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Wednesday, 4 March 2015

How To Keep Your Car Seats Looking Brand New

Maintaining the interior of your car is just as important as keeping the outside looking shiny and new.

You spend most of your time inside of your car, so a comfortable, clean interior will definitely improve your driving experience. 

Car seats take a lot of punishment over the years but few people really take the time to keep them in good shape.  Here are a few tips that will help you to protect your seats from undue wear and tear.

Prevent Damage To Your Car

Seat covers come in a variety of textiles. A seat cover protects seating from spills and dirt. For those with young children, spilled drinks are difficult to avoid, consider seat covers that are moisture proof to prevent sticky spots that attract dirt and dust. Some people choose to only fit a cover to the driver’s seat since it is the one which takes the most wear but others prefer a more uniform look so will cover all the seats.
In rainy and snowy climates, floor mats will help you to protect your car from mud and dirt. Make sure you purchase mats that fit your car correctly, to make sure that they don’t slip and obstruct the pedals.

In addition to stopping your passengers from tracking in dirt and mud from the outside, there are other ways to protect your car from the elements. Always keep your windows rolled up if it is raining or snowing, even if it’s not cold, and use your Air-conditioning to demist the windows. Water marks can stain your interior permanently. In addition, UV rays from the sun can cause damage to interior plastics and textiles. On sunny days, use sunshields to reduce the amount of UV entering the car, and park in a shady spot where possible.
A car that sees heavy use will be more likely to show wear and tear.  If you store sharp objects in the car, they will eventually poke a hole through the upholstery. Store cargo in the boot to avoid damaging the seats, not to mention preventing heavy objects flying dangerously around the cabin in an accident. If you must carry cargo in the cabin for any reason, secure it as best you can with the seat belts and lay down a heavy blanket to protect the car.
Protecting Leather and Vinyl

Leather conditioners keep it supple over time. There are products that also contain agents to combat harmful UV rays which degrade leather. Exposure to sun eventually fades the colour of leathers, and it will also become worn with use. A car with a high quality leather interior will be able to withstand more wear and tear. Inevitably, leather will take on a worn patina as it ages and wears but there is a big difference between a pleasingly aged look and an interior which simply looks neglected.

Cleaning Your Car

If the manufacturer has specific instructions for treating the interior materials in your car, you should follow them carefully. Vacuum away dirt and debris regularly so it can’t be scratched or marked permanently into the seats, not forgetting carpets, underneath the front seats and other places that may be hard to reach while you’re at it. When cleaning plastics on seat mountings, seat belts and other parts of the car’s interior, you should use soft cloths and brushes with soft bristles.  Avoid introducing surface scratches by using quality cleaning supplies and regularly cleaning your cloths.
Whenever possible, you should clean with the fewest sprays and liquids possible. Avoid cleaners with harsh chemical agents, and choose products designed specifically for different parts of your car.  Household cleaners are far too harsh for the interior surfaces of your car. 

Hopefully these tips will help you to keep your car seats looking new for a long period of time!

Monday, 2 March 2015

Fuel Choices – Petrol vs. Diesel vs. LPG

The competition of Petrol vs. Diesel vs. LPG has had many people wondering which of these would cost them less in the long run.

There are many factors to be considered beyond just the price of the fuel. You also need to consider the residual values of Petrol vs. Diesel vs. LPG cars, the tax, insurance and servicing costs and your own personal driving needs.

Today, we try to clarify which fuel type is the right choice for you.


Petrol fuel has many advantages compared to its diesel counterpart, however it also has a few shortcomings too. In terms of cost effectiveness, petrol cars are traditionally cheaper to buy than diesel cars, making you a bulk saving when first purchasing. They are also cheaper to service than diesel cars giving you more of a long term saving.

Petrol fuel costs are also considerably lower than diesel too, making a saving each time you fill up. However, on the flip-side petrol fuel does not run as far per gallon as diesel cars do, meaning you will need to fill your tank more regularly.

