It goes without saying that driving a car is an expensive thing to do. That statement is sadly true. It is however worth remembering that you only live once. There is often great debate on how to save money with so many people claiming different things. One of the things that can be assured is that if you live in London, you face higher prices for everything. Whether it’s the proximity to the centre of our government, the Queen or just a prestigious and historic city is, again, up for debate but not the focus of this article.
Motoring in London is a difficult experience to say the least. With so many people (8.3 million) sharing the city, traffic congestion is so intense that citizens have been dealing with the London congestion charge. Basically, if you’re driving in a marked congestion zone between 7am and 6pm, you pay £11.50 per day. Whilst this has improved the rate of congestion slightly, there are still a lot of people who need to move around the city for day to day things.
Hackney carriages, or black cabs, are a big help for this. The drivers have to pass a gruelling test called ‘The Knowledge’ that requires them to learn the quickest routes and choose them instantly (without using any reference materials) as well as knowledge of the city’s landmarks (from restaurants to embassies). The test requires three years of preparation and as many as twelve attempts before being able to pass it and gain a hackney cab license. In research performed at Oxford University, hackney cab drivers were found to have larger sized hippocampus’s (memory centres) as their knowledge needs to be thorough and detailed.
This is a good practice but it’s not much help if you don’t want to spend your income on them. For those of you who want to be able to drive in the city, you still face other problems. Getting a car after you pass your L test isn’t much of an issue. Trying to keep the car maintained is sadly harder to do. With so many people living in the capital, the trade of Q-plate cars is a much higher than other places in the country.
Q Plate Cars?
A Q plate car is either stolen or composed of components from other cars. This means it’s harder to trace the vehicles origin, which you wouldn’t like for getting cheaper insurance. Whilst Q cars are not technically illegal (as kit cars count as Q plate vehicles), they can be much more difficult to get serviced or MOT tested. This is because the mix of parts from other cars (or if it’s stolen) makes it harder for a mechanic to find the right parts for the car as it’s not a factory standard vehicle. However, if you use a site that provides a good car servicing cost comparison, you might find it easier to get it fixed. Remember though, if you own a Q plate car, it’s not your best bet for driving.
Good Quality Mechanics
There’s a saying that if you don’t want to work a day in your life, you should do something you love. It makes sense after all because if you enjoy it then the work doesn’t annoy you. So there are indeed a large number of mechanics available anywhere throughout the city. What that statement doesn’t include is how flexible ethics can be. It doesn’t matter if your mechanic enjoys his work if they don’t think twice about giving you a terrible deal.
In the worst case, you can accidentally take your car to a ‘chop shop’. Stolen cars get taken here, stripped of their parts and then sold on. This is basically car laundering. If an honest citizen inadvertently takes their car to a chop shop, parts can be taken without their knowledge. If the same person then ends up in a collision, a scavenged seatbelt may not tighten under pressure for instance, making a fatality a dangerous possibility.
There are other cases where a mechanic can tell you there’s a faulty component that needs fixing, banking on the fact your knowledge about cars is less than their own. Thus you believe it and pay for something that didn’t even need replacing. This can happen a lot as the mechanics industry is not regulated as well as it could be. Even so, this doesn’t mean that every mechanic is out to steal your cars components or just give you a bad deal. Good people are plentiful. A London car service is indeed hard to get right but trust the general public. Follow the link to this car comparison site and you’ll be able to get top consumer rated mechanics near to you.