How much is your second hand car really worth?

When it comes to selling cars, many of us simply do not know the real value of our cars. Often people think that because they paid a high price for their car that they should be able to sell if for a high price, but this is simply not the case. The car is only worth as much as people are willing to pay for it. There are many factors that affect the value of a car and the price can vary drastically even between vehicle of the same make and model. Some of the main factors that will affect the resale value are; mileage, age, condition, service history, MOT remaining and any other repairs that may need doing.

If you take your car to a garage to trade in, they will often give you less than the market value (also known as part exchange value), unless you are buying a new car or a high value vehicle where there is more profit in the sale. Your car may be able to be sold for a lot more privately but you will need to decide if you have the time to do so. You may also have to pay for advertising, so consider this when making your decision.


How to look after your brakes

Brake pads and discs are checked during an MOT and you can expect to have to replace your discs every 40 – 50 thousand miles and you discs every 60-70 thousand miles on average. Although pads and discs are not a huge expensive a full set all round will often cost a few hundred pounds plus and therefore the longer you can keep your brakes maintained the better.

Although your front brake discs are used a lot more than your rear brakes, you may find that the rear ones have to be replaced more often and this is usually due to corrosion. Discs and pads are made from cast iron which is an ideal material to use but the down side is it rusts. The front brakes can quickly wear off any rust that has accumulated by normal braking on a journey whereas the back ones may not be used for a while and therefore the rust just builds up. This can cause pitting on the brake discs and can weaken them meaning they will need to be replaced. Sometimes with a bit of heavy braking, you can remove some of the rust off the discs but if it has built up too much for example, if it has been sat for a long time or over driven short distances, then you will have to fork out for a new set.


Should you use a mobile mechanic?

With many of us relying on our cars day to day to get us to and from work or to do the school drop off, being without a vehicle for a few days can be a bit of a nightmare. If you need work doing on your car then you may have the option to use a mobile mechanic. Mobile mechanics will usually come to your home or place of work and carry out repairs there allowing them to work on your vehicle when you have no need for it.

When using a mobile mechanic it is important to check them out first by either getting reviews online or by speaking to people who have dealt with them in the past. Some mechanics may even offer to pick your car up for you and drop it off once they have completed the repair. This again can be a great way of getting work done. You may end up paying a little more for the work than you would if you took it in to a garage, but it is often less disruptive. Always be sure that the person working on your car is capable and that if they are going to be driving your vehicle, they have the right insurance to do so.

Break down cover explained

If you have not got break down cover either through your insurance company, through your bank or direct through one of the break down companies, then you are taking a bit of a risk every time you drive your car. With breakdown cover costing as little as £5 – £10 per month, it really won’t break the bank but can save you a fortune in recovery costs.

There are often different packages available when taking out break down such as road side assistance, home start and nation wide recovery. It is important to understand exactly what cover you want and to check that the package offers that before committing. As with all policies you do get 14 days to cancel should you make a mistake.

Many breakdown policies that are offered as free through your bank account etc only offer minimal cover so you may wish to upgrade or take out additional cover anyway.

If you often drive other cars or are a passenger in another vehicle then you may want to take out cover that covers you and not just the one car you are driving for further peace of mind.


Advice when buying a used car

When it comes to the time to get a new car, you have a choice as to whether to buy new or used. New cars always come with a manufacturer’s warranty which is often three years but can be as much as seven years or 100,000 miles (currently Kia offer this warranty). This can give you hassle free motoring and although the warranty will not cover everything such as tyres and general wear and tear, it can mean if anything big goes wrong, you don’t have to fork out the thousands of pounds to fix it. Buying a used car always carries more risk than buying a new one as you often will have a short or possibly even no warranty. If you are buying a car off a private buyer you often have little come back as it is a private sale. It is worth remembering though that even for private seller used cars you are still covered by a general sales of goods act so if you can prove that a car was bought and was not fit for purpose you may be able to take them to a small claims court. Some companies offer used car checks and will go out even to a private sale and give the car a once over before you agree the sale. It is also strongly recommended that you carry out a HPI check to see information such as if the car has ever been recorded as stolen, written off, outstanding and finance.



