Parallel Vs Grey car imports

Importing a vehicle

Parallel import v's Grey import

Which do I choose - Well there are two import types and it is important to know which is which :
 
There are many cool cars on films like the District 13, Fast and Furious & Taxi and its not the easiest finding a car that fits all your looking for in the UK e.g. Limited edition RX7 with Veilside kit, 18 inch Enkei splits & a stand alone fuel injection with integrated NOS.
 
 
Parallel - Car available in the UK as well as overseas. Importing a vehicle saves searching and its not that hard, the first thing we recommend is to look at the different markets.
 
Grey car imports (Gray) - Car available only outside the UK e.g. Mazda Efini.]
 
The Japanese car market does tend to offer slightly different cars to the US import market, or even the Dutch or German cars, who really like there Euro style cars such as the Golf, or you could even import a brand new car from Europe.
 
Grey car Imports (Non-EU)
 
By far the most popular place for import cars is Japan, therefore many dealers offer a specialist import service or at the least can import via another method. 
 
What are the benefits of buying a Jap Grey import? Well there are usually alot of reasons including:
 
Jap specs are often higher than a UK equivalent similar to back in the late 80's if you had a German Ford it was more refined than its UK equivalent e.g. brown tints, better build quality etc
Getting hold of a rarer car never manufactured in the UK
on a UK waiting list UK
cheaper than a UK equivalent (usually the case)
Parallel car imports (UK Available)
 
The main reason to import a parallel import is to save money however cars from other countries offer different refinements such as coloured tinted glass or wheels.

A few tips when importing a car

Not all Jap imports are true Grey imports many masquerade as something they're not, and arn't always the easiest to spot, if in doubt DON'T BUY or get the alledged Jap import checked.
Always check all hidden extra costs you'll incur e.g. VAT, shipping & transit plates. This gives you an idea whether it's still worth importing a car.
It is illegal to have a imported car on a UK road until the vehicle is fully licensed and registered.
Always make sure the cost of importing saves you a fair chunk of money, in relation to buying in the UK.
 
 
 
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Buying a used car

Buying a used car

 
Need a used car, a New cars well new to you or interested in a specific model?. This car guide outlines what to look for when buying a used car, trouble shooting if you will, it details points including excessive smoking to panels being out of alignment. You'll learn what to look for when choosing a car including tips on trouble spots, getting a used car bargain can be a problem, and forget the nightmare stories that surface when people have bought or nearly bought a used car.
 
Well our guide goes some way in advising where and what to do, and gives you some tips - starting with:-
 
What model to choose?
How much should I pay?
Problem areas?
Buy private or from a garage?
Are they trying to rip me off?
 
The list is endless, well this guide points out some things to look out for when buying a used car.

The chassis / body

Always check the panels are aligned, this is relatively simple to do, stand at one side of the car and line up a point say the front wing and follow the line down the car, if its relatively straight its good. Also check the gap between the doors and the panels on either side of the car make sure the gap is more or less the same. Its a good idea to check the sills for holes too. Rotten sill's will fail a cars MOT.

Engine smoke

Always start a used car and give it a rev, then step out of the car and check the colour of the emissions, generally blue smoke indicates burning oil or possibly overfilled with oil, excessive grey smoke indicates heavy engine wear, possibility of engine seizure. Steam rather than smoke, after the engine has been run after approximately 5 minutes indicates generally a problem with the head gasket. A vehicle with a damaged head isn't always noticable, in some cases the car will run perfectly other times, the auto won't run at all.

Engine bay check

Be sure to open the bonnet when looking at a used car, the amount of people who don't do this is staggering.
 
Look over the engine for any excessive oil, burn marks, wet areas, fluidy areas. e.g. coroded brake hoses etc

Checking for a ruptured head gasket

Remove the water cap, check the colour and the viscousness of the liquid inside the header tank or radiator.
 
