From Vignette to tyres, how to prepare your Audi A4 for a journey in Austria

When planning a journey by Audi A4 on the picturesque roads of Austria, it is necessary to carefully prepare not only for the route, but also for the requirements of the Austrian road rules. One of the obligatory conditions is a vignette, without which travelling on motorways can result in heavy fines. In addition to legal preparation, it is important not to forget about the technical condition of the car: checking the clutch, brakes, tyres and lights will not only prevent possible breakdowns, but also ensure safety on the road. This article will guide you through the steps to prepare your Audi A4 for your Austrian adventure.

Technical Preparation of the vehicle

Before setting off on a road trip in Austria in your AUDI A4, it’s vital to make sure all the key systems of the car are in good working order. Start by checking the clutch, the AUDI A4 clutch kit should be replaced at the first sign of wear, such as difficulty shifting gears or squeaks and jerks. This will ensure smooth gear changes and improve the overall performance of the car. You should also thoroughly inspect the brake system, including brake pads and discs. Make sure there are no brake fluid leaks and that the brakes respond adequately without delay.

Tyres are one of the most critical safety features on the AUDI A4. Check that the tyres are not worn and that they are at the recommended pressure. Incorrect pressure not only reduces the car’s handling and increases fuel consumption, but also increases the risk of accidents when travelling at high speeds. The lighting should also be in good order: all headlights, including front and rear lights, should be clean and bright. Check that lights are working smoothly to ensure good visibility at night and in bad weather. These checks will not only help you avoid fines for technical offences on the road, but will also significantly improve your safety on the road in your AUDI A4.

Purchase and Types of Vignettes

A vignette is a compulsory payment for using motorways in Austria. This sticker must be affixed to the inside of the windscreen and its presence is monitored on the roads by the traffic authorities. Vignettes can be purchased at post offices, fuel stations and tobacco kiosks. It is important to choose the right type of vignette depending on the length of stay and frequency of travelling to avoid unexpected expenses and fines for its absence.

Purchasing a vignette is the first step towards travelling legally on Austria’s toll roads. Vignettes can be purchased not only at physical points of sale, but also online, which is particularly convenient for foreign travellers. The vignette can be paid for with a credit card or cash. It is important for users to keep a receipt, which may be required in case of possible customer service calls or legal issues related to the use of the vignette.

Vignette prices in Austria are differentiated: a short-term vignette for 10 days costs around €9.40, a two-month vignette costs around €27.80 and an annual vignette costs €92.50. When planning a trip, it is worth taking these costs into account to avoid penalties for not having a vignette and to optimise your costs by choosing the most suitable option depending on the duration and frequency of travel.

Correct Use of Vignettes

The correct attachment of the vignette to the windscreen is a critical aspect that affects the legality of your passage on toll roads. The vignette should be placed on the inside of the glass in an easily accessible and highly visible location. Incorrect fixing can result in a fine, as visual inspection of the vignette is the main method of control on the roads.

If a vignette is damaged or lost, a new one must be purchased immediately. A damaged vignette is not allowed to be used as it cannot be properly checked by road authorities. The vignette must be replaced in accordance with the rules of purchase to avoid penalties for driving without a valid vignette.

It is forbidden to stick the vignette on another vehicle. The vignette is registered to a specific car and its licence plate number. In case of a change of vehicle, a new vignette must be purchased. This rule helps to avoid abuse and ensures fair use of the road infrastructure.

To check whether a vignette is valid, you can use the official website of the Austrian Road Administration. The website has a function for entering the vignette code, which allows you to verify that the vignette is valid and legitimate. This is important for confirming the legality of toll roads and avoiding fines for using an invalid or falsified vignette.

Driving on Austrian motorways without a vignette is punishable by substantial fines, which can range from €300 to €3,000. The fines are set to enforce traffic regulations and maintain the infrastructure of the roads. To avoid fines, it is necessary to purchase a vignette in advance and correctly place it on the windscreen of your car, as well as to keep track of its expiry date.

When preparing for a journey in Austria with an Audi A4, it is important not only to ensure that you have all the necessary documents and vignettes, but also to thoroughly check the technical condition of the vehicle. Preparing for a journey should be comprehensive, including legal and technical aspects. This approach will not only reduce the risks on the roads, but will also help to avoid unforeseen repair costs and fines. Following these simple recommendations will allow you to fully enjoy your journey, exploring the beauty of Austria in comfort and safety.

