5 Online Tools For Car Owners

Reader's Digest Editors

There’s no doubt that the internet has transformed the lives of every generation during the last 20 years. In 2018 an amazing 80% of people over 74 were ‘recent internet users’, up from only 20% in 2011.

With each passing month we can do more online, and faster. However, the exponential growth of the online world is impossible to keep track of. We took a look at car buying and ownership and identified 5 ways that the internet can make your life easier, safer or just more fun. 

1) Safer

You might not realize it but car manufacturers recall vehicles regularly. Some recalls are for relatively minor defects but others are quite serious. Just this month Nissan recalled 215,000 sedans due to a fire risk, Ford recalled over 2 million trucks for defects with their seat belts and Toyota recalled over 1 million cars due to a fire hazard. Dealers & manufacturers will try to contact registered car owners about recalls however this process is not perfect. If you bought your car via a private sale you won’t be on any official list to receive these notifications. The good news is you can quickly and easily check if your car has been recalled free via one of the UK governments web pages here. 

2) More Fun

There are lots of ways to make driving a more fun and personal experience; furry dice, in car entertainment, body kit and of course a personalised registration plate.

The DVLA is responsible for issuing vehicle registrations and you can buy one from their website. However, you should also consider checking the stock held by some of the private registration companies. Most of them sell all the DVLA's stock anyway but they also have large lists of privately-owned registrations which the DVLA don't have access to.

There are lots of different types of registrations; private, personalised, cherished. dateless... and the list goes on. It's very confusing!  If you aren't sure what all these terms mean you can read about number plate types here. 

3) Easier

There always seems to be something to do to keep your car road legal and safe, from renewing insurance, to checking tyre pressure and arranging roadside assistance. Did you know that you can sign up for reminders for your next MOT date?  It’s free and you can choose to receive reminders via email or SMS!  To sign up for this service just visit this page.

4) Car Loans

There are lots of ways to buy a new car and plenty of dealers who want to offer you credit. It’s not always easy to work out exactly how much finance is going to cost you. Before you agree to any car finance deal you should make sure you step back and work out the amount of interest you are going to pay – is it worth it or are you better buying a cheaper car or even waiting another 6 months so you don’t need so much credit?

There are some simple online tools that will help you calculate how much interest you will pay. You can compare different interest rates, loan periods and deposit values and see how it increases or decreases the total interest you will pay. This one is not affiliated with any car or loan company.

5) Is A Car Stolen?

One of the biggest concerns for second hand car buyers is buying a stolen vehicle.  It is actually frustratingly difficult for a private individual to check this. The police and DVLA do not provide a way for the general public to check a database of stolen vehicles. You don’t have any option other than to pay for a commercial service however you should compare a few online services as prices vary widely starting from only around £1.99.  Just search for “UK stolen car check” and scan a little way down the search results to find some of the cheaper options.