Oct 122018
 

Buying A Used CarWhen buying a car, there’s a lot to consider. When buying a used car, there’s even more to consider. It’s obvious that you’ll want to avoid a used car that’s been badly damaged, illegally altered, or that is prone to break downs…but can you know for sure that you’re making the right choice?

Follow these 10 tips to make sure you pick the right second-hand car at the right price.

10. Look for a car that’s around three years old

New cars start losing their value the moment they’re driven off the lot. By the end of the first year, most are down 40 percent in value. That means that the original owner has taken that financial hit and you won’t have to. What’s more, the market for used cars that are three years old is massive. Why? Many cars are bought on finance which, after 36 months, runs out.

  1. Do your research on car insurance and car tax

Many people mistakenly think that the price of the car itself is the only cost involved in getting on the road. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. A relatively inexpensive second-hand car could incur massive bills over time. For example, sporty cars often come with higher insurance premiums. For car tax, you’ll have to consider its fuel type, engine type and CO2 emissions. Make sure you get quotes before signing anything.

  1. Review the car’s history

If the owner can’t offer up garage bills, MOT certificates and service records, that should raise alarm bells. If you do have access to this paperwork, look over it carefully. Look for consistent problems and consider, given how old the car is, what maintenance work will be needed soon.

  1. Look at the mileage

The mileage will give you insights into the value at purchase vs. sale and – perhaps more importantly – the potential costs of servicing and maintenance. Certain car parts need to be serviced or replaced after so many miles and many of these parts come with a hefty price tag. If you notice that a part hasn’t been replaced or serviced at the recommended interval, it’s probably not a good idea to buy.

  1.  Check the exterior and interior

This should go without saying but when we say ‘check’ we mean really look. It’s best to do this during the day when it isn’t raining or foggy. Look at the car from all angles, taking special care to look for dents, mismatched colours and misaligned panels. This would indicate that there has been work done.

While ideally the interior would be spotless, seats and carpets are easy enough to clean or have cleaned.

  1. Take it for a spin

You should never buy a car before test driving it. Make sure it starts easily and, while driving, make sure it handles well and performs how you would expect. A grinding sound coming from the brakes is a bad sign and a rumbling or smoking engine indicates a serious problem. It’s also a good idea to check that all of the features inside work. Flip on the radio, listen to the speakers, see if the air conditioning cools effectively. Also consider if you feel comfortable driving the car. Does it go faster than you expected? Does the steering wheel pull to one side?

  1.  Make sure the seller has a V5C document

This document shows the registered keeper, not the legal owner. Of course, the registered keeper should be the one selling you the car. If it isn’t, or if the seller isn’t willing to show you the V5C, you should walk away.

  1. If you think it’s too good to be true, it probably is

Unfortunately, you can encounter a lot of scams when buying a used car. Clocking, cloning and cut-and-shuts are worst case scenarios, but they could still happen. The best way to avoid a scam is by doing research, carefully inspecting the car, and trusting your gut. It’s better to pay more for a car that has all the relevant paperwork than less for a car with none.

  1.  Make sure it ticks all the boxes

What are your essential requirements? Does there need to be room for the whole family? Does it need to fit in a particularly small space? Do you need a large boot? Were you hoping for something eco-friendly? Make sure you get what you came to get and don’t settle on something else for an attractive price or because you feel pressured.

  1. Get a receipt

Once you’ve made your decision, make sure you and the seller agree exactly what is included in the price and get a receipt that includes the vehicle details, terms of the deal, your name and the seller’s name, and the date.

With that, congratulations on your new (used) car! Lastly, it’s always wise to cover your car in the event of unexpected vehicle failure, and you can do that with an extended warranty from Warranty Direct! Why not get a quote to see how we can help you?

Policies underwritten by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Arranged and administered by Warranty Direct. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

 

Sep 102018
 

New car showroomThere comes a time in a car owners’ life when it’s time to say goodbye…it could be a change in lifestyle, high maintenance costs, or just because you fancy something new. Whatever the reason, be sure you’re getting the best deal and not left out of pocket when buying your next car.

Looking to upgrade to a newer model?

Read our Warranty Direct guide on getting a swankier car, for less.

The benefits of upgrading

The advances in car technology are progressing at such a fast rate that if you stick with your current model for too long, you could miss out on new features that make driving both easier and safer.

Not only this, but cars depreciate quickly and after three years you could lose up to 60% of your vehicle’s original value.

So, when looking to upgrade your car, one of the first things you need to do, is to look at its current and future market value to make sure you upgrade before it’s too late.

Out with the old

Before buying your swanky new motor, you need to work out what you’re going to do with your old vehicle. Trade-in offers are typically less than you’d get in a private-party sale but can be much quicker and less hassle.

To work out if you’re being offered a reasonable price on your trade-in car at a dealership, you first must know what your vehicle is worth. Do some online research, print out the results and take them with you, as evidence to help with negotiating.

