Average age of UK cars rises to 8.4 years

Average age of cars oldest on record with almost 10m vehicles from 2008 and earlier still in service

The average age of cars on UK roads is now the highest on record at 8.4 years, according to data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

With showrooms closed for large periods of 2020 due to lockdowns, fewer new cars were registered, resulting in the oldest average car fleet since records began.

The average car on UK roads was built in 2011, while almost 10 million cars have been in service since 2008 or earlier.

The latest parc data illustrates that, for the second consecutive year, there were more than 35 million cars registered on UK roads (35,082,800), although that figure represents a modest 0.2 per cent dip as Covid impacted new volumes entering the market.

Light commercial vehicles (LCVs) – the only vehicle type to see an increase – saw 1.7 per cent growth over the past year, up to a new record high of 4,604,861 vehicles.

The number of heavy goods vehicles on our roads declined by 3.1 per cent to 589,445 units.

Bus and coach numbers saw the most significant fall at 10.7 per cent to 73,608, as the pandemic dramatically reduced already-declining passenger numbers causing fleet operators to pause new fleet purchases and take unused vehicles off the road.

Electric vehicle numbers

The number of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) on UK roads increased by 114.3 per cent to a record high of 199,085, while plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) also saw their numbers increase by 35.2 per cent to 239,510.

However, combined, they represented just 1.3 per cent of all cars on our roads.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) saw their numbers grow by a fifth to 621,622 cars.

Petrol and diesel numbers

Petrol car volumes remained stable, down 0.2 per cent, with diesel falling 2.3 per cent.

Combined, internal combustion engine (ICE) models accounted for 97.1 per cent of the total parc – or 34,018,599 units.

Britain’s favourite car types are still the supermini and lower medium segments which account for six in 10 cars in service, at 11,620,733 and 9,256,839 units respectively.

Dual purpose vehicles remain a distant third, with 4,619,061 in use but now account for 13.2 per cent of cars on the road, as consumer tastes and demand shift.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “With the pandemic putting the brakes on new vehicle uptake in 2020, the average car on our roads is now the oldest since records began some 20 years ago, as drivers held on to their existing vehicles for longer.

“The technology is changing, however, albeit slowly.

“Despite massive growth last year, just one in 80 vehicles is a plug-in electric car – while nearly 10 million petrol and diesel cars dating back to before 2008 remain on our roads.

“Encouraging drivers to upgrade to the newest, cleanest lowest emission cars, regardless of fuel source, is essential for the UK to meet its ambitious climate change targets.”

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Petition calls for industry support and action plan to correct ongoing effects of last year’s six-month MOT exemption

Work shortages to be repeated every spring/summer for “years to come”

A new petition calling for a government action plan and financial support for garage businesses suffering from a significant drop in workloads has so far attracted 740 signatures.

MOT tester and managing director of Parkers MOT in Haywards Heath, Jonathan Barbara launched the petition in response to a “drastic shortage of work” caused by the six-month Covid MOT exemption introduced during the first lockdown last year.

The petition suggests government should produce a sector-specific financial support package to safeguard the future of jobs and businesses across the motor trade.

It claims garage businesses and their suppliers will continue to suffer the effects of the MOT exemption for long after the furlough scheme comes to an end in September later this year.

In a Facebook post promoting the petition, Jonathan said: “We are left with the consequences of a repetition in MOT and work shortages for years to come through no fault of our own.

“Solutions need to be found and the consequences cannot be ignored as our livelihoods are at risk.”

Meanwhile, predictions once again show the autumn months of 2021 to be significantly busier than usual as a result of last year’s six-month MOT exemption

In an attempt to rebalance MOT numbers, the DVSA recently urged motorists with a vehicle MOT due in August, September, October and November 2021 to bring their vehicle in for a test during May, June or July instead.

MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans were extended by six months between 30 March and 1 August 2020 in a bid to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

At the time, the Independent Garage Association warned that it would have a detrimental impact on the independent sector, which carries out over 80 per cent of the UK’s 30 million yearly MOT tests.

The petition must reach 10,000 signatures before 17 November for an official government response.

At 100,000 signatures it will be considered for debate in Parliament.

For further information or to sign the petition click here.

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Ring highlights MAGflex inspection lamp

Ultimate all-rounder for illuminating a wide range of workspaces

The MAGflex Utility Inspection Lamp, launched last year by Ring, is proving popular with technicians thanks to its unique flexibility to get super bright light in the right places.