The value of petrol cars do not retain as well as diesel cars should you wish to sell/exchange in the future and they also have higher car tax rates due to their higher emission band which brings the cost effectiveness of petrol cars down.


Diesel cars have been adapted to make them more efficient and environmentally friendly, however these adaptions have put the production costs up. This makes diesel cars more expensive to buy than petrol cars.

The cost of diesel fuel is also higher than petrol, by about 30p per gallon. This may make it appear that diesel is the more expensive fuel, however there is more to think about than simply the cost of the fuel. You also need to consider the efficiency of the fuel. While diesel fuel may cost more, your diesel car will run further per gallon of fuel than petrol cars. You may pay more to fill your tank but you’ll continue to run for about 25% longer than a petrol fuelled car.

Diesel cars also enjoy the benefit of lower road tax and insurance charges due to their lower emission bands which results in a long term saving. Diesel cars also retain their value more than petrol cars, meaning you will see more of your money back if you choose to sell or trade your diesel car in.

LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas)

LPG fuel is another option for car owners, especially those who are environmentally conscious. LPG fuel is marginally cheaper than diesel or petrol, costing just over half the price of them. This has excellent money saving potential in the long run.

LPG cars can also benefit from the Greener Vehicle Discount (GVD) for residents in London, meaning they pay substantially less for the London Surcharge. Although the fuel price will provide a great saving, the cost of converting a petrol car to LPG is very expensive, ranging between £1500 and £2500. It is cheaper to convert an older model car but you are then left with a less reliable car and the difficulty of sourcing outdated spare parts should you need them. In addition to this, the fuel economy is 20% - 25% lower than diesel and petrol cars, meaning you will need to fill your tank more regularly.   

Considering all of the factors deciding on whether you go petrol, diesel or LPG really does depend on your personal situation. Think about the length of your regular journeys, your geographical location and your plans for resale.

You need to decide exactly what is right for you, so feel free to perform a search of our different vehicles and petrol types to help aid your decision. You can also use this handy tool to calculate your annual fuel costs. 

Friday, 27 February 2015

Best Driving Apps

In the past 5-10 years, new technology has changed the world forever. Soon, there are going to be more mobile devices on the planet than people, each with dozens or even hundreds of apps. So it’s no wonder that they are changing the way we drive. 

Not only can you get navigation directions on your Smart Phone but you can access the latest traffic information and even find out how economical your driving is, through different apps.

But which driving apps in particular should you keep a look out for?  

Finding Your Way 

NavFree GPS UK & ROI

This free app offers navigation through audio and on-screen instructions, along with offline map access and live search from Microsoft Bing and Google. The maps are provided by – a free map wiki that’s updated by around 250,000 users.

Google Maps

This app comes with a Sat Nav option to help you navigate any journey.

Pinpointing Road Problems

RAC Traffic

RAC Traffic lets you see incidents, delays and roadworks across the UK on a Google Map. You can view a specific region or your current location and zoom in for more details of the incident.

Getting Help From An App

Green Flag Rescue Me

With this free app from rescue service Green Flag, not only will you be able to pinpoint your location, you can even access expert driving tips and set alerts that will notify when your tax and MOT is due.

Driving Economically

AA Eco Drive

According to the AA, this app is designed to measure how economically you drive your vehicle as opposed to how economical your vehicle is. Simply launch the app and select your vehicle, then place the phone securely on your dash and start driving to get a rating on just how economically you drive. The site states that: ‘this challenge-based app could help to improve your driving techniques and see you save an average of 10 to 20% on fuel bills.’