Give your car a better chance of passing first time

If your car is more than three years old, an annual MOT check is a legal requirement to ensure it’s roadworthy. On average many garages charge between £35 and £45 for an MOT test but legally garages and MOT test centres are allowed to charge a maximum of £54.85 for the test.

Although many of us dread an MOT it can be a lifesaving test by picking up on faults with the vehicle that may be or may become unsafe in the very near future. It is illegal to drive a car with no MOT unless driving it to / from an MOT test station. Driving with no MOT will also invalidate your insurance.

There are ways in which you can try and give your car the best chance of passing.

Check your tyres are not only correctly inflated but also free from damage and have plenty of tread left on them. Check that all tyres have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm right the way around and across the central three-quarters of the pattern. A quick way to check is to insert a 20p piece into one of the tread grooves. If the outer edge of the coin is completely obscured then the tread depth is sufficient.

Choosing the right garage to take your car for an MOT

MOT time can be stressful, often you are not aware of all the work that may be required on your vehicle until it comes to the MOT and make be left with a huge bill in order to get the car road worthy and to pass the MOT.

Although MOT guidelines are very strict and all garages are told to adhere to the same standards, some garages are more lenient and others are stricter. If you worry that a garage is failing items on the MOT that should not of failed then you can take it to another garage to get them to check it for you, or make a complaint through the .gov website stating what the car has failed on and why you believe it is incorrect.

You do need to have a certain amount of trust in a garage to be able to take your car to them for an MOT. If you are worried that the garage may add extra faults so they get more work out of the job then you could take it to a place that does just MOT’s and no repair work as there is no advantage to them failing the car. The only issue with this is you will not have time to be able to shop around for quotes if you need the car back on the road so be sure to do your MOT early.

How to not get ripped off with vehicle repairs

When you need your vehicle repaired it can be quite a mine field, particularly if you don’t know much about cars.

So how can you get your car fixed without being ripped off?

Firstly always ask for personal recommendations for garages that people you know have used before or failing that look up online reviews before contacting any garages to ensure that they do not have negative feedback.

It’s then a good idea to do a bit of your own research online as to what the issue could be with the car along with a guideline as to how much you can expect to pay for the repair.

Once you have an idea of what may need doing you could then ring around a number of local garages to get a quote. Once you have found one that you are happy with ensure to ask them to take a look at the car and asses what needs doing and then contact you prior to any work being carried out on the car so that you can authorise work only once a price is agreed.

Never allow yourself you be rushed into any decisions or be pushed into going ahead with a garage just because you’ve contacted them for a quote, a good garage will be happy to answer your questions and will be able to give you a comprehensive quote for the work to be done.


Car finance – always read the small print

If you are looking to get a new or second hand car then you may well be tempted with taking finance out to cover the cost or part of the cost of the vehicle. Finance can be a great way of spreading the cost of a car over a number of years but you need to be sure that you know what you are taking on, the terms an conditions of the finance and how much you will end up paying for the car overall.

Many finance companies will simply take to you about the monthly amount and term of the finance but may not talk about the amount of interest and the APR. The APR is the annual percentage rate and is a percentage that relates to the interest you will be charged annually over the term of the loan. APR’s can range drastically from as little as a few percentage upwards of a thousand percentage. The higher the APR the more you will be paying back overall.

Always check how much you will have paid back in total including interest by the end of the finance agreement and this will allow you to work out how much in interest and charges you will incur. Often once people have this information, they reconsider the finance or will start to shop around to get a lower APR. Bank loans are often lower than taking out car finance but not sometimes the lending restrictions are stricter.



Worrying too much about your car

If you have recently had a new car or have noticed a new noise or some odd behaviour then you are likely to panic what it is and we often assume the worse. It is right to be concerned if you notice something different about the way your car sounds or drive or notice that it is using too much fuel for example, but sometimes we may put off taking it to the garage in fear that we may have to fork out a lot of money.

Often these noises etc. may only be something small and it might be easily fixed but even if it isn’t the chances are, if you leave it, it will only get worse. The problem arises when we notice something wrong and do nothing to then find that something has broken, such as the cam belt, which has caused additional damage as a result. This may have been avoided had the initial problem been investigate as and when it should of.

Ensuring that all your fluid levels are topped up, that the car is regularly serviced and generally looking after your vehicle can help avoid some problems and if not avoid them, may be an opportunity for them to be picked up before they get too bad.