Source:

https://club.autodoc.co.uk/magazin/vignette-austria-vignette-and-toll-prices

https://www.austria.info/en/service-and-facts/getting-there-around/by-car/vignette

What’s Behind the Big Deprecation of Second-Hand Electric Cars?

Over the last few years, electric vehicles (EVs) have become something everyone is more aware of, and there are plenty of reasons why someone might choose to buy one over and above a traditional petrol or diesel vehicle. For one thing, they promise reduced emissions, they have lower operating costs, and they’re a good way to become more sustainable, which is great for the environment.

However, although all that is true, and although EVs are gaining in popularity, there’s another noticeable trend; the big depreciation of second-hand electric cars. This phenomenon has left many potential buyers scratching their heads in confusion, wondering exactly what’s driving this reduction in value, so with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the contributing factors.

One of the biggest reasons why there’s a big depreciation in the value of second-hand electric cars is quite simply the fact that technology is moving on quickly, and what was once a state-of-the-art electric vehicle is actually not all that great by the time the owner comes to sell it on. Newer models often come with enhanced battery technology, longer ranges, and generally improved performance compared to older EVs, and as a result, those older cars can quickly become outdated in terms of technology, making them much less desirable in the eyes of potential buyers.

On top of that, advancements in the way cars can be charged and software updates can also help explain the depreciation of older electric cars. Buyers are often willing to pay a premium for the latest features and conveniences, and that leaves older models at a big disadvantage when it comes to resale.

When you think about it, the battery is one of the most important parts of an electric car, and how it works (and how well it works) will directly impact the vehicle’s performance and range. As time goes on, lithium-ion batteries degrade, and that means reduced capacity and range – it’s called battery degradation, and you might have noticed it happening on your smartphone, for example. However, while you can easily upgrade your phone, upgrading a car is more expensive and time-consuming, and you’ll want to make good choices – that’s why second hand EVs are less desirable (why would someone who’s battery is degrading opt to be a car with an older battery?).

In other words, buyers might not want to buy a car if they’ve got concerns about how much life the battery has left or how well it will perform for them – the perceived risks mean that second-hand EVs drastically lose value, with many people opting for newer versions so they can be sure of the battery life.

Unlike traditional vehicles, the resale market for used electric vehicles compared to their gasoline-powered counterparts is much smaller, and as a result, there’s limited demand for second-hand electric vehicles. It’s clear that if there’s no demand, the price is going to tumble, and that’s precisely what’s happening.

There are plenty of factors that go into why people might not be convinced by electric vehicles just yet, despite the positives that come with them. For one thing, the battery and range issue is always going to be a question mark – where is the car going to be charged? How much will it cost? Plus, since standard cars are a lot less expensive and easy to buy, many people choose to save their money and, after a free car reg check to make sure all is in order, they’ll stick to what they’re used to and what they understand – yes, it might be worse for the planet, but if it’s better for the wallet and for peace of mind, that’s often going to win out.

Government initiatives and incentives are fantastic when it comes to EVs – they give people plenty of information, and they offer price reductions to ensure those who are on the fence make a decision in favour of the electric car.

That all sounds wonderful, but these schemes have their downsides too. Because they’re targeted towards new vehicles, it means that older second-hand electric cars won’t even be considered. After all, if the government is offering you money off a brand-new EV, why would you choose a second-hand one? Since there’s no government support for second-hand electric cars, it’s obvious that their value is going to seriously depreciate.

Perception and awareness also play a crucial role in the depreciation of second-hand electric cars. Although there are environmental benefits and plenty of cost savings associated with EVs, some people might still have reservations about buying one. It could be about using the new technology, where the charging stations are, how safe electric vehicles are, and so on. They’d rather wait until they become more mainstream and the waters have been thoroughly tested.

Should You Choose A Long Or Short-Term Car Lease?

Car leasing provides access to a vehicle without the cost or commitment of an outright purchase. Choosing between a long-term and short-term car lease is a significant decision that depends on your needs, financial situation, and lifestyle preferences. This article identifies the fundamental differences between these two leasing options to help you decide.

