Three parking ticket on car windscreen in London
Credit: jansos/alamy

If your car has developed a fault, or for consumer advice, turn to Honest John by emailing honestadvice@telegraph.co.uk

Another fine mess

My wife parked in a car park she has used many times, behind a department store she wished to visit. The ticket machine was out of order or not in use. She walked into the store, told a member of staff, did her shopping and departed. She has now received a penalty charge for failing to pay for parking and failing to display a suitable ticket. Is there any way we can avoid having to pay the fine? PDG

三级成人视频There must be a means of appeal printed on the Parking Charge Notice. These are issued automatically by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems where a registration entering and leaving the car park does not match payment received. This is a fully automated system. She can appeal on the grounds that she could not pay because the machine was not working. The appeal system involves human beings. The law is Beavis v Parking Eye Supreme Court November 2015. Barry Beavis had challenged the right of Parking Eye to penalise him for an overstay in Riverside Car Park, Chelmsford, which allowed free parking for two hours. The Supreme Court ruling allows parking operators to create their own regulations and enforce them "reasonably", in the Beavis case with a penalty of £85. However, the Beavis ruling has been interpreted more widely by car park operators and many victims feel it has been abused. In March 2019, Sir Greg Knight’s Private Parking (Code of Practice) received Royal Assent. This will overrule the Supreme Court, but the actual code has not yet been published.

Current favourites

I am a company car driver wrestling with the decision of what to choose next. I currently have a Mercedes C-class 220d AMG Coupé, which I love. I do about 14,000 miles a year. I am considering the plug-in hybrid versions of the Volvo XC40 and Range Rover Evoque (when it arrives). My ideal choice would be a plug-in hybrid E-class coupé but I don’t know if this is in Mercedes plans. Do you have any other suggestions? SL

Your best bet is a pure electric car such as a Tesla Model 3, on which Benefit in Kind tax for the next few years is zero. Your company also benefits because annual VED is also zero - and even if the car costs more than £40,000, it escapes annual luxury tax for years two to six. Alternatively there are many new plug-ins coming from Germany, despite a planned UK government ban on all diesel, petrol and hybrid vehicles from 2032. The most amazing is the BMW X5 xDrive 45e PHEV, with 394bhp yet only 32g/km CO2 and a 51-mile electric-only range under the WLTP testing procedure. It qualifies for just six per cent BIK for company drivers from this month. Not to forget the G20 330e PHEV with 33g/km CO2 that initially comes in at  under £40,000. With a 36-mile EV range, it qualifies for 10 per cent BIK from April 2020. The Hybrid4 versions of the new Peugeot 508 and 3008, Citroën C5 Aircross and Vauxhall Grandland are rated lower than 30g/km CO2 and 36-mile range so 10 per cent BIK. And coming soon is the Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell that combines a hydrogen fuel cell with a plug-in battery. Combined CO2 emissions are zero. Combined hydrogen consumption in hybrid mode 0.34 kg/100km. Electrical consumption 13.7kWh/100km. 4.4kg of hydrogen gives a range of 478km (299 miles).

Two into one

My wife and I have “downsized” to one car. We traded in her Ford Fiesta 1.4 automatic, which she loved (but was too small for both of us plus dog), and my Mazda CX-5 for a new BMW 220i Active Tourer Sport automatic, which seems to have ticked all the boxes. But have we made a wise choice? IR

It's a bit late to be asking that question now... No reason why not, as long as you didn't specify large-diameter wheels with low-profile tyres. If it's on sensible wheels and tyres, it might be wise to switch to all-season rubber when the first set wears out. 

Two wrongs...

My 2013 Citroën DS3 THP was written off while parked. I expect to get very little from my insurer. I’m looking at changing to an automatic and am torn between a 2015 Alfa Mito Cloverleaf 170 and a 2013 Audi A1 1.4 122 s-tronic. I have about £10,000 to spend and want something stylish and reasonably quick. Any ideas? JH

三级成人视频The Mito's Dualogic automated manual gearbox can be troublesome - as can the DQ200 s-tronic in the Audi. Look for torque converter autos, such as Peugeot/Citroën’s EAT6 and EAT8. Or Mazda's six-speed unit. There was a DS3 1.2 Puretech EAT6 on sale in the UK in 2016.