Keeping Your Car Healthy

Shell miGarage 

With this app, you can add details of your vehicle and equipment to keep track and remind you of everything that’s important. You can:

  • Save key vehicle and machine information such as make and model and vehicle registration.
  • Add vehicle reminders including servicing, oil change, tyre pressure, insurance and more.
  • Add machine reminders including oil checks, pressure checks, and more.
  • Access and edit your details from multiple devices.
Improving Insurance Rates

Intelligent Marmalade

Marmalade has launched its Intelligent Marmalade app that introduces drivers to the world of telematics, or ‘black box’, technology. With a telematics scheme your insurer will fit a tiny black box to your car that monitors driving habits. The box is hidden out of sight and tells your insurer how fast you go, where and when you’re on the move and how harshly you’re braking and cornering. This information can be used (if you drive well) to save hundreds on your insurance premium. 

The Intelligent Marmalade app, for example, is tailored for young drivers. It mimics the firm’s telematics offering and monitors all the things that will tell you how safe a driver you are, with the exception of speed, before delivering a score. This can act as a good guide as to whether you could be saving with a black box.

Keeping Expenses In Line 

My Cars

My Cars is designed to help drivers keep track of outgoings using various logging tools for your expenses. Helpful features include a fuel logger, efficiency program and maintenance recorder. 

There is also an option to manage costs including insurance, parking and petrol. The app is easy-to-use, and even allows you to set advanced reminders for servicing records and bills – which could mean the days of forgetting when your MOT is due could be over.

Which driving apps do you find most useful out on the road?  

You can also download our app by searching for Concept Vehicle Leasing in your App Store to stay up to date with the latest leasing deals and news

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Keep Up To Speed With These Motorway Tips

Despite them being, by far, the safest roads of Britain, motorway driving can be a terribly daunting, anxious and nerve-racking experience for many drivers. This is certainly the case for new drivers and those not used to long trips.

However, even experienced drivers would do well to take a read through these tips. Personally I’ve extended my journey by an hour or two, just to avoid them. Complacency with your driving skills can be just as dangerous, if not more so, than the most inexperienced of motorists.

Before Taking Your Car On The Motorway

Ahead of any long trip, and ideally as a regular part of car maintenance and upkeep, it is always sensible to check the basics in your car. 

You should monitor your oil, for example, as well as the brake fluid and clutch fluid. Other items to check include the windscreen washer fluid, particularly when travelling in the winter months, and the tyre pressure. Onboard diagnostics in modern cars may help alert you to issues but a personal check will never hurt.

Planning your journey ahead of setting off makes sense, even with a Sat Nav. That way, you will be able to plan your rest stops, which should ideally be at least 15 minutes every two hours, and help you know which junctions you will need to use during your journey. Packing a blanket, extra clothing, drinking water, food, and a comfortable pair of shoes is also sensible, in case of emergencies.

When You’re On The Road

Motorways are safe due to the general constant speed of traffic flow and nature of motorway structures. However, you should always ensure you remain alert and pay attention to the ‘two-second rule’.  This is simply keeping a steady two seconds behind the car in front to allow for a safe reaction time.

Only a fool breaks the 2 second rule.

Understanding the weather conditions is also important, and you need to adapt your travel plans, driving style and the time you give yourself according to this. For example, keeping a four-second distance between cars in front and behind is sensible in wet and slippery conditions, or as visibility deteriorates.

Another basic matter to be aware of when travelling on motorways is to control your speed appropriately to the conditions and traffic around. Too slow is just as dangerous as too fast. Other essentials include indicating before changing lanes, keeping left unless overtaking, being aware of traffic around you, checking your mirrors regularly and keeping all in-car distractions to a minimum.

Breaking Down On The Motorway

Having a problem with your car on the motorway is always frustrating and can be incredibly worrying. While maintaining your car adequately and performing the basic checks discussed above can minimise car failure, things can still go wrong. However, staying calm and not panicking is the order of the day.

As soon as you become aware of a problem with your car you should safely move over to the hard shoulder (as long as that is still in existence!) and stop as far over to the left as is possible and safe. You should then immediately put your hazard lights on to warn other road users and get out of the car, moving a reasonable distance away on the verge.