When considering car leasing options, individuals typically weigh the advantages of long-term versus short-term arrangements. A short-term car lease, like those offered by Flexxilease, refers to a leasing agreement for a vehicle that lasts for a relatively brief period, usually ranging from a few months to a year. This provides greater flexibility and allows lessees to readily adapt to their changing needs.

Long-term car leases, spanning 2 to 5 years, often require a thorough credit check and entail lower monthly payments than short-term leases.

Whether you opt for a long-term commitment with lower costs or embrace the adaptability of short-term leases, you can find a suitable arrangement tailored to your preferences and lifestyles.

What are the benefits of using a short-term lease?

  • Flexibility: Perfect for temporary needs like business trips or short-term projects, providing a vehicle when required temporarily.
  • Low commitment: Unlike lengthy traditional leases, 3-month leasing offers a shorter commitment, allowing lessees the freedom to change vehicles more frequently.
  • Cost-efficiency: Monthly payments for short-term leases are often lower than long-term ones, making it an economical choice for brief car needs.
  • Maintenance: Many 3-month lease agreements include maintenance and servicing, easing lessees from upkeep responsibilities.

What scenarios should you choose a short-term lease?

Here are some examples of where to use a short-term car lease:

  • Waiting for a new car to be delivered: If you have ordered a new one but will not be delivered for a few months, you can lease one.
  • Temporary job assignment: If you have a temporary job assignment in a different city, a short-term car lease can provide you with transportation without needing a car.
  • Travelling for work: If you are travelling for work and need a car for a few weeks or months, a short-term car lease can be convenient and cost-effective.
  • Seasonal work: If you work in a seasonal industry, such as tourism or agriculture, a short-term car lease can provide you with a vehicle during your busy season.
  • Test-driving a car before buying: If you are considering purchasing a vehicle but want to test-drive it for a few months before making a decision, a short-term car lease can be a good option.

What are the advantages of using a long-term lease?

  • Stability: Long-term leases provide stability and predictability in monthly payments when compared to the possible changes that come with shorter-term leases, making budgeting easier.
  • Lower monthly payments: Monthly payments for long-term leases are typically lower than those for shorter-term leases, as the cost is spread out over a longer period.
  • Warranty coverage: Leasing a car for an extended period often means the vehicle remains under warranty for the lease, minimising the risk of unexpected repair costs.

What scenarios should you choose a long-term lease?

Here are some examples of where to use a long-term car lease:

  • You need a car for over a year but don’t want to buy one.
  • You want to drive a new car without worrying about maintenance or repairs.
  • You want to be able to switch cars every few years without having to go through the hassle of selling or trading in your old car.
  • You have a poor credit score and do not qualify for a traditional car loan.

Leasing a car can be a good option if you need a car for an extended period but don’t want to deal with the hassles and costs of ownership.

Are monthly payments different for short or long-term car leases?

Yes, the length of a lease contract can affect the monthly payments. In most cases, the shorter the lease term, the higher the monthly payments. This is because the leasing company spreads the depreciation cost over a shorter period.

For example, if you lease a car for two years, your monthly payments will be higher than if you rent the same car for four years. The leasing company considers that the vehicle will depreciate more quickly in the first two years.

What’s the best car leasing option for you?

Your choice between a short-term and long-term car lease depends on your requirements and situation. Opt for a long-term car lease if you need a car for over a year but don’t want the cost or commitment of buying outright and want to keep your costs below those of a short-term lease. On the other hand, if you’re waiting for your new car to arrive and/or your situation requires a car for less than a year, then a short-term car lease is the more suitable option.

Smart Financing Solutions for Your Business Vehicles & Equipment

Car finance

It’s no secret that running a business takes a large financial toll on entrepreneurs.

Most small to medium-sized businesses don’t have enough internal cash flow and capital to operate at a satisfactory level. For instance, these enterprises could lack computers for their staff to use, machinery to produce their product, or motorcycles for their delivery fleet.

In either case, it pays to be resourceful and look for external ways to acquire these assets. Fortunately, there are many financing solutions that your business can avail to acquire these key assets.