Next question...

I was amazed that someone who drives only 3,000 miles a year is spending upwards of £50,000 on a new Jaguar F-type, according to a recent column. JMA

Why would you be amazed? The correspondent has earned the money and is entitled to spend it however they like. 

Outboard breaks

I have a 2017 MG ZS. All external door exterior are sticking. This appears to be fairly common. Any fixes? BB

Try WD40 behind the handles. If that doesn’t work, use the extension nozzle pushed between the window glass and seal to drive out any moisture in the locks from above.

Artist formerly known as

I am keen on a Citroën C4 Space Tourer. It is available with either a 1.2 petrol or a 1.6 diesel. My annual mileage is unlikely to exceed 6,000. Thoughts? WK

This was formerly called the Citroën C4 Picasso and, to avoid paying royalties to the Picasso family, has now been renamed. For your sort of use, the 1.2 Puretech 130 engine makes the most sense. 

Spider sense

My 2008 Alfa Romeo Spider has been a pleasure to own for 10 years. I plan to keep until it requires an outrageously expensive repair. What should I watch out for to ensure longevity? JO

Timing belt, tensioner, water pump and auxiliary belt every five years or 60,000 miles, fresh brake fluid every two years. It’s good to replace the coolant because its corrosion inhibitors will have degraded. It’s a very pretty car.

Open your mind

I am looking for a four-seat cabriolet for about £10,000 (back seats only for children). I have looked at Jaguar XK8/XKR and BMW 3-series. I like both. Do you have any advice on what to look for with these models, or any other suggestions? RG

三级成人视频There is likely to be more trouble with the Jag; definitely avoid the complexity of the XKR, and, of course, it has a canvas top rather than a folding hard top. A bit more prosaic, you might consider the stylish but mechanically ordinary Vauxhall Cascada.

Tee up Caddy

I’m trying to locate a pink Cadillac, registered CSK 640, that my partner’s father once owned. We are getting married and I’d love to surprise her with this as the car to take her to the wedding. All I know is that he owned it in Lancashire 24 years ago and it was then sold to the actor who played Reg Holdsworth in Coronation Street. Where should I start looking? NJ

三级成人视频It's taxed, it's on the road and it’s still pink. Last change of owner was February 2013. But that is all GDPR allows the DVLA to divulge - see . You could put out a few feelers through a suitable specialist car club, but it would still be up to the current owner to contact you if they so wished.

Central line

My son and his wife live and work in central London and use their car for nursery runs and other occasional journeys. They have three children under four and very little room for anything else. What would be a good, used six- or seven-seater with a ULEZ-compliant petrol engine and up to five years old? SB

A Toyota Prius Plus makes the most sense, but used prices are high because of the strong demand from private hire taxi drivers.

Lock mess

One of the key fobs for my 2013 Volvo V40 D2 has stopped locking/unlocking the doors. It still starts the car. I put in a new battery. Can it be reset or do I need to visit a Volvo dealer (my nearest is a 70-mile round trip)? JA

If you have a second fob that works, take it and the errant fob to a branch of Timpsons and see if they can reprogram the latter to work. If it still doesn’t function then you probably need a new key cut and new fob programmed, which Timpsons can also probably do.

Tooth decay

Does my 2015 VW Golf 1.4 TSI 150 GT with 17,500 miles have a chain- or belt-driven camshaft? If It has a belt, when do I have to renew it? RH

Belt. I recommend replacing the toothed belt, tensioner and auxiliary belt every five years or 60,000 miles. Not the water pump in this engine, because that is driven by a separate, non-toothed belt.

Son always rising?

I was astonished to read in a recent column of a reader getting a discount from an insurer when adding their overseas-based son to the policy. When I asked to have my son (an experienced driver, visiting from Brunei) added to my insurance, I was charged an extra £95. Why? JC

Different insurers have different attitudes. In some cases, adding extra drivers can reduce the underwriting risk.

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