The versatile inspection lamp can also be used hands-free, as it has two adjustable magnetic bases and dual hanging hooks, allowing it to provide illumination without needing to be held in place.

This means it is ideal for placing under the bonnet, on the underside of vehicles or on ramps, acting as site light to illuminate a large work area.

Ring’s MAGflex Utility Lamp has wide-angled illumination and emits up to 1000 lumens of white light, for optimal vision.

Workshops can position the light exactly where it’s needed thanks to the lamp’s 360° rotating body.

It’s rechargeable and cordless and has an operating time of up to 2.5 hours.

The RIL3700HP comes with mains and 12V DC charging cables, offering technicians an ultimate all-rounder for illuminating a wide range of workspaces.

Ring Automotive’s workshop lighting product manager, Roisin Gaughan, said: “The MAGflex Utility Lamp offers more flexibility when it comes to inspection lighting.

“It has a wide-angle illumination source and is also portable, powerful and hands-free, making it every technician’s best friend.”

For further information click here.

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Government ‘lacks plan’ for 2030 petrol and diesel sales ban

EV prices, charging infrastructure, recycling of batteries and retraining of mechanics among concerns raised by MPs

The UK government must do more to overcome the ‘huge challenge’ of banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by its 2030 deadline, MPs have warned.

The government has been scrutinised over the details of its plan to phase out the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and new hybrids by 2035, with

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which examines the value-for-money of Government projects, has said more thought needs to be put into the price of new electric cars, their availability on the used market, the accessibility of public charging and the effect of their production on carbon emissions.

The PAC’s report calls on the government to set out its plans for managing the “complex transition” to electric cars.

New EV prices are “too high” for many people in comparison to petrol or diesel equivalents, the PAC says, while further research is also recommended into running costs.

The PAC says the Department for Transport (DfT) made a “series of assumptions” about journey types and EV charging behaviours.

These include 99 per cent of journeys being less than 100 miles, the vast majority of EV charging taking place at home and at night-time, and people using public charging infrastructure on longer trips.

The DfT has not, however, estimated how many public chargers the UK will need to keep up with the rollout of EVs, according to the PAC.

The committee specifically says the government has “not focused much attention on charging for people that do not have off-street parking”.

Petrol and diesel car ban explained

The sales ban of all new petrol and diesel cars is to be brought forward to 2030, the Prime Minister has said.

The ban on petrol and diesel models is now an entire decade ahead of the initial 2040 enforcement date first ushered by the government.

New hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars that can “drive a significant distance without emitting carbon” can continue to be sold until 2035, at which point they too will be banned.

Second-hand cars are unaffected by the ban.

Additional concerns over the environmental impact of producing electric cars and the “eventual recycling challenge” were also raised.

Difficulties surrounding the retraining of mechanics to service EVs, the demand for electricity and the implications on Vehicle Excise duty are also yet to be addressed by government according to the report.

Commenting on the report, RAC head of policy Nicholas Lyes said: “While the 2030 deadline is a huge challenge, the number of drivers choosing electric vehicles is higher than ever and with more new models coming on to the market, the proportion will only grow further.

“The government’s plug-in car grant provides some incentive to purchase an electric car but there is no commitment to retain this beyond 2023 at present and we would encourage the government to continue looking at ways to incentivise take-up.

“A strong network of fast, reliable and easy-to-use public chargepoints which allow for contactless payment, alongside measures to help those without off-street parking, are undoubtedly vital pieces to the jigsaw of making an electric vehicle become the default choice in the next few years.”

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NGK-sponsored Wolves ready for new Speedway season

SGP riders’ bikes fitted with NGK spark plugs and company will have big presence at Grand Prix series tracks

The NGK-sponsored Wolverhampton Wolves Speedway team will take to the track for the first time in the 2021 season today (Monday 24 May) when they take on the Belle Vue Aces at a meeting that will be televised on the Eurosport television channel.

Ignition and sensor specialist NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd is once again sponsoring the team which will compete in the British Premier League, as well as Wolves riders Rory Schlein and Luke Becker.

The sponsorship deal will see NGK’s logo featured on all the team riders’ race suits, around the track and in each home meeting programme.

In addition, all the riders have been given NGK paddock mats and chairs.

John Money, who handles Speedway sponsorship on behalf of NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “It is great that the new season is about to get underway.

“Speedway fans were starved of racing last season due to the coronavirus pandemic and we are looking forward to taking customers to see Wolves in action over the course of the season.”

Unfortunately, the season at Wolverhampton’s Monmore Green Stadium track got off to a disappointing start when this week’s Thank You NHS individual meeting had to be abandoned due to a sudden rain deluge which made the track unfit for racing.

