Motor Employees Slide To Success For Charity

Brave employees of specialist motor dealer ACF Car Finance Limited will slide to success next month as the team takes part in a charity zip-wire challenge.

A group of 10 employees from the company have signed up for The Springtime Sweethearts Charity Zip Wire Challenge which will take place on Sunday 20 February. The charity event will see challengers tackle the 250m zip wire off the Imperial War Museum North.

The motor finance team has pledged to raise more than £1,500 in personal sponsorship which will be divided between event organisers The Stroke Association and the motor industry charity, BEN.

With match-funding from their employers, the team expects to donate at least £3,000 to be divided between the two charities.

ACF Car Finance has been a keen supporter of BEN, the Motor and Allied Trades Benevolent Fund, with staff previously taking part in a number of fundraising activities including a sponsored sky dive and the Manchester 10k run.

“To be taking part in the charity zip slide in aid of these two fantastic charities is an honour for the whole team and we are all excited for the big day,” said Jane Whittle, ACF Car Finance Marketing Manager, who will also tackle dizzy heights for the challenge.

Jane added: “BEN provides support and advice to the people who work in our industry. We fully appreciate the tireless work they do. We are pleased to also be able to donate money to support the vital research provided by The Stroke Association.”

If you would like to make a donation, please visit the ACF Car Finance fundraising

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How To Make Your Most Telling Test Drive Ever

Trying out a used car? Even The Stig might learn something from these top test-drive tips supplied by car buying experts at ACF Car Finance, says the company’s divisional manger of operations, Mark Jones.

Looking just a little bit sheepish, Chris shuffled up to the ACF Car Finance sales executive in our Leeds showroom. “Look, I’m sorry about this, but would you mind if I had another run out in that Vauxhall I test drove yesterday?” he asked. Our man was delighted to oblige, but wondered if there was something about the car which had worried him.

“No, not at all,” said Chris. “But when I was describing it to my mates last night, one asked if it had a trip computer and another wondered whether the brakes were ABS. I hadn’t noticed, and neither had I checked the legroom in the back, or even tried reverse gear,” he admitted.

It’s so easy to completely forget about the details when you take a test drive, and just to focus on what the car feels like and whether there are any odd rattles or tell-tale whines. Of course, getting out on the road is a great improvement on just kicking the tyres, but why not take a few tips from those in the trade about how to get the most out of your time behind the wheel?

These suggestions come direct from our expert car buying team at ACF Car Finance who spend literally millions of pounds each year on vehicles for our showrooms. Needless to say, they only buy in line with our strict criteria, but at the end of the day it’s your opinion as a customer which matters most.

Here’s their top ten pointers for ensuring that you return from your test drive a lot wiser:

+ Don’t just take a spin around the block. Try and include a variety of roads and traffic conditions to judge how the car handles in different situations, from a straight A road to a crawl through the town centre with plenty of stops and starts.

+ Make a mental list of what aspects of the car’s performance you need to be assured about, including the efficiency of the brakes, how the steering feels, the ease of changing gear, and the acceleration both from a standing start and while on the move.

+ Ensure your seat is properly adjusted before you set off as this will help you to judge the legroom and all-round comfort of the car as you motor along. How does it feel compared with your current vehicle?

+ And it might not be just you who needs to be satisfied about comfort. If your children or partner will regularly be in the car with you, it might be an idea to take them along for the ride and to hear any doubts just once rather than on every journey afterwards.

+ Talking of children, make sure you bring along to the test drive any child seats you intent to use. Not all seats will fit easily in all cars.

+ What about the noise level? It can be difficult to judge this in isolation, so try listening to the radio or chatting with someone else in the car to ascertain its relative volume.

+ Look around as you drive, and assess the visibility. Any blind spots, or door pillars partially obstructing your vision? These factors needn’t be deal breakers, but like the other aspects in this list, it’s best to be aware of them before you sign on the dotted line.

+ A clear view of your instruments is also important, so check that out – and whether the car’s controls and switches are easy to reach and operate.

+ Storage space can vary greatly, even between similar size models of car. Is there enough room for shopping, or any sports equipment or other gear you carry regularly? Does it make any difference if the boot’s sill is higher than that on your present car?

+ Finally, when driving the car do resist the temptation to play with the accessories. You can test the heating, air-con, stereo, and all those other buttons when the vehicle has stopped. Concentrate on your mental checklist of performance, comfort and safety factors.

If you follow these test-drive tips, I can guarantee that you will confidently step out of the car with a pretty good idea of whether the vehicle is right for you. But like Chris at the start of this article, it’s still possible to walk away and realise only later that there were a few details you forgot to ascertain.