All across the motorways of Britain are emergency phones, which will automatically give your position to the relevant parties. If calling from your mobile, it is essential to give as complete details as to your location as possible, but your car recovery service, often available as part of car leasing or purchase packages, will help you through this.

You should then wait for the recovery vehicle to arrive.  However, should another vehicle approach and stop, you should return to your car and lock yourself in. If approached by another road user, you should inform them that stopping on the motorway, even to offer assistance, is illegal.

Monday, 23 February 2015

7 Bizarre Car Accessories

Our Top Picks of the Strangest Car Accessories available

Fries and Sauce Holder

We start with the fries and sauce holder. Now that is 100% a handy accessory to have!

The Fiat 500L, LavAzza Coffee Maker

This one is perfect for those mornings when you know making a coffee will make you late but you’d be dying without one. Now you can just brew one on your way!


A very handy accessory available in Rolls Royce, and also Skoda is an umbrella. Perfect! Count the amount of times you’ve needed that trusty item but have left it at home, never again!

Drinks Cabinet

When gun maker Holland & Holland collaborated with Range Rover they decided to insert a drinks cabinet into the boot. We are hoping this is for the passengers and not drivers of course!


If “Car-staches” or car eyelashes weren’t on the list then we would have been missing probably one of the most useless but most popular and hilarious car accessories on the market. They are undeniable a sign of great taste. 

Airless Tyres

Non-air tyres would be great. No more punctures! Could these be the way forward, and easily the handiest accessory on our list?

Novelty Exhaust Pipe

Last and probably least – the exhaust pipe tube made into whatever shape you want, from love hearts to Hello Kitty shapes. 

This one has got us wondering what is wrong with the standard round pipe?

Which, if any, accessories would you buy for your pride & joy?

Friday, 20 February 2015

What Does The Colour Of Your Car Say About You?

Whether it's Silver, Red or Blue, or Yellow, Orange or Lime Green, here we take a look at what your car colour says about you, and how it can affect safety and theft levels.

Psychology of colours

Colour psychology is said to play an important role in an individual’s choice of colour, and it can also be used to suggest an individual’s characteristics based on their choices.
While we can’t be sure whether people make personality judgements or predictions on others based on the colour of their car, we can speculate about your disposition, based on the colour of car you buy.

What does your car colour say about you?

Silver suggests that you’re cool, calm and confident on the road.

Blue is described as the colour of stability and safety, suggesting that if you choose this colour, you may be a cautious driver.

Having a black car can be construed as being intimidating to other road users. It is a dominant colour which connotes power, which could be the reason it is the most popular choice for luxury vehicles.

If you choose red, you are likely to have high energy levels due to your interest in promoting confidence and power into those around you.

If you have a grey car, you might be knowledgeable, have great self-reliance and are happy to go with the flow of life. If you have the grey car in the picture, you might be partial to a Martini, introduce yourself, last name first and have a super cool job.

White suggests that the driver values the need for organisation and holds a high respect for both themselves and their status.

If you choose yellow, it’s said that you are optimistic with a joyful disposition and more will to take risks. As a yellow car driver myself, I hope that’s the truth!

Car Safety

A recent study has shown that yellow cars have proven to be the safest, purely because they are more visible to other drivers. Whereas black, brown and green cars, are twice as likely to be involved in an accident resulting in serious injury, showing that there is a significant link between the number of crashes and the colour of a vehicle. In fact, a past article said that black cars are up to 47% more likely to be involved in a crash.

Car Colour & Theft

With silver being the most popular colour of car on our roads, it is also the most likely car colour to be stolen. This is partly due to there being more of these colours on the road, so they don’t attract as much attention, but also partly due to the resale value being higher, as quirky colours can be harder to sell.

How important is car colour to you?

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Is Your Battery As Flat As A Pancake?