If you’re deciding between two dealerships with similar offers, you may want to lean toward the one at which you intend to buy your car. This may give you some leverage since you’re giving the dealership business on both the trade-in and the car purchase.

Look for models which hold their value

You may want to look out for cars that are about to be superseded by a newer model. These ‘run-out’ models are often found with discounts of up to 30% on the original price as dealers make way for shiny new stock.

However, some models shed cash quicker than others, meaning it will be worth a lot less in only a short period of time. So, make sure you check the resale price to see if some models may slump in value when their replacements arrive, (especially if you plan to sell it on in a few years).

You can also use our Reliability Index to help you work out how likely you are to have issues with a certain make or model.

Timing is everything

Dealers have targets to meet, with bonuses up for grabs, so they will usually be more willing to negotiate and offer more attractive finance packages at the end of each sales quarter. This means buying a vehicle at the end of March, June, September and December, could get you a better deal.

Try to avoid weekends or the start of the month just after payday. A dealership crammed with wannabe buyers isn’t ideal if you want to pick-up the best bargain.

Think about finance

While low-rate finance schemes with modest monthly payments may bring newer cars within your reach, you need to be sure you can keep up with the monthly payments as missing any can affect your credit rating and your car could be repossessed.

As mentioned earlier, newer cars can lose their value quite quickly, so you may want to look at pre-owned options first.

Used cars are cheaper initially and you could get more for your money, buying a top of the range older model for a similar price as a basic spec new car.

If you go down the used car route and the original manufacturer warranty has expired, you will also need to think about getting an extended warranty in place to protect your vehicle against unexpected failure and the costs that come with it. You can always get a quote with Warranty Direct to see how we could help you.

Policies underwritten by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Arranged and administered by Warranty Direct. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Aug 022018
 

Tips For New Drivers Buying A First CarBuying your first car is a rite of passage every driver remembers; that first exciting taste of true
independence.

Every first-time motorist wants something that expresses their personality and suits their needs, but that doesn’t mean your vehicle choice will be the most practical or easy to find within your budget.

To guide you through the complex world of car-buying, Warranty Direct has put together some advice on essential considerations for first-time buyers.

Consider running costs

Buying and running a car is expensive for anyone but especially so for new drivers, who will have to shell out for a suite of essentials all in one go. Look at your monthly income, consider your current outgoings and then plan what you can afford.

You need to account for unavoidable costs, such as car insurance, Tax, MOT, fuel and tyres. Services such as the Money Advice Service Car Costs Calculator can give you an average running cost of a car so you can see roughly if you’ll be able to afford the overall spend.

Insurance for first-time drivers can be expensive as you’re among the least experienced drivers on the road. To find out which cars have a low insurance rating, use online tools such as Money Supermarket’s car insurance group checker.

Think about how you use it

When weighing up your options, you need to see which car best matches your lifestyle.

Is it a simple A-B run-around you’re after? If so, you may want to think about getting a small car with an engine size of about 1L. Or will you need a vehicle for regular, long journeys? Then a car with good fuel economy and a slightly larger engine would be better, especially if you’ll be driving on motorways.

However, make sure to do your research as similar cars can often have very different insurance groups, which can increase overall costs.

New or Used?

Although initially more expensive, newer cars are normally more advanced in terms of safety, technology and fuel efficiency in comparison to older cars. This could save you money in the long-term.

While low-rate finance schemes with modest monthly payments have brought new cars within reach of younger people, you need to be sure you can keep up with the monthly payments as missing any can affect your credit rating and your car could be repossessed.

In addition, a new car can lose around 40% of its value in the first year, so you may be left out of pocket when you go to sell it later.

Used cars are cheaper initially and you could get more for your money, buying a top of the range older model for a similar price as a basic spec new car.

Safety Matters

Accidents do happen and one in four 18-24 year-olds crash within two years of passing their practical driving test, so picking a vehicle that’s both safe and practical is important.

Look out for characteristics such as light steering, a responsive engine and brakes and user-friendly controls. These will help all new drivers build confidence behind the wheel.

Once you have a vehicle shortlist, use tools such as our Reliability Index to see which are the most reliable. This will help you to avoid expensive maintenance issues further down the line.

May 292018
 

As the common saying goes: ‘if it looks too good to be true, it usually is’.

The above can be especially true if you’re buying or selling a car, as there are lots of untrustworthy people out there willing to cheat you for an unfair price.

Making sure you’re armed with the knowledge to spot a potential scam. Warranty Direct discusses common pitfalls for motorists and its top tips on how to avoid them.

 

Selling a car

Offers to buy without viewing

If someone offers to buy your car without looking at it first, this should be considered a warning sign. A buyer may get into an accident or damage the car on purpose, claim it was already damaged when they bought it and expect you to pay for the damages.

