Honest John: I was flashed by a speed camera on the M25 – how do I know whether I'll get a ticket?

Speed camera fines 'at £65m a year'...File photo dated 13/01/06 of a speed camera. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday July 9, 2010. Fixed penalty fines raised by speed camera partnership schemes have reached more than £65 million a year, according to figures today from the TaxPayers' Alliance and the Drivers' Alliance. See PA story TRANSPORT Cameras. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire 
If you think you've been flashed by a speed camera, how long does it take to get a speeding ticket in the post? Credit: Danny Lawson /PA

If your car has developed a fault, or for consumer advice, turn to Honest John by emailing [email protected]

Flash of regret

During the early hours I was driving on the M25 and think I may have been flashed by a variable speed limit camera. Can you advise me of the time frame for the issue of a possible fixed penalty notice please? JW 

If the car is registered to you it has to be sent to you within 14 days, so allow 16-17 days before breathing a sigh of relief.

Higher cars

I wondered if you might know which SUV/4WD vehicle has the highest driver’s seating position, taking into account the ground clearance and the maximum height to which the seat can be adjusted. CG

We don't record this measurement. I would have thought Range Rover, Land Rover Discovery, Ssangyong Rexton G4, Rolls Royce Cullinan, Bentley Bentayga. Though it doesn't 'feel particularly high, I'm finding I can see a lot further than other drivers over crests, etc. on undulating country roads from 'my' long-term Renault Koleos, and that's with the seat at its lowest. The new Mitsubishi Shogun Sport is also quite high. 

Incompatible

I own a 2017 LandRover Evoque SE Tech diesel automatic and today called at a BP filling station near to my home with a view to refuelling with high grade diesel. The filling station was equipped with multi fuel pumps but the one for the high grade diesel was not compatible with the filler on my vehicle so I had to refuel with normal grade diesel the filler of which was compatible. Why? JH 

I think that might have been the Super grade of petrol and the misfuel preventing device in your fuel filler prevented you from using it.

It’s all Rover now

We bought a new Rover 45 1.6 Impression Saloon on 18th September, 2001. This car has always been garaged and is in good condition, it has been serviced annually and I have its full history and MoT. My husband didn't like driving and the millage is only 38,021. Does this car have any value? I would be grateful for your opinion. JH

If it's in very good condition, yes. And there is a club: https://www.rover200.org.uk/ This caters for Rover 200s, 400s, 25s and 45s and will be the best place to find a buyer.

Department of Corrections

When changing my insurer via comparison site I managed to transpose the ‘9’ and ‘8’ of the model year when typing the online application form. To correct the year from 1998 to 1989 Swinton has charged me a £25 amendment fee. Isn't this a bit steep? Have I been ripped off just for having my fat fingers? CF

Time is money. Nothing is for nothing any more. Don't assume that what used to be free is still free. If you don't pay for that amendment to be made, who does?

Boxed in

Can you please advise my 18-year old grandson on buying his first car, cheapest way to insure and low road tax? WB

The cheapest way to insure is to go for a Telematics based ('black box') policy so that the insurer can keep an eye on his driving. Also put his parents on the insurance as named drivers. To get insurance at all, he will need to go for a non-performance car with an engine of less than 1.0 litre, such as a Toyota Aygo or basic Yaris.

Buggsy alone

I have recently bought a 2016 SEAT Alhambra TDI Ecomotive SE with 23,000 miles. When driving with the aircon on my wife complains of the air catching her throat and making her cough. No-one else complains. Can you offer any explanation please? ML

Bacteria growing on the condensation in the a/c trunking. The simplest way to evaporate the moisture and kill the bacteria is to turn the heating to max for 10-15 minutes and let the engine idle. Best to do this on your driveway where you can stand beside the car rather than cook yourself inside it.

80s cars

We are both in our 80s. My husband’s BMW has failed the MoT. And my Vauxhall Astra is 15 years old. We need an automatic that is easy to get in and out of with a roomy boot that will house a medium size dog. We travel all over England to keep in touch with the family. We are willing to consider a hybrid. Please can you help? AR

A Honda Jazz is a good start, especially the new Honda Jazz Sport 1.5iVTEC 130, manual or automatic. Extremely practical and versatile with a flat folding rear load deck. Or the earlier Jazz hybrid. Or the less versatileToyota Yaris hybrid.