If the water is gunky and creamy, this symbolises the head gasket has gone, do not start the car (on some occasions this symptom also occurs on cars with oil coolers that have leaked into the cooling system e.g. Golf GTI)
 
If the water is either water or coolant coloured (Green or Blue), Start the engine.
 
Then look into the tank for bubbles (this is safe as the water in radiator / tank will no longer be pressurised, if bubbles rise from the bottom in a steady stream, this generally indicates the head gasket has gone.
 
The oil in the sump may or may not have congealed with the water, dependant on what stage the damage is at.
 
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Alfa 8C Competizione

 

Alfa 8C Competizione

The history

This exclusive Alfa supercar was a Gran Turismo limited edition car showcased in Paris.
 
This typical yet different Italian supercar was designed exclusively by Alfa Romeo, this car was the realisation of a similar concept car at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show star attraction. This auto genius mixes industrial, technical design expertise and knowledge from the Alfa Maserati Centre.
 
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Alfa Romeo History

The Alfa Romeo Timeline

The company started in France with Alexandre Darracq who started a car manufacturing company in Portello, Milan which made single & two cylinder engines with car parts imported from Paris, France. Despite Alexandre best efforts and aspirations he didn't make it. In 1909 Darracq sold his Milan based auto factory to an Italian man.

Just after the buyout, Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili or ALFA emerged in the Italian market place. In 1915 Nicola Romeo a skilled automotive engineer bought the factory, Alfa was now known as "ALFA ROMEO-MILANO".

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Driving tips & advice

Driving tips & advice

Winter Driving advice - Snow and Ice
 
As the UK comes to a stand-still due to snow, here is some advice for snow driving which should keep your car on the road under control.
 

Quick snow driving tips

When ever possible drive in 2nd gear or higher.
When skidding never brake, steer into the skid.
 
Check the latest weather reports - Check the MET forecast for more snow that may affect you, also do research into your route and check primarily if you can get to your destination with the current weather conditions.
 
Keep your Petrol tank full - In adverse weather especially snow you may be required to change routes, halt your journey or even turn back.
 
Store a breakdown kit in your car - When braving Britain's roads in Winter it's always a good idea to carry a few essential items including Torch, Blanket, Bulb Kit, Fuses, Chocolate, Water and the most important a Mobile Phone. Breakdown membership is also a good idea ideally with roadside assistance and recovery.
 
Keep your wits about you - A snow covered road isn't such a problem however a frozen snow covered road or black ice under the snow, makes for treacherous driving conditions. Where ever possible travel on gritted or salted roads, if this isn't possible have your route planned and drive within your limits, drive in 2nd or 3rd gear, the higher the better this aids traction. When driving up hill never slowdown or stop unless you are forced to, losing momentum on a snowy road can stop you dead in your tracks and you will have to reverse or leave your car. When going down a snow covered hill ideally use 1st gear this enables your car to use engine braking rather than locking the wheels and possibly skidding.
 
Recovering from a skid - If your car starts to skid you should never brake, no matter how tempting it is. When you start to lose control and skid, decelerate the best you can and steer the vehicle into the skid till the car regains grip. 
 
Always watch out for hidden ice known as Black Ice, this is a type of ice extremely slippy and almost invisible, your more likely to hit it before you see it, if you do hit Black Ice, stay calm and follow the instructions above.
 
Stuck in snow - The best way to get out of beging stranded insnow, is to not get stuck in the first place. In some cases this will be completely unavoidable, when you have started your engine avoid excessively revving your car when in gear this will dig you deeper and deeper into the snow instead remove most of the snow and ice with either a spade or your hands then try and find something that your car can gain traction from, ideally a piece of wood, carpet or gravel etc, place this behind or infront the wheels which drive the car and slowly drive forwards or backwards till you get traction.
 
Driving in snow isn't rocket science just be careful, don't speed and keep your eye on the road and also watch out for snow ploughs and gritters they don't seem to be affected and try and have fun, lets face it it's rare that the UK gets snow.
 