To avoid this, make sure you describe your car as accurately as possible when creating your advert and ask the person to sign a ‘sold as seen’ receipt before a sale is agreed.

Swap scam

Swap scams are an increasingly popular con which exploits auction and classified websites where consumers advertise their car for sale. Crooks will contact the seller to express an interest but suggest a swap instead. However, the swap car will often be on existing finance, or sometimes even stolen.

Make sure to research the history of the other car before you exchange and ask to see all documents and service history. A genuine seller will have all of this prepared and be happy to show it to you.

Vehicle matching

Cold callers may approach an owner claiming to have a buyer waiting and ask for an upfront fee which they say is refundable if the car isn’t actually sold.

Typically, the car is never sold and the seller is never refunded, resulting in lost money. If you find yourself in this situation, do not feel pressured into giving your credit or debit card details out to people you don’t know. However, if the worst does happen, contact your bank straight away to see if they can recover your funds and report the incident to Action Fraud which ensures the correct crime reporting procedures are followed.

Buying a car

Virtual vehicle

The ‘virtual vehicle’ scam involves the fake advertisement of a car for sale and the sole purpose is to extract money fraudulently from an eager buyer.

The car will often be advertised for slightly lower than the going rate, with seemingly great mileage for its age. They will ask you to transfer money, sometimes a large deposit, without even seeing the car.

Once parted with the cash, you’ll soon realise it doesn’t exist. So, always make sure you see the car before you buy it and get a receipt. If possible pay on a credit card, so your funds are in part protected should the transaction turn out to be fraudulent, according to Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

Fake mileage

Changing a car’s mileage to increase value is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Although modern cars are getting harder to modify, the number with mileage discrepancies is on the rise.

2016 research by car history company HPI shows one in 16 cars had an illegally-altered mileage reading which equates to roughly 2.3 million in the UK displaying incorrect mileage.

Be sure to check the vehicle history, as this will show the recorded mileage and highlight any discrepancies. Checking the MOT certificates will also reveal any odd gaps or points where the mileage for one year is lower than the previous.

Fake payment

Always make sure payment is cleared before handing over your car.

Fake customers who seem legitimately interested in buying a car will sometimes pay for it using stolen details, from a credit card or through a fake bank account.

Others may contact you saying they have accidentally overpaid you, ask you to refund the additional sum of money and then withdraw the original payment. You’re then left out of pocket and potentially without a car.

Always be over-cautious when buying or selling a car. Read through all documents, research the history of the car and check the condition thoroughly. The last thing you want is to be conned into buying or selling and end up with nothing at the end of it.

Sep 032017
 

The prospect of buying a brand-new car is an exciting one, especially as some of the newest models give access to the latest features in terms of safety, performance and comfort.

It’s vital you give your decision careful consideration though, as different needs, budgets and features, means finding the right option can be confusing.

That is why we’ve put together our Warranty Direct guide on what to look for when buying a new car.

Budget

Before you start looking at favoured options, you should finalise a budget and know how to maximise it. Some will be able to buy a new car outright, but many of us will need to consider finance options. Some of the most cost-effective finance deals are available with 0% APR and if size is not an issue smaller models can be a good option as many are available from as little as £150 per month.

How much your loan costs will depend on your credit history, and knowing this can be useful as it will give a better idea of what to expect from lenders. The Consumer Credit Act allows consumer access to credit reports by post or online.

Longevity

Taking a more practical view when it comes to vehicle choice is a good way to pick a car that’s best for the long-term. Whilst a small sports car may retain its value well and be suitable for your current lifestyle, it might be completely inappropriate for your needs a few years down the line.

Economy, in terms of MPG and fuel type, will also be important with the new diesel tax on the horizon. Smaller petrol cars will be good to consider after this change, as they will most likely retain their value better and have lower road tax.

Features and extras

Motoring technology is advancing at an unparalleled rate and in-car systems such as WiFi, 4G connectivity and voice control are becoming commonplace. However, technology will continue to develop features such as parking assist, night vision cameras and autonomous safety features, meaning more improved safety and comfort.

Assessing and researching these latest features will allow you to work out which deals are the best value for money when it comes to meeting your own, personal requirements.

Models that hold their value

The biggest issue when buying a new car is they can lose their value quickly. Most cars depreciate at a rate of around 20% per year over the first three years of ownership. Some models shed cash quicker than others, meaning you’ll get a lot less when you come to sell it on.

It’s important to research which vehicles usually retain their value better than others, such as budget SUVs or smaller sports cars.

For more information on depreciation, you can also consult our guide.

You can guard against any potential loss of value by investing in a GAP insurance policy, which is particularly worthwhile if you’re paying for a new motor on finance.

When it comes to a car, assessing your needs, financial situation, and forthcoming industry developments will mean you’re well-placed to get the maximum for your money and your vehicle will retain more value for longer.