Ready to learn more about it? Here are several financing solutions your business can consider to readily acquire vehicles, pieces of equipment, and more vital assets.

Let’s begin!

1. Chattel Mortgage

Chattel mortgages, or equipment loans, are types of loans that grant you (the borrower) the ownership of the specific type of business equipment as soon as the contract is set.

This loan can only be requested if you’re taking out money for the purpose of purchasing equipment. This can range from a copy machine, a motorcycle, a computer— anything that’s mobile and meant to be used in the business.

Just like other loans, you’ll need to pay the principal and interest rate marked in the contract in a timely fashion to avoid late fees and penalties. The lender can also reclaim the equipment if you fail to meet repayment terms.

Since the equipment or vehicle is immediately under your business’s ownership, mortgage interest rates are generally higher than standard loan rates—starting at 7.5% per annum and reaching up to 15% per annum.

If you have a good credit score or can show that you make timely payments, you can get better rates—which can save you a good couple of bucks over the period of the loan.

2. Novated Leasing

Suppose you’re a full-time employee of a company and an entrepreneur on the side. In that case, you can enter a tripartite agreement with your employer and the leasing company to lease a vehicle as part of your salary package.

This agreement essentially helps reduce your pre-tax salary, which can put you in a lower tax bracket and thus reduce your taxable income. You can also earn tax benefits by availing deductions of associated vehicular costs, like fuel and maintenance.

Novated leasing is good since it grants you the car straight off the gate, albeit not under your ownership just yet. That said, you’re still expected to decide the vehicle’s fate at the end of the lease’s term—whether to buy the vehicle at market value, extend the lease, or initiate a new lease.

This can be a good thing since it grants your current self flexibility in how you can control your ownership status and the tax benefits associated with your move.

Remember, you don’t own the car right away, and this can be a good thing for your taxes, particularly if you’re still currently low on capital.

Are you still questioning the benefits of novated leasing?

Follow this link for more information to help you break down this viable option for financial planning.

3. Equipment Leasing

Don’t want to own your equipment yet, or are unable to find someone to grant you ownership? The plain and simple task of equipment leasing is another viable solution you can consider.

Equipment leasing offers a flexible alternative for businesses that aren’t able to purchase outright. By leasing, your business gains access to the latest equipment without the hefty initial investment (or super-high interest rates), preserving capital for other operational needs.

If you want to keep your debt cash outflow low for budgeting purposes, going this route is effective.

Once your cash starts ramping up considerably, you can then consider going into a contract to purchase the equipment when you’re ready—if the lender accepts this proposition, of course.

What’s more, leasing can provide tax benefits since the payments are tax deductible. If your finances are tight but you still need business equipment, you can take advantage of this method to utilise the tool without outright owning one.

4. Crowdfunding

Another way to secure financing for vehicles, equipment, and other key assets for your business is by looking into crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding is essentially a form of financing wherein businesses raise money through individual donors (also called backers) through online platforms. The amount donated can be big or small—it’s solely dependent on the individual’s contributions.

Typically, this way of financing is effective if the public holds an interest in your product or service offering. Businesses can even incentivise buyers who have contributed a minimum amount with unique offerings.

Of course, going this route requires businesses to be validated by the market; that is, your product needs to be good.

Marketing efforts are a must for crowdfunding to be effective, and once public sentiment of your offering is good, you can reap the benefits of many contributors helping you achieve you acquire your product.

5. Business Lines of Credit

If you (as the entrepreneur) have a good line of credit, you can apply for a business line of credit to potentially fund your asset acquisitions.

This type of financing works similarly to a credit card in that it gives you a predetermined amount you can borrow to spend on for a monthly period. Of course, you’ll have to repay it by the end of the due date for you to continue using this financial method.

This financing route grants entrepreneurs an extra means of financing their business, whether it be by buying assets or ensuring operational continuity. You also only have to apply for it once unlike loans, making it a smooth and flexible way of adding more to your cash flow.

6. Grants

Government grants are great ways of securing financing—and depending on your state and country, you can be eligible for multiple ones.

For example, in Australia, there are over 615 grant programs offered by various government sectors that you can avail of, depending on your eligibility, of course. You can typically search what type of program is fit for your specific needs through this grants finder database.

