you, and in most instances, return it to you the same day, fixed. The inconvenience is minimal. Nearly all of our work comes in under most people’s insurance thresholds – so there is no need for lengthy negotiation with an insurance company. Furthermore, you can also usually get other damage fixed at the same time, at a discount.

When not to get the work done? 

  • Don’t book in a repair if you car is about to go for an MOT and you suspect it has problems. There is no point in a great looking car, if you can’t drive it anywhere!
  • Don’t book a repair if you can’t afford it – unless it will cost you more not to (e.g. a lease return). If money is tight, make sure you are getting value for money from your repairer – ask if there is a life-time guarantee with the work (like we offer). Our prices are pretty set, but you can always ask if there are any special offers or for payment terms.
  • Most people wouldn’t fix damage if the repair costs more than the car is worth, but that said, we have a few customers who love their mechanically sound cars so much, and have grown attached to them, so they feel it is worth it.

Hopefully I have covered most scenarios – but if I haven’t feel free to get in touch. Both me and my husband, Jim offer free guidance and estimates – we are always happy to advise you. Call us on 07535521198.

Caroline

Marketing a ‘Greener Product’ – Engine Mapping

co2 car cartoonIn June this year our team at Miles Better Motoring Ltd established a basic survey looking at vehicle usage and awareness of how engine mapping can help motorists be ‘greener’.  So far we have had 60 responses. If you haven’t already completed the questionnaire a link is here: http://tiny.cc/dqyv9y Once we reach 250 replies, if you have left your details with us, you might be in with a chance of winning £100 in the draw.

In the meantime, I wanted to share with you some initial findings and interim conclusions from the research – which has been quite an eye opener.

Of the 60 who answered the questions, half were interviewed in person and were attending ‘green’ events, or had expressed concern over climate change and/or taking climate action.

The other half responded digitally online, distributed via social media and local networks, so we are unsure whether they had any interest in environmental issues at all, but it is assumed that at least some of them would have been.  The survey showed:

  • Over half of those questioned drove a diesel vehicle
  • Only 3 of the 60 drove electric or hybrid vehicles
  • Over half didn’t know what engine mapping was, however, one third said they did know that engine mapping can help lower carbon emissions.  
  • Despite this knowledge close to 90% of people who answered said they had never considered having their engines mapped.

As an organisation established to help motorists and businesses save money and be better for the environment, this poses a real challenge for us. Every 3,500 miles driven in a medium-sized diesel car creates a tonne of C02.  If those people who a) share a concern that diesel vehicles contribute to emissions and b) know that engine mapping can help, yet still aren’t considering reducing the damage their own vehicles are doing, it makes being able to market engine mapping on an environmental basis problematic.

Currently, our conclusion is that the financial benefits of diesel engine mapping might be a better avenue to explore in our marketing – we already have a thread of our strategy which focuses on this, especially for businesses.  Any environmental ambitions we have as an organisation, can therefore still be fulfilled as an ‘additional motivator’ for customers seeking to reduce fuel costs, but not as a leading incentive. Furthermore, as engine mapping is so rarely understood, we first need to build relationships with individual customers to help them understand the process involved, and using our other services (such as eco-valeting).  As such the landing page of our website at MilesBetter.net has been amended to reflect this, and a leaflet producing explaining exactly what engine mapping is. (See MilesBetter.net).

Once we have reached 250 responses to the questionnaire we will revisit the conclusions and share them again more widely.  In the meantime would welcome any feedback for further encouraging ‘green’ customers to understand and consider engine mapping as a way to reduce diesel emissions.

Company drivers could be costing you more than your reputation

 

Drive Tech have recently published a useful report on how driver behaviours impacts running costs.  

Download full report here  

If you don’t have time to read it all, I have done that for you, and listed the main points here.  It’s great to see a proper study on the subject – often improving your employees driving style is based on factors other than financial – how your company is perceived on branded vehicles for example.

The report studies over two thousand AA fleet vehicles over a period of two years. The results show a number of direct links between driver behaviour and operating costs. It shows that nearly half of the costs of running a vehicle are impacted by how it is driven.  The main things impacted are: insurance; fuel; and service, maintenance & repair.

Telematics (tracking) has meant that driving styles can now be recorded and analysed. (Also see my post on the benefits of tracking).  The main points are:  

  • The more maximum throttle events (IE heavy accelerating) that occurs, the more insurance claims (over twice as many)
  • Harsh braking or cornering resulted in a 73% increase in tyre costs
  • The more heavy acceleration events, the higher the fuel bill – up to 166%

WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT?

The simple answer is tracking and training. I have never heard of a fleet manager who hasn’t saved money in the long term by educating their drivers. Drive Tech is one of the outfits offering driving training (NB: I am in no way affiliated with them). 

Here is how Drive Tech helped the AA: By focusing on the ‘worst performing’ drivers and transforming them into ‘average’ drivers, the company has calculated it can save £360 per annum per vehicle over the next three years. Interestingly, the anticipated biggest savings are in crash costs, closely followed by fuel savings

Happy Money-Saving Motoring!