Avoid wheel clamping fines and parking problems
Parking your car is an always going to incur a financial risk regardless of whether you park on street or off street (private property)
the parking control industry for both is estimated to be worth 3 Billion in revenue every year.
Private landowners employ wheel clamping companies to deal with their
illegal parking problems, the main difference
is that the public sector is well regulated and the private sector isn't this means that parking your car on private
property can result in getting your car clamped or even towed away. The average cost according to local newspaper reports
has seen figures ranging from £300 to almost £1,000.
Local authorities are responsible for penalties on the public highway and in pay and display car parks.
Getting towed or clamped by on the public highway have set limits i.e. a wheel clamping release fee is usually about £150,
and getting towed away about £250. The main difference between the private and civil parking enforcement
is that you can appeal the fine given by a local authority and if your appeal fails you can appeal to the ombudsman.
Parking contrary to parking regulations on private property can be very expensive,
and the only redress you have is with the parking control
contractor, who act as judge jury and bailiff on most of the occasions.
So be very careful where you park off street, and ensure that you have the landowners permission and the necessary permit if applicable.
If in doubt do not take the risk always look out for warning signs.
Some motorists have had their cars towed away and sold by the
wheel clampers when the motorist has refused to pay the inflated prices. The problem has got so bad that the government has announced
that the practice of clamping and towing car on private land will be banned the announcement was made in August 20010 however the practice
won't be outlawed until 2011.
Some simple tips for when you are parking
- Check the signs if in doubt ask a local trader they are always happy to assist.
- Do not leave your car unattended to look for change.
- Don't park even if the yellow lines are very faded.
- If you purchased a pay and display ticket ensure its facing the correct way up and make a note of the time it expires allow time to return to your vehicle. Once expired there is no grace time. Use the self adhesive on the rear to secure on to the front of the windscreen only and the correct way up (a traffic warden does not have to look all round the car).
- If using a disabled badge ensure you set the clock correctly as advised. Councils across the country have different rules check the booklet that was sent with your badge. Disabled badges are not valid on private property.
Tips for when you get get a parking ticket
- Remain calm do not lose your temper with the wardens they are paid to do a job and act on the instruction given to them. If you see the warden who issued the parking ticket you can ask him her to make a note in their book.
- Make sure that you take pics of where your is parked and the nearest warning sign. It must be clearly visible and easy to understand.
- If you're going to appeal, use photographic evidence to back up your claim. Use a witness makes sure you appeal within the time allowed if your appeal is unsuccessful appeal to the ombudsman.
- If you were in the wrong, pay up straight away and take advantage of the early discount that most authorities offer.
Being careful when you park your car can save you anywhere from £50 to £1,000;
Slashing fuel costs
- Keep as few unnecessary items in your car as possible. This even includes small items in the glove compartment that you might not assume would make a difference - it all adds up.
- Reduce wind resistance by keeping your windows shut while driving.
- A roof rack makes your car less aerodynamic, increasing fuel consumption by up to 30 per cent. There are professionals available if you can't remove it yourself.
- Don't start the engine until you've got your belts, mirrors and everything else in order.
- Letting your engine “warm up” before your drive actually begins is another good way to waste fuel. Treat the drive like an exercise - start off easily, then build speed once you've got going.
- Reach your target speed gracefully, then stay as close to it as possible for as long as you can. Sudden accelerations burn a lot of fuel.
- Changing gear too early puts a strain on your engine and wastes fuel. Wait until roughly 2,000rpm (diesel car) or 2,500rpm (petrol car) before you change.
- Remember to check your tyre pressure regularly; otherwise, you may be putting more strain on your engine than necessary.
- It is important to manage your own fuel supply, complete with a weekly “quota”. If you can walk the distance, it's not worth the fuel. Your legs and your bank account will be better off.
- Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) is less expensive than either unleaded or diesel - 53 pence per litre on average. Converting your engine is a good way to reduce waste, although it will cost somewhere between £1,000 and £1,500*.
- www.petrolprices.com can help you find a cheap local station. Service stations charge more, so avoid filling your tank on the motorway except on long journeys.
You could cut your fuel costs in half and save up to £2,000 per year by following this advice, depending on how much you use your car.
- The obvious one - don't crash. Drive calmly, carefully and never competitively. No-claims discounts can be as high as 70 per cent.
- Nearly as obvious - don't speed. Tickets aren't just a short-term annoyance; they raise insurance premiums by an average of 13 per cent.
- Shopping around is rarely a bad idea. Examine all your options carefully before choosing a provider. If you're insuring a “spare” car, you can save money by choosing third-party cover.