Just like other forms of financing, grants are great since they give you a set amount of finances for you to conduct business operations.

The application process can be cut-throat, but if you’re accepted into one, then you don’t have to worry about making repayments as the government will help you out in that respect.

7. Business Loans

One of the most accessible ways of getting funding for your business is by applying for a business loan. There are multiple credit agencies that can lend you cash, offering a wide range of fixed or variable interest rates and repayment terms depending on your creditworthiness.

You can consider vetting and calling these credit providers and asking around for good rates. Be sure that you can actually follow through with the terms set in the agreement.

Once you’ve spotted a potential fit, then go ahead and secure the loan.

You’ll have to fill up some paperwork and documentation before and after the approval of the loan, but once you’re done, you’re set and can use the money for any business activity of your choice—from buying new equipment to repairing old ones.

Becoming a Driving Instructor: What you should know

The thought of starting a career as a driving instructor can be an exciting yet daunting proposition. Not only do you have the responsibility of ensuring that only safe and sensible drivers pass their tests, but also, with so many technical terms, abbreviations and highway code to remember, it can be hard to keep up.

But don’t worry, we’re here to help.

In this post, we will outline the process through our step-by-step guide to how to become a driving instructor.

If you want to embark on a career in this field, we’ll cover everything you need to know about becoming an ADI (approved driving instructor).

Why become a driving instructor?

Before we outline the process involved in becoming a driving instructor, it is probably worth touching upon the benefits and potential challenges of becoming one.

As a driving instructor in the UK, you will be able to enjoy working flexible hours, which you can schedule around your personal commitments and responsibilities. You should also have a skill that leads to long term job security because people will always want and need to take driving lessons, even during periods of economic uncertainty.

Depending on whether you work for a company or yourself, you can also be your own boss and, therefore, retain control over where you work, who you teach and how you teach. Moreover, it can be an incredibly rewarding job to help people achieve proficiency in this important life skill through the tips and knowledge you give them.

However, it is worth noting that, at times, being a driving instructor can be very stressful and demands a lot of patience, especially with people who are in the early stages of their learning experience.

Additionally, you may spend a lot of time on your own, as you won’t have many or any work colleagues and your car is likely to require regular maintenance due to it experiencing plenty of wear and tear.

Who can become a driving instructor?

To become a driving instructor, the DVSA has certain legal requirements that you’ll have to meet.

For a start, you must be at least 21 years old. You also must have a held a clean and valid UK driving licence within the category you want to teach i.e. car, lorry or motorcycle.

Additionally, you should have no more than five points on your licence and have not been banned from working with people under the age of 18 or ever been convicted of a sexual, violent, drug-related or financial crime.

You will also need to verify your eligibility status with the DVSA (Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency) – or, if you live in Northern Ireland, the DVA (Driver & Vehicle Agency).

Moreover, you must also undergo a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check prior to sending off your application – even if you have had one before.

What skills and personal traits do you need?

To become a driving instructor there are certain skills and personal traits you should possess. You will, of course, need to be professional at all times. But also, you should enjoy working with people of different ages and backgrounds.

Additionally, you should have good interpersonal skills, a sound character, be tactful and patient and able to relay precise and clear instructions to your students.

It also helps if you have good eyesight (you need to be able to read a licence plate from 27.5 metres away with or without your driving glasses), and to be able to react confidently, correctly and quickly in a wide range of traffic scenarios.

How to become a driving instructor

To become a driving instructor, you will need to take an approved ADI test, a list of which you will find on the Gov.UK website.

This test takes three forms – theory, practical and instruction.

Part 1 – theory test

The theory test for driving instructors is quite similar to the one you take when learning to drive. However, the questions are more challenging compared to the standard theory test.

The test consists of two parts: multiple-choice questions and a hazard perception test.

In the multiple-choice section, you will face 100 questions, and to pass, you must score at least 85%. This section will cover topics such as road procedure, traffic signs and signals, driving law, and teaching techniques.

The hazard perception part of the test includes 14 questions, and to pass it, you must score at least 57 points. This section will evaluate your driving awareness and reaction time by displaying a series of video clips that contain at least one hazard. Your task will be to spot the risks and respond accordingly.