Ignition specialist NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd is a long-time supporter of Speedway and has a star-studded group of riders competing in this year’s FIM Speedway Grand Prix series including three-time World Speedway Champion Tai Woffinden, 2020 World number three Freddie Lindgren, Britain’s Robert Lambert, the 2020 European Champion, and former European Champions Emil Sayfutdinov, of Russia, and Slovenian Matej Zagar.

For further information click here.

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Lobby group calls for stricter DPF checks during MOT

Improved DPF testing would reduce thousands tonnes of particulate matter, claims Westminster Commission for Road Air Quality

An all-party parliamentary group on air pollution is calling for stricter legislation around DPF testing during MOTs to reduce particulate matter emissions.

The Westminster Commission for Road Air Quality (WCRAQ) estimates the measure could save the UK around 1000 tonnes of particulate matter PM2.5 per year.

A recent DEFRA report on the emission of air pollutants in the UK found that ‘particulate matter ‘may enter the bloodstream and be transported around the body, lodging in the heart, brain and other organs.’

The fine particulates are known to damage human health by causing asthma, COPD, and cardiovascular disease.

Dr James Tate, associate professor at the University of Leeds and WCRAQ Chair of Research, said: “We fear a significant amount of the very fine particles from diesel combustion are now coming from damaged or tampered DPFs.

“They simply shouldn’t be in the air we all breathe.

“The testing equipment technology to ensure failing DPFs is available for a reasonable cost.

“The UK should make it an absolute priority to tighten diesel MOT testing in the shortest possible time.”

It’s thought around ten per cent of diesel cars have damaged/faulty, tampered with, or unlawfully removed DPF filters.

Barry Sheerman, MP for Huddersfield and chair of WCRAQ, said: “As a Commission, we are committed to identifying and following best practice in achieving improved air quality – drawing expertise from home and abroad.

“Governments across Europe, such as that in the Netherlands, are making real progress in reducing the levels of fine and ultra-fine particles produced by roadside air pollution through improvements to MOT testing.

“More rigorous assessments of vehicles’ emissions levels would mitigate the harmful health impacts of high roadside air pollution and in turn, save lives.”

New MOT regulations for DPF testing are set to come into force from July 2022 in the Netherland’s.

The Dutch introduction of particle number (PN) limit on diesel vehicle emissions tests the filter’s efficacy by a pipe test at idle using a PN measuring instrument based on limits to show in-use compliance.

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Plug and play Monroe adaptive suspension repair solutions explained

Continuously variable semi-active suspension offers varying driving modes on-demand

Adaptive, or semi-active, suspensions have become a popular choice of millions of vehicle buyers.

Unlike passive suspensions, which utilize passive shock absorbers and springs to control suspension movement, adaptive suspensions feature electronic dampers that adjust a vehicle’s ride and handling characteristics based on driver preference and changes in the driving environment.

Many popular passenger vehicle brands – Audi, BMW, Ford, Infiniti, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Renault, Seat, Skoda, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo – offer models equipped with adaptive suspensions from the Monroe intelligent suspension product portfolio.

These factory-installed systems are often marketed under the vehicle manufacturer’s suspension brand, such as Audi’s drive select system, BMW’s variable damper control and adaptive M suspensions, Infiniti’s digital dynamic suspension, Seat’s dynamic chassis control, and Volvo’s Four-C – but they were designed and manufactured with the help of Monroe engineers.

What each of these models have in common is a Monroe intelligent suspension technology known as continuously variable semi-active (CVSAe).

The system enables drivers to switch on-demand between different driving modes ranging from comfortable and refined to sporty.

CVSAe technology and other Monroe intelligent suspension solutions have helped transform the driving experience for an entire generation of vehicle owners.

The benefits of adaptive suspension technology are obvious.

But what happens when replacement dampers are needed for these sophisticated electronic suspensions?

Monroe, the manufacturer of Monroe intelligent suspension products for the original equipment market, now offers a broad range of premium-quality adaptive shock absorbers for the replacement market.

These shocks – marketed under the Monroe intelligent suspension RideSense name – feature the same technology as the original equipment electronic shocks found on each of dozens of popular vehicle models.

Available through the same leading parts and service providers that carry and install Monroe OESpectrum, Monroe Original and Monroe Adventure passive shock absorbers, Monroe Intelligent Suspension RideSense electronic shocks provide seamless, “plug-and-play” integration with the corresponding vehicle’s ECU.