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Latest Car Videos

Take a look at some of the coolest car videos and check out below our featured video 'How to pull out with style' other car videos featured is a 1013 bhp Mk2 Golf and many more...

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Child Seat Law

Child seat law changes new legislation

No doubt you have seen the new changes with Child seat law, but how much do you really know?
 
What exactly does this entail?, and how will affect my driver and children? - read on to find out
 
The Law is about to change regarding Child seats, the biggest change in driving laws for over 20 years. This is being enforced from the 18th September 2006 - The hope is that it will save up to 2000 Children's lives a year.
 
Be one step ahead with the new seating laws, or you could face a fine upto £500 or a £30 on the spot fine. The new child restraint laws come in on Monday under a new European Directive.
 
All children travelling in a vehicle under the age of 12 will have to use some form of child car seat, unless they exceed 135cm (4ft 5in) tall.
However, this has not been documented enough, and people are awakening to find that they are obliged to purchase new car seats or booster cushions for their kids. The biggest problem is to get a child who is used to travelling without one, to start using them again.
What are the new guide lines?
 
I expect police to use common sense, not put out major dragnets... but to appear at the school gates from time to time to give people advice.
 
Stephen Ladyman - Road Safety Minister
 
Any child under 135cm (4ft 5in) tall, unless have had their 12th birthday must use a child seat or restraint appropriate for the child's weight.

Which type of seat should I use?

We recommend you weigh your child and consult the folowing guide their are many online shops selling a range of child seats, child restraints and child booster seats to suit the recent child seat law.
 
 
*
The Child seat law is as follows :
up to 13kg (2st 1lb) - a rear-facing baby seat
9kg to 18kg (1st 6lb - 2st 12lb) - a forward-facing child seat
15kg to 25kg (2st 5lb - 3st 13lb) - a booster seat
22kg (3st 6lb) or over - modern booster, booster cushion, or seat designed for larger children
Booster seats
 
A booster seat is similar to a booster cushion, however it has a back, and also sometimes has a level of protection for a child's head, giving support in a side impact situation.
The government strongly suggests that you try the seats before you buy them, as it is imperative that the Child seat fits perfectly in your car.
 
Are any children not affected by the new Child seat laws?
 
Any children over 12 yrs old or taller than 135cm tall, may use adult seat belts. The Department for Transport still recommend children should continue to use booster seats or cushions until they are taller than 150cm (4ft 11in).
 
How do the new laws affect the existing child restraint laws?
 
Until now children aged 3 to 11 have been obliged to sit in child seats or use an appropriate seat or cushion. The Law states now 'There is no exception - all children have to use a Child Seat or restraints including boosters.
 
Children aged 12 and not taller than 135cm, cannot travel in the front without a child seat or cushion, there are no exceptions.
 
Children less than three yrs old cannot travel without a child seat, regardless of front or back passengers, with the exception in the rear of a taxi
It is now illegal to use a rear-facing baby seat in a front seat fitted with an airbag
Whats the flexibility with the new law, is there any?
 
Yes
 
There are two cases where a child aged between 3 and 12 years old may travel in the rear of a car using not more than one adult seat belt:
 
The occasional short journey made for specific reasons: Unexpected necessity (not regular school runs, however the odd exception is fine example mother delayed at work)
 
Two children already using restraints in the rear seat, therefore leaving no room for a third. (In this case it would often be safer for the child to travel in the front using a booster seat.
Taxi Law concerning child seats
 
 
Children less than 3 yrs old may travel in the rear of taxi cars without an additional child seat or booster cushion, as stated above:-
 
In older cars fitted with no rear seat belts - children aged between 3 and 12 may travel in the rear seat, the Department for Transport disapproves and states this is not safe for children.
 
All Emergency vehicles - ambulances & police cars, are exempt from all child seat laws.
 
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