If you fail your theory test, don’t worry. You can retake it as many times as you want until you pass. Once you pass, you can book the second part of the test.

Part 2 – practical driving test

For this section of the test, you will need to demonstrate your ability as a driver. This involves being assessed on the following skills:

  • awareness of other road users and pedestrians
  • understanding of road procedures and lane discipline
  • judgement of potential hazards and speed
  • dealing with challenging road scenarios

In addition, you will be tested on your ability to demonstrate a good level of control and skill when handling the vehicle, as you will need to relay this to your student. Subsequently, during your test, you’ll be requested to perform some of the following manoeuvres including:

  • reverse parking
  • parallel parking
  • stopping on the right-hand side of the road, reversing for two full car lengths before rejoining traffic
  • driving into a bay before reversing out of it
  • pulling up adjacent to a car before reversing into a space at the rear of the car (you must stop near the curb at least within two lengths of the car)

In order to pass this aspect of the test, you will need to achieve no major faults and fewer than five minors.

Part 3 – Instruction ability test

In the final section of the test, your teaching ability will be assessed. This will involve teaching a real student via a lesson that you have planned, during which time an examiner critiques your teaching skills.

Overall, you get tested on aspects like your teaching strategies, risk management and lesson planning. To pass it, you must score a minimum of 31 out of 51 otherwise, you will fail.

How long does the process take?

The process of becoming a fully qualified driving instructor can take anywhere between six and twelve months – depending on how much time you can devote to it.

That said, you may experience delays due to factors such as the availability of exams or DBS checks. However long it takes, you should always prepare thoroughly for each stage.

What does it cost to become a driving instructor?

When taking your test to become a driving instructor, you will incur various costs for the tests and official certifications. At the time of writing, the cost for the tests is:

– £81 for part 1

– £111 for part 2

– £111 for part 3

Additionally, you will also need a trainee driving instructor license in order to complete parts two and three of the exams. Currently, this license costs £140.

Once you have passed the tests, you need to pay £300 to get the official accreditation for being an approved driving instructor. It is worth noting that you will need to renew this certificate every four years, which will cost £300 every time you do so.

Other costs to consider are the price of a car with dual controls (the extra set of pedals that reside in the passenger seat section for the instructor).

You can either purchase dual controls and have them fitted to your personal car or buy a car that already has the pedals installed. For the convenience, many instructors prefer the latter option.

How much do driving instructors get paid?

The amount a driving instructor can earn will depend on several factors.

Typically, driving instructors charge by the hour, so of course, the number of hours they work is a significant contributory factor to determining their earning potential.

According to the National Careers Service, most driving instructors work between 30 to 40 hours every week. For an experienced instructor, this can translate to an average salary of around £32,500 per year.

What to do once you have passed your test

Once you have passed your test to become a driving instructor, you will need to decide if you want to work for a driving school or be self-employed.

Becoming self-employed often seems like a daunting step, but it can open up a lot of exciting opportunities.

If you do want to set up your own business, you will need to register as self-employed and pay tax through a process of self-assessment every year by 31st January.

How do you grow your business?

If you decide to become a self-employed driving instructor, you will need to quickly build up a customer base.

There are several ways you can do that, including traditional marketing strategies such as signage on your car, advertisements in newspapers and direct mail.

You also might want to set up your own website and should consider registering your details to become a trusted driving instructor with EZLicence UK.

Develop lesson plans

As a qualified driving instructor, you will need to plan lessons for your students. There are several things you will need to take into consideration when doing this, including the following factors:

First of all, you will need to find an appropriate driving route for the learner. You will also need to make sure it is appropriate for the learner’s experience level,

During the lesson, you should be able to recognise in which areas students need to brush up on their skills and techniques.  Additionally, you will need to adapt your approach to what the learner specifically wants to focus on.

Logistically, you also need to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get from one lesson to another.

How much is driving instructor insurance?

One of the most important things you will have to do as a driving instructor is to manage the risk of teaching learner drivers. For this reason, you will need good insurance.

Typically, driving instructor experience includes public liability insurance in the case of someone being injured or if property is damaged as a direct result of your business. You will also need employer’s liability insurance if you intend to hire staff.

It might also be worth adding excess to your insurance cover for your own peace of mind, should you ever need to make a claim.