With it being Shrove Tuesday yesterday and everyone tucking into their delicious pancakes, it got me thinking... Everyone loves flat pancakes… Flat batteries, however? Not so much. 

Here are 6 Easy Ways to keep your Car Battery juiced. 

Keep It Clean

Everything works better when clean, and that goes for car batteries as well. The terminals are a common spot for corrosion build-up, blocking the current from passing from the battery to the cables. You can scrape it away with a screwdriver or pliers, or call a professional if it looks serious.

Avoid Short Trips 

This is especially true for cold climates, where starting the car is already taxing on the battery. The less often you start the car, the less work the battery has to do, up to a certain point, it does need to run occasionally to hold a charge. So wrap several short errands into one longer trip, or take your bike or walk, if you’re up for it.

Wrap It Up

If there’s some extra room around the battery, consider installing an insulation blanket. The plastic sheet will keep the battery warm in the winter and cool in the summer, greatly extending its life. If you’re buying a new battery, think about going for a smaller size so you can fit the blanket around it- it will likely last longer than a larger battery with nothing protecting it.

Brush It Off 

You may not know it, but dirt on the casing of your battery can actually drain its power. It’s a simple fix; just use a damp rag to keep it squeaky clean!

Give It A Rest 

Going away for a few weeks, or giving up driving for a while? Try totally disconnecting the battery, so the little things don’t drain its energy. No one will be checking the car’s clock, anyway. Before trying this, make sure you know what you’re doing, though.

Heat It Up

If you find yourself with a dead battery and no choice but to jump start it, it’s still possible to reduce some of the stress the process puts on the battery. The warmer it is, the better. Put the car in neutral and push it into the sunlight, if you can, then leave it for an hour or so. The increased temperature will make the jump start go much more smoothly.

Hopefully with these tips you will ensure your battery leads a long and happy life.

Do you have any tips of your own to add?

Monday, 16 February 2015

The Ideal First Car For You

Looking for the ideal first car for you? Well, we have come up with a list of cars that may take your interest.

Volkswagen Up

First on the list we have the Volkswagen Up a great compact car, full of charisma and potential. Viewed from the front, the Up appears to smile, due to the lines of the bumper, giving it an unmistakeable look on the road. It features DRL Daytime Running Lights, 14in Steel wheels and body coloured bumpers. Inside the car it is equipped with a DAB Radio and Cd player, to make those long journeys a bit more bearable. 

As well as the entertainment there is plenty of storage space, ample room for 4 adults, despite it being one of the smallest 4-seater cars on the market, and a stylish interior. It has a relatively large boot space for a city car, with a few practical storage compartments, as well as split folding rear seats to increase storage capability. The VW emits just 105 g/km of CO2 and can achieve over 62 MPG, making it extremely economical.

The Volkswagen Up 1.0 Take Up 3-Door Hatchback is available to lease from just £102.99 + VAT p/m

Ford Fiesta

Next up we have the Ford Fiesta, a great looking car that’s exceptionally fun to drive. Achieving over 54 MPG driving down Road Tax costs to just £30 a year. It is well equipped with Air conditioning, a Cd player, Mp3/ iPod connectivity and a special safety feature called MyKey.

MyKey is a new feature, which enables parents, in particular, to encourage safer driving and limits exposure to risks when behind the wheel. The system allows drivers to configure maximum speed and audio volume limits, when these are exceeded, a warning is sounded. It also mutes the car stereo until seatbelts are fastened. Ford’s new technology coupled with the vehicle’s 5 star NCAP rating, make this Fiesta remarkably safe, whilst still great fun to drive.

The exterior is sleek and stylish, with bumpers, the rear spoiler and wing mirrors all finished in body colour. Standard spec includes DRL Daytime Running Lights and Privacy glass

Lease the Ford Fiesta Hatchback 1.25 Style 3-Door Hatchback for only £138.99 + VAT p/m

Toyota Aygo

The Toyota Aygo really is a head turner in terms of looks. Toyota really had the younger generation in mind when designing this sporty looking car. The main aims being to attract the younger customer, and to bring more emotion and playfulness to the brand. New exterior colours are introduced every year, ensuring the Aygo remains fresh faced and current.

