Nov 282014

Ruppert'sLandieThe run-up to Christmas is the perfect time to buy a used car, as dealerships get quiet around the festive season, advises HPI. Savvy used car buyers will know that prices start to creep-up in January so those looking to bag a bargain should be looking to buy now. Whether buying from a dealer or from a private seller, before parting with their hard-earned money, bargian-hunters should get the vehicle checked and follow HPI’s top tips.

Senior Consumer Services Manager, Shane Teskey at HPI says, “Winter may not seem like the obvious time to buy a car, but that’s why it’s ideal for anyone looking for a bargain. As shoppers turn their thoughts to Christmas gifts, sales of cars slow down, meaning there are deals to be struck. However, used car buyers need to do some research and go in knowing exactly what they want.

“At any time of year, consumers need to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect themselves. Buying a car with outstanding finance remains the biggest risk, but 1 in 20 vehicles checked by HPI have a mileage discrepancy. Dodgy sellers can turn back the clock and add hundreds or even thousands to the price tag. Not only could buyers pay over the odds, but the vehicle could have more wear and tear than expected, or in need of repair, sooner than they thought. In addition, we find 30 cars per day reported as stolen, putting car buyers at risk of losing all their money on a car that belongs to someone else. With this in mind, we urge buyers to get any potential bargain checked at HPI, as that’s the best way to ensure it’s a dream machine with nothing to hide.”

Don’t Get into the Drivers’ Seat

The seller can smell a sale, once a buyer sits in the driver’s seat. This is where your emotions take over and you start imagine yourself driving that car, which makes it hard to think with your head. Instead of getting inside, ask the dealer to drive the car out, so you can look at it from all angles.

See the Light

Vehicles can look a lot more attractive in low-light, especially those which have a few dents here and there, so try to view the vehicle in daylight or at least under a very good light source. Take a torch. A good light source will also help you check under the bonnet to ensure chassis numbers match the car’s documents.

Do the Colours Match?

Check the bodywork to see if there is any variation in the shades – even very subtle differences – this normally tells you the car has been worked on. Ask why this is.

Check the Bodywork

Most modern cars have bolt-on panels. Check the bolts under the bonnet. If the paint is chipped on the bolts, it may mean the panels have been modified in some way. Ask why this is – it may give an indication of the car’s accident history.

Do the Air-conditioning and Sat Nav Work?

In the middle of winter, it’s easy to forget the air-conditoning, but you’ll be kicking yourself if it’s not working, once summer arrives. If the car has an integrated sat nav system, make sure it works. Make sure the disc is present, enter your home postcode and make sure it would get you there.

Take the Test

Winter with its cold, damp weather presents unique challenges when it comes to test driving a used car. However you should try to drive as you would in the summertime, take the vehicle up to speed then hit the brakes to test the ABS (when it’s safe to do so). When braking, see how straight the car comes to a stop, as pulling in one direction can indicate brake or alignment problems. Also try taking the car to a large car park and see how it handles on areas where black ice can appear.

HPI Before You Buy

Check the service history and then conduct a vehicle history check at HPI to gain a full picture of the vehicle’s status, ensuring it’s not a banger masquerading as a bargain.


Remember, the price on the sticker is only the starting price. Take the price of the defects you’ve spotted off of this price for a start.

Shane Teskey concludes, “With a little preparation, used car buyers can approach any seller ready to drive a hard bargain. Whatever their budget, we recommend conducting a vehicle check at HPI– this way buyers can reduce the risk of splashing their cash on a car that turns out to be a nightmare on wheels.”

Jan 202008

BCA BirminghamBrave the winter chill and get a great used car bargain at BCA Birmingham

The latest figures from leading local motor auction centre, BCA Birmingham, show that January could be a good time to get a great deal on a quality used car or van.

Seasonal trends in supply and demand mean that there are more used cars available at auction and this means prices are very competitive.  Buyers can take their pick from a wide choice of ex-fleet and lease vehicles and a great selection of other pre-owned cars.

“Ex-fleet and business cars at BCA Birmingham represent excellent value for money for used car buyers, typically being around three-years-old and well-serviced during their working life” confirmed David Ross, General Manager, BCA Birmingham. “More motorists than ever are turning to the used car market to bag a bargain and auction offers a great choice whatever their budget.”

“There’s a wide choice to be had at car auctions” confirmed David Ross.  “The huge majority of sales are open to private buyers.  With cars of every age and description and with a price range to suit every budget, there will be something for everyone.  Car buyers can check online at for the latest details of the sales programme.”

BCA’s top 10 tips for buying a car at auction:

· Don’t buy on your first visit – sample the atmosphere and get used to the pace.

· Do your homework – know what you want before you go to an auction and have an idea what the car you are after is worth.

· Terms and conditions – each auction house has its own terms and conditions explaining how you can buy, what the fees are etc.  Familiarise yourself with these so that you don’t get surprised later on.

· Don’t rush – arrive early and take time to examine the vehicle that interests you.

· Do ask questions – ask auction staff, they will be happy to help.