That’s why I suggest you also just jot down in advance the points you’ll want to be assured about – for example, whether your golf clubs will fit in the boot – and the inventory of equipment, such as whether it’s a standard or space-saving tyre.

Don’t hesitate either to draw on the expertise of the showroom adviser. Members of the ACF Car Finance team, for example, are extremely knowledgeable about the vehicles they supply, and will gladly talk you through any points you wish to discuss. Whatever questions you have, now is the time to fire away.

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Team Tankboy Takes Third Place: CannonBall Run 2011

It was gruelling hot as 200 cars headed north for the 2011 CannonBall Run. Among the Ferrari’s, GT40’s, Aston Martin’s and other exotic cars was Team Tankboy’s, ex-US Army Humvee.

There were some great themed teams, Magnum PI, Priscilla Queen of the Dessert with a giant shoe atop a bus, a Back to the Future DeLorean and even Shrek to name but a few.

Everyone was having fun, nice cars, plenty of hot babes, miles of winding countryside roads and great weather. What more could one ask for? OK, there could have been a wet T-Shirt competition but then I doubt our focus would have stayed on the road.

Out of 200 entrants, a total of fifteen speeding tickets got handed out and one car caught fire and burnt to a crisp. Not bad for a day of fuel induced excitement.

Team Tankboy consisted of Charles “Tankboy” Knight and Nick “Nuke” Scott from the reality series “Tankboy TV”, along with actor/comedian Aaron Beard.

“It was our first time competing in the event, so we weren’t 100% sure what we were up against. We didn’t have a lot of time to prepare, compared to seasoned contestants, but we had a plan, and we stuck to it.” said Tankboy. “And making third place was awesome!”

“If you think we were crazy on the rally, you should see us in our TV show.” said Nuke. “And that cute girl in the Impala, she can facebook me anytime”.

You can check out these mad boys of destruction, at

The CannonBall Run is a street legal car rally, competing over one day with heaps of wacky missions, entertainment and just plain craziness along the way.

The event is limited to 250 cars and is run by Auckland Motorsport.

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Tailgate Steps Are Not Just for Ford Pickups Anymore

There has been increasing demand from 2011 Chevy and GMC heavy duty pickup owners for a tailgate step like the popular Ford tailgate step. Pickups are getting taller each year making it more difficult to climb into the bed of the trucks. Ford is the only manufacturer that includes a tailgate step as an option. Aftermarket suppliers have been meeting this demand with innovative products.

STATZ Corporation has added a new tailgate step model for the 2011 Chevy and GMC 2500 and 3500 heavy duty pickup trucks. The model 10321 DEBO Step® tailgate step is an addition to STATZ Corporation product line of custom fit truck steps. This step mounts to the trailer hitch crossbar, and can be extended and used to help the user to gain access to the bed of the pickup truck, and telescopes under the truck when not in use.

The changes to the 2011 GMC and Chevy’s trailer hitch made this new design necessary. Unlike the other STATZ Corporation Chevy/GMC models that bolt to the frame of the truck, this model is designed to go over the 3″ square crossbar of the hitch frame. STATZ Corporation manufactures 16 models for Chevy/GMC, Ford, Dodge, Nissan and Toyota full size pickup trucks.

STATZ Corporation is a service disabled veteran owned company based in Cross Plains, Wisconsin. STATZ Corporation has been manufacturing, marketing and selling pickup tailgate steps under the brand name DEBO Step® since 2007.

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Let’s Slam The Brakes On Runaway MPG Costs

Shocked by just how much of your hard-earned cash now flows straight into your car’s fuel tank? Leyton Cooper, Group Buying Manager for ACF Car Finance, offers some calming suggestions for keeping more of your petrol money in your pocket.

I’ve always liked the one about the man who decided to try some of those fuel-saving additives which promise a whole range of extra miles-per-gallon figures. He emptied the lot into his car. “What happened?” said his friend. “I got two miles down the road and the tank overflowed!” he explained.

Yes, I’m afraid there are a few snake-oil products out there which probably owe more to wishful thinking than to actual science. But don’t let that put you off your search for squeezing additional precious MPGs from your petrol or diesel car, and saving possibly hundreds of pounds each year.

It can be done if you follow a few tips which even the most experienced motorist might be unaware of. In fact, it’s often people who have been driving the longest who have fallen into the worst driving habits as far as fuel economy is concerned.

Take, for example, that chap in the Rover pulling away painfully slowly from the traffic lights. He probably imagines that irritating everyone behind is a price well worth paying for all that petrol he’ll be saving by keeping a light foot on the accelerator pedal. But he’s wrong.

Going up normally through the gears is by far the most fuel-efficient way to drive. Why? Simply because you will reach your desired speed more quickly, and be in the highest and most economical gear sooner than a petrol-sapping crawl.

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