One of the New Aygo’s more noticeable changes is the new ‘X’ design which makes the vehicle instantly recognisable and therefore, more desirable. Like many cars available today, such as the Vauxhall Adam and Citroen’s DS3, the Toyota allows a wide variety of customisations allowing the driver to create an Aygo to suit their personality.

The Toyota Aygo 1.0 VVT-i X 3-Door Hatchback for only £119.49 + VAT p/m

Standard spec includes a Cd/Mp3 player, USB Connector and a Rear spoiler. This little 1.0L Hatch can achieve an impressive 68.9 MPG!

The Volkswagen Polo S really is one of the most luxurious super minis on the market, it’s just like a Golf but smaller and more compact. While it’s small on the outside it is very spacious with loads of little cubby holes for all your needs and a sleek premium interior. Standard features include Electric windows, Central locking, Bluetooth, DAB Digital radio, Cd player and USB Connector.

Volkswagen Polo 1.0 S 3-Door Hatchback is available to lease from just £145.49 + VAT p/m

Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 1.2 Lounge is a compact retro looking car which can achieve over 58 miles per gallon and emits just 113 g/km of CO2. The stylish hatchback comes with a Panoramic Glass sunroof, Fiat Blue&Me Bluetooth, Air-conditioning, Electric windows/heated mirrors, Dualdrive Power steering, ISOFIX Child seat preparation, Cd/Mp3 player, USB Connector, Split folding rear seats, Body coloured Wing mirrors and Bumpers and 15in Fiat alloys.

The Fiat 500 1.2 Lounge Start Stop 3-Door is available to lease from just £165.99 + VAT p/m

Vauxhall Adam

Released in 2013, the quirky hatchback named after Vauxhall’s founder, Adam Opel, is a great, fun car to drive. The Adam is available in an abundance of different colour combinations, making it extremely unique. With over a million different specification and trim combinations, the hatchback introduces unprecedented levels of personalisation, giving every customer the chance to create a truly bespoke Adam, reflecting their individual style and personality. 

The Vauxhall Adam is also very economical, achieving over 53 MPG and emitting just 124 g/km of CO2. Standard Spec includes Bluetooth, Air-conditioning, Climate control, Cruise control, Speed limiter, Cd player, USB Connector, Multi function Leather Steering wheel, Sports suspension and 16in Vauxhall alloys. The spacious interior can fit 4 people comfortably, has ample boot space and Split folding rear seats.

Lease the Vauxhall Adam 1.2 Jam Urban Pack 3-Door from just £150.99 + VAT p/m

Which vehicle is your favourite?

Friday, 13 February 2015

Georgie's First Step on The Road To Rio 2016 - Blog Post from Georgie

New Car

Concept team

I am very excited to announce that Concept Vehicle Leasing and Surrey Independent Insurance have supplied me with a brand new BMW 1-series and will be supporting me on my journey towards the Rio Olympics in 2016.

I feel very lucky to have been provided with such a great car and it’s essential I can get to training and matches with ease and reliability (and style always helps!).

As a player at Surbiton Hockey Club it’s brilliant having the local companies experiencing the Olympic journey alongside me and supporting their local athletes. I look forward to getting to know Concept Vehicle Leasing and Surrey Independent Insurance.

Concept have created which I will be keeping up to date with blogs/videos/photos to ensure everyone feels a part of my Olympic journey, particularly those in the local community.

Surrey Independent Advisers – Established for over 20 years, Surrey Independent Advisers Ltd is an insurance intermediary with a wealth of knowledge and expertise, and a reputation for service excellence.  With a full range of commercial and personal insurance services available, clients are assured of the best possible insurance solution.


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