· Check the car – it’s up to you to check the car’s condition, so examine it prior to entering the auction hall. And listen to the engine running as it is driven into the auction hall.

· Budget – set a limit and stick to it. Save some funds for a post sale service and any minor repairs that might be needed.

· Be flexible – if you miss your first choice, don’t give up and don’t throw the budget out the window just because you like the colour of the car you’re bidding on!

· Auctioneer’s description – this is legally binding, so listen carefully. The terms and conditions will explain all the terminology used.

· Bid clearly – don’t wink or tap your nose, simply raise your hand or the catalogue.

Sep 202006

MiniThe iconic MINI is officially Britain’s best all-round used car package, according to a new survey involving the nation’s motoring media.

Automotive warranty company, Warranty Direct, canvassed the judgement of journalists on a shortlist of the forty most reliable models in the market. The poll looked at eight categories in all – Supermini, Small Family, Family Car, Compact Executive, Executive, MPV, 4×4 and Roadsters – using data from over 56,000 policies.

Such a majority concurred that MINI was ‘best in class’ that it not only topped its respective category, but also raced away with the title of Britain’s Best Used Car Buy by gaining more votes than any other model considered.

Following the MINI closely the finish, Mazda’s MX-5 won the Roadsters category with a resounding 61 percent of votes, while BMW’s 5-Series took the final place on the winner’s rostrum with 58 percent of votes in the Executive sector.

Over half of the journalists interviewed agreed the honour of best Small Family Car should go to Ford’s Focus. The Honda Accord – which recently topped a Warranty Direct poll of the Top 100 most reliable used cars over the past decade – won the accolade of best Family Car with 45 percent of the votes.

Less unanimity was reached in the Compact Executive, MPV and 4×4 categories, with BMW’s 3-Series, the Vauxhall Zafira and the BMW X5 motoring away with the honours respectively.

“Reliability continues to be a key factor for any used car buyer,” says Duncan McClure Fisher, spokesman for Warranty Direct, “but clearly there are many other factors which affect a car’s overall desirability.”

“The specialist, informed knowledge of our respondents means this survey can safely offer sound advice to anyone looking to buy in the current used car market”.

Warranty Direct’s unique website lifts the lid on the reliability and associated repair costs for hundreds of vehicles.

Winners and Spinners of each category


The Categories

The Winners

Percentage of Votes for Winners

The Competition




Nissan   Micra (23%)

Rover   25 (6%)

Vauxhall   Corsa (0%)

Fiat   Punto (6%)

Small Family

Ford   Focus


Honda   Civic (13%)

Citroen   Xsara (0%)

Skoda   Octavia (35%)

Fiat   Brava (0%)

Family Car

Honda   Accord


Volvo   V/S40 (10%)

Toyota   Avensis (6%)

Ford   Mondeo (33%)

Vauxhall   Vectra (6%)

Compact Executive

BMW   3-Series


Jaguar   X-Type (3%)

Lexus   IS 200 (35%)

Audi   A4 (10%)

Mercedes   C-Class (10%)


BMW   5-Series


Mercedes   E-Class (14%)

Volvo   S80 (6%)

Jaguar   S-Type (3%)

Audi   A6 (19%)


Vauxhall   Zafira


Ford   Galaxy (10%)

Fiat   Multipla (13%)

Volkswagen   Sharan (6%)

Renault   Espace (32%)


BMW   X-5


Toyota   RAV4 (22%)

Mitsubishi   Shogun (10%)

Mercedes   M-Class (10%)

Honda   CR-V (26%)


Mazda   Mx-5


Mercedes   SLK (3%)

MG   TF (3%)

BMW   Z3 (3%)

Porsche   Boxster (29%)

Mar 302004

OFTUsed car buyers are being urged to consider the OFT’s advice on checking the terms and conditions of new car warranties.

Independent automotive warranty provider, Warranty Direct, believes the OFT’s current campaign needs to be extended to the 5m people who buy a used car from a dealer every year.

OFT research suggests that over two thirds of motorists assume their warranty will be invalidated if they use a garage outside of the manufacturer’s approved network.

“Franchised dealers are fully aware that the average consumer has a limited understanding of his or her rights when it comes to servicing a warranty,” explained Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct. “As a result, they play on the car owners fears. The argument that independent garages will provide substandard work simply doesn’t wash.”

“The fact is many employ ex-franchise trained technicians or are part of well established nationwide chains, like Unipart Car Care, which adhere to stringent quality controls.”

He added: “In this instance, the OFT has got it right. Publicising the rights of the public to consider independent garages and instil some long overdue competition into the marketplace. The real problem, however, is that the restrictions and pressure is at its worst in the used car segment.”

Dealers, both franchised and independent, control over 90 percent of sales of used vehicles aged 0-2 years, 80 percent of those aged 3-5 and somewhere close to 60 percent of 6-8 year old cars.*1

“People still prefer to buy a used car from a franchised dealer, which, in the majority of cases, is sold with a warranty wrapped into the price. Here, owners need to check that the policy does not come with any restrictions – something very few do, to their cost later on.”