Buying a car tips


You don’t need to be an ‘auction professional’ to make the most of the huge range of used cars on offer at car auctions these days. As long as you do your research, take your time and keep your common sense around you, there is nothing stopping you bagging a bargain used car.

Here are a few tips on what to look out for at car auctions and how to ensure you get the best deal on the car of your dreams.

Make your purchase plan early

Don’t just jump out of bed in the morning and decide that you’re going to buy a car from a car auction today, without any idea of what kind of car you want and what purpose that new car must perform for you. It’s true that auctions have a huge stock of used cars, vans and trucks for sale on any one auction day, but having a clear idea of what you want – and sticking to it rigidly – will help keep you away from frivolous purchases that are way out of your budget and go against your buying plan.

What car do you want or need? Is it a family hatchback or saloon, an estate car with tons of space and a frugal diesel engine, or even a city car that’s good for nipping around your town? Decide well ahead of the auction as to a handful of models of the right kind of car, set your absolute maximum budget, and stick to that budget on the day of the auction. Self-restraint is everything.

Do your research before you go

Once you have your handful of models set out in concrete, it’s time to do your research thoroughly. Work out what you should be paying for these cars, up to your budget and no more. Perhaps go online and use a website like Parkers to get approximate valuations of potential cars.

See what age, mileage and condition your budget will get you for each model you have chosen, and use these figures as a guide on auction day. You can then work out how much you’re prepared to pay for each kind of car when you come across them on auction day. You’ll know a bargain then when you see one, instead of guessing what’s a good price, or what isn’t. You can also then keep an eye out for any known faults with the cars of your choice, once you spot them at the auction.

Stick to your budget

Set a maximum budget for what you want to spend, and stick to it. There’ll be other cars along and there’s always plenty of choice at auctions, so if the one you want has gone over your budget, bow out and let it go gracefully. Let your head buy the car and not your heart.

But don’t go too low

You might find a car that fits with what you want, and on the face of it looks like a good deal. But, if no-one is bidding on it, there may be a reason for that. Have you had a good look around this car before the auction? If you have and you’re certain that the car is as good as it looks, then bid away; it could just be that no-one else is interested in the same car as you. If this happens, it’s happy auction days!

Finally, here’s a funny video of the Top Gear guys at a car auction:

When buying your first car, judgment can be clouded by excitement and wonder. But, it’s not a good idea to simply go out and buy the first car that you see. Instead, you need to be doing some research. And, you need to see more than one car. It’s important to make sure that you’re choosing the very best option at this time. It can be hard for young drivers to get a car within their budget that fulfils their needs. So, to help you out, this post will be going through some of the things you have to consider when you’re buying your first car. Of course, your parents will probably have a thing or two to say, as well!

Safety should be your number one priority when you’re buying a car. You’ll probably be buying an older car if it’s your first one. So, you’ll be looking at cars that might not be quite as safe as newer ones. This makes it extra important to find the best example you can. Most countries have their own safety standards organisations. But, most countries will also look to NCAP for their opinion on a car. This organisation tests and checks every new car on the market. So, the odds of find thing the cars you like on their site is very high. You can compare and find the safest car with ease. And, you don’t have to pay for it.

Next, you should be thinking about economy. As mentioned above, most young people don’t have very much money. So, you will want to be looking for a car that doesn’t cost much to run. Usually, this will mean looking at smaller cars, with lower-capacity engines. These will cost less to keep