“Few things in life…”

I was interested to read that the recent Warranty Direct report stated VWs were amongst the most reliable cars and there was a lack of Japanese and Korean cars in their top 10. This contradicts the large number of surveys I have read going back over 20 years and what I have heard form those in the motor industry. I would be interested on your thoughts on why this may be the case? AB

We can't make sense of this. Though WD's stats are supposed to be based on frequency and cost of warranty claims, this completely contradicts our findings that are simply based on complaints received. It also contradicts the latest JD Power customer satisfaction survey.

Unsprung wait

A friend bought a new Golf in London and found the ride seriously bad; very different from the test drive experience and previous Golfs he had owned. Would you believe, when he took it back to the selling dealer, they found that the blocks used in the coil springs during car transporter to the dealer had not been removed in the pre-delivery inspection. CS

We've received a couple of other reports of this in Golfs. Even ran it with a photo of the transport blocks. I had a previous report where a reader had run a BMW 3-Series for a year with transport blocks still in. He complained to us of a "stiff, uncomfortable ride". If "dealer preparation for sale" is included on the invoice, a victim could demand substantial compensation for fraud and "reckless endangerment".

Raised expectations

We had 10 years very good driving with your recommended Yaris Verso, but, with bills looming, changed to a Jazz. Very easy to drive, very economical but rather too low a seat, a harsh ride, very warm (even in ordinary weather) and rather noisy. We hired a Renault Captur in Spain and were impressed with the ride quality and noise level. Good seat height, too, like the Yaris. Tempted to change to that, but reviews said ride quality very poor? Any ideas very welcome. TW

If looking at crossovers, then take a test drive in a Peugeot 2008. That's better than a Captur and can be had with excellent 110HP and 130HP 1.2 Puretech engines. The 130 has a sloppy 5-speed and the 130 a nicer 6-speed gearbox. Go for 16-inch wheels with deeper profile tyres rather then 17-inch for better ride quality.

…with knobs on

I have recently broken my left wrist (I am right handed). I have a VW Golf automatic and wondered if I would be allowed to have a knob fitted on my steering wheel to enable me to drive? Does one have to take a test to drive in this way? JM

No reason why not. Try https://www.jeffgosling.co.uk/  You can probably have one mailed to you and fit it yourself.

Siixes and Sevens

Is the VW Caddy van fitted with the unreliable DQ200 7-speed dry clutch DSG transmission? RD

The Caddy 2.0TDI has the stronger, more reliable DQ250 6-speed wet clutch DSG. 

Braking bad

Almost every year when I take my Skoda Roomster 3 1.9TDi for service and MoT, the rear brake discs and pads and sometimes a cylinder have to be replaced. It has now done 140,000 miles and otherwise is in excellent condition. My garage manager tells me that it's a good idea to occasionally apply the handbrake (when safe to do so) as this will clean the rust off the inside of the discs. What do you think of this idea? I don't drive 'on the brakes' as when necessary I slow down in good time, to save fuel. ME

Skoda brake discs are notorious for this. If there is somewhere locally that you can freewheel reverse downhill, then apply the brakes that will clean surface rust off your rear discs. In normal use the rear brakes don't do much because 90% of a car's braking is at the front. 

Combination car

As we no longer need two vehicles, we are looking to combine the positive qualities of our two current cars: a Toyota RAV-4 and a Mercedes SLK 200 into one car. We would prefer a petrol automatic with enough space for two sets of golf clubs, and it must be fun to drive. Your suggestions would be much appreciated. PJ

You can't get two sets bags of golf clubs and trolleys into a Mercedes E-Class convertible, never mind a C-Class convertible. Nor into a Range Rover Evoque convertible. Maybe the answer is to forget the sunroof and go for the appropriately named VW Golf R DSG estate. Then you’ll get the trolleys in too.

If your car has developed a fault, or for consumer advice, turn to Honest John by emailing [email protected]

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