Buying Advice

Top tip:

Buy your Grannies car.

If you look for a bargin, it’s worth while seaking out cars owned by the older generation.

Why? Because the typically have low milage, been regularly serviced and MOT’s and any issue have been sorted.

Down side are they may have a few dents and scrapes but these can be easily sorted or just ignored.

Don’t dismiss the older car VW polo, Corsa and Fiesta, as these have cult following so you may end up with a “retro classic”

The down side is you may end up with a 1.4 or 1.6 engine that can be more costly to insure, get the right car and look after it and it will be still worth what you paid for it when you come to sell.

Some of these cars are “give away” at sub £500, be careful when you first drive these cars as some may be woken from sleep and may not like been driven at 70mph all of a sudden. Best advice is to take it to an independent garage, or a service and check over.


Budget and running cost.

 Sub £500…


With any car in the sub £500 price range, history and condition are paramount.

Buying in this price bracket is fraught with problems and you can end up very big bills, and you would have been better off saving your money.

I would say only stick to cars that you know the history of, for example cars that your family are selling to you.

If you can keep saving your money to get in the £500-1000 price band.

Buying in this price bracket is fraught with problems and you can end up very big bills, and you would have been better off saving your money.

Rule number one: there are plenty of cars in this price bracket, take your time and find a good car.

Rule number two: find out the history, if you buying from a relative you should know if the car has been well looked after.

Most sellers should have some history, look for recent services.

Check the MOT history online, look for failure and advisories. Ask the seller if they have delt with the advisories.


Rule number three: inspect and test drive.

Beware warm engines when you go to inspect the car, the seller may trying to hide starting of engine issues.

With a cold engine: check the following

Take the oil cap off and look for coffee cream, this water that has leaked in the engine and is a sign of head gasket failure, also check the radiator header tank “warning” do not do this with a warm or hot engine as you risk scaling yourself . the coolant in the header tank should be clean an orange or green in colour, look underneath the cap, and put your finger in the header tank and wipe it round the surface of the tank. It should come out clean, any gunk should be inspected to see if it’s oil or anti freeze that has gone off Walk away from a car with head gasket failure like unless it’s classic which you want to restore.

“Don’t worry about that it’s just condensation it will burn off mate”

Total rubbish, walk away and keep your cash in your pocket

 Head gasket repairs can cost £450-1000 for 4 cylinder engine, £1500+ for 6 cylinder and above


Tyres and brakes.

These are the two things that stop you going straight to A&E or heaven, do not skimp on the cost of having working brakes and tyres in good condition.


If you can look through the holes in the wheel or wheel cover and look at the condition of the disk, look for un even rust makes and lines on the disk, if the surface of the disk is pitted and marked adjust the price accordingly (disk brake from a independent parts supplier need not cost more that £50-100 per axel (look for special offer which normally come out on Thursday Friday each week?


Tyres: Check that the tread is even and not close to the wear indicator, do not drive a car with bald tyres, walk away and have nice day not a bad one…


Check the deal from your local tyre and exhaust specialist, independent tyre shops may do you a better deal than nationals

Top tip:

Kwik fit prices are cheaper online that in the shop!


Hyper links


Remoulds: Avoid, save your money buy a cheaper new non-brand tyre


Part worn tyres: These can save you money, typical £15-25 per tyre, only buy if your on a tight budget. And inspect the tyres carefully for damage,  ask if they have been pressure tested. reject if you'r not sure.


Checking the inside of the car:

Check everything work, play with all the switches turn the heater on and fan, check the heated screen and back window work, turn the lights on and get the wipers going, your are trying to simulate a dark and wet winter night when you need to get home. This will load the cars electrical system and any alternator or battery issues may show them selfs. Ask when the battery was last changed

Adjust price accordingly, talking £100-150 of the price for larger issue, or just walk away.

Check the seat belts work without jamming, that’s another mot failure.