- Once you qualify for a protected no-claims bonus, get it as soon as possible. Of course, you shouldn't get cocky, as a claim will still increase your premiums and some companies will remove the protected discount if you submit more than a certain amount of claims per year.
- If you have last at least five years without a claim, you may be able to apply for a guaranteed no-claims bonus, which enables you to protect your no claims discount for life. Once again, a claim can still increase your premium.
- Higher mileage may or may not raise the price of insurance. Ask your company.
- Excessive modification (changing your car from the factory specifications) can raise your premium.
- New driver? You could knock hundreds off the cost of your insurance with a Pass Plus scheme.
- Be sure you have breakdown cover - your company may provide a discount rate for inclusive cover.
- If you only use your car rarely, joining a pay-as-you-drive scheme could save hundreds.
The above points could save you up to £1,000 a year.
Buying a car
- Keep to your budget.
- If you're looking for a used car, shop around. Private sales or car auctions will tend to have the best deals.
- When looking for car finance, again, shop around.
- Once you've found a used car you want, do your research. Data checking will let you know if the car has been written off or scrapped, or is subject to outstanding finance.
- Make sure you've done your research no matter what you're buying. Look at adverts for both new and used cars, so you avoid overpaying by finding a model's exact going price.
- Buying a car with low emissions and good fuel consumption will reduce your long-term bills as well as your carbon footprint..
- Asking for extras may not be your first instinct, but an up-to-date MOT and tax disc can save you a lot of money, as can a full tank of fuel to start off with.
- Dealers may cut 10 per cent off the list price if you can pay by cash.
- Which? magazine says buying online saves an average of £3,000.
Saving up to £3,500 a year.
- Sat-nav shortens journeys and saves fuel.
- Before you turn the engine off, switch off all the electronic controls (heater, lights, radio, wiper). Extra charge will run into the battery when you do turn the engine off.
- Buy a scraper and de-icer.
- If applicable (driving kids to school, etc), start a car-pool and get as many people involved as possible.
- If it looks like you're going to be stuck in one place for a long time, switch off the engine. Don't abuse this, though, as it could flatten your battery.
- If your job offers you the choice between cash or a company car, you could be financially better off either way – so make sure you do your calculations and get advice on which is the best options for you.
- Unless you're on a long journey, consider keeping your fuel level at half-full. This will make the car lighter while preventing it from breaking down.
- Avoid braking and accelerating sharply; try to anticipate when you will stop so you can start to brake as early as possible. Harsh stops and starts waste fuel and wear out your brakes and tyres faster.
- Stay away from built-up areas if possible, especially if they're full of junctions and speed bumps; accelerating and decelerating repeatedly is very fuel-inefficient.
- When on the motorway, keep to the left lane if you can. Fuel consumption increases significantly when you start going faster than 60mph.
Maximum saving: £500
- Make sure your coolant stays topped up.
- If your car's battery is nearing the end of its usability, change it ASAP. Replacing it will be much less expensive than dealing with a full breakdown.
- Don't let your engine get dirty. Change oil regularly to maintain fuel economy.
- It might not be convenient, but you should still check your tyres a few times every week. Check the pressure, tread depth and look carefully for anything caught in it that could cause damage. Some punctures are surprisingly cheap to repair.
- Find a way to save yourself the cost of having your tires re-inflated. You can look for a garage that pumps up your tyres for free, or do it yourself.
- Kwik-Fit will check your suspension for free.
- Make sure you've inspected the inside of the car and checked your windscreen for any damage, however small, before taking the MOT test.
- Why not take a combined MOT and service at Kwik-Fit.
- If you repeatedly fail to have your car serviced, your insurance company may void your warranty, potentially costing you hundreds of pounds if you need parts or services in the future.
- When the time comes to sell your car, having at least three receipts and service book stamps as proof of its condition will increase its value significantly.
Saving you another £350
How to save on car tax
- Does your company have cars of its own? You can save money on car tax by using them.
- Do your car tax online. No postage fees, no waiting in line.
- A car that runs on alternative fuel will save you a minimum of £20 per tax band.
- A car that emits less than 100g/km of CO2 won't have any car tax at all. Examples include the Goingreen G-Wiz, Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion or Seat Ibiza Ecomotive.
- Annual tax can be up to £40 cheaper than a six-month tax disc.
- Motorcycles have much lower taxes imposed on them. A bike with an engine of less than 150cc has an annual tax of only £15.
- Is your vehicle going to be off the road for over six months? Submit a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) and you won't have to pay tax on it until it's back on the road.
- Cars registered before January 1974 are exempt from road tax, though whether this outweighs the downsides is up to you.
The points above will save you £1,500.