The ECU manages a variety of sensor inputs to adapt the shocks’ damping characteristics to driver preference and changing road conditions, a process that occurs in as little as 10 milliseconds, providing exceptional ride quality in a full range of driving situations.

Following the installation of new Monroe Intelligent Suspension RideSense shocks, drivers can count on their adaptive suspensions to perform much as they did when their vehicles were brand new.

But, as with any shock replacement, Monroe Intelligent Suspension RideSense electronic shocks should always be installed in pairs to ensure original equipment (OE) style ride and handling performance.

For further information click here.

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Ivor Searle adds remanufactured turbo for Mazda 2.2 litre diesel models

Reman turbochargers costing up to 40 per cent less than OE, specialist says

Remanufacturer Ivor Searle has added the turbocharger for the 2.2 litre Mazda’s diesel engine to its all-makes programme which covers petrol and diesel cars and light commercial vehicles.

The new Mazda application covers Mazda 3 hatchback and Mazda 6 saloon models, as well as the popular Mazda CX5 SUV.

Costing up to 40 per cent less than OE, Ivor Searle remanufactured turbochargers provide independent garages with competitive advantage without compromising on quality, warranty protection or customer service.

All Ivor Searle turbochargers undergo stringent quality checks and test procedures throughout the remanufacturing process to ensure maximum durability and service life.

Prior to final assembly, the turbocharger’s rotating assembly is balanced on state-of-the-art VSR equipment to OE specification, while oil flow rates are checked at the same time.

Every turbocharger receives a detailed final inspection and is flow tested to ensure optimum performance.

Ivor Searle turbochargers are provided with a transferable two-year unlimited mileage parts and labour warranty.

All units are also supplied pre-installation guidelines, as well as model-specific instructions if required.

Ivor Searle holds a comprehensive stock of turbochargers and provides free next day UK mainland delivery for stock items ordered before 3.30pm.

To find out more call 01353 720531 or click here for further information.

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LuK concentric slave cylinders to be discussed in Schaeffler’s upcoming June ‘tea-break training’

Common concentric slave cylinder concerns and issues with best practice hints and tips

The Schaeffler REPXPERT technical team is back in action on 1 and 2 June with two ‘tea-break training’ sessions focusing on the concerns, challenges and frustrations that can occur during concentric slave cylinder (CSC) replacement.

“Presented by Bob Carter, one of our most experienced REPXPERTs, a veteran of over 50 years in the automotive industry, including the last 16 as a LuK technical trainer, these sessions concentrate on CSCs and are a must-see for workshops,” said Schaeffler technical manager and REPXPERT, Alistair Mason.

“CSCs are now a common repair for workshops, as almost half of all cars and vans use them nowadays, so providing technicians with a detailed overview of how they work, the common problems that occur and best practice solutions when replacing them, will be of real value.

“The REPXPERT ethos to equip technicians with the products and knowledge to carry out the best possible repair, first time every time, runs through all of our training platforms and these live online events are no different.

“Understanding the issues surrounding CSCs and being able to avoid time consuming and costly mistakes makes this a perfect subject for our latest ‘Tea-break training’ module.”

The LuK CSC online training module will be held over two days: session one at 12:30 on Tuesday 1 June and session two at 18:30 on Wednesday 2 June.

Registration links are available on the REPXPERT website, as well as via social media posts and newsletters sent to members, plus anybody who has attended a Schaeffler REPXPERT Academy or any other Schaeffler training event.

For further information click here.

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OSRAM launches new Night Breaker 200 range

New range complements existing Night Breaker halogen and xenon bulbs

A new range of OSRAM headlamp bulbs has been launched offering a halogen upgrade bulb that is up to 200 percent brighter than required by law.

As the brightest halogen retrofit bulb in OSRAM’s range, Night Breaker 200 expands the high-tech company’s Night Breaker portfolio.

By using cutting-edge technology, Night Breaker 200 delivers a high light output. The powerful headlamp bulbs are up to three times brighter and provide up to 20 percent whiter light than required by law.

The light beam extends up to 150 metres and the strong luminosity of the bulb provides improved, wider visibility.

Better visibility can help drivers recognize traffic signs and hazards more quickly and react to them swiftly without incidence, improving road safety.

The new visual feature is the mirrored chrome tip, which gives the bulb its modern look.

The Night Breaker 200 is available now as an H4 and H7 ECE bulb type.

The recommended retail price for the duo packs is £40.99 including VAT for the H7 and £34.99 including VAT for the H4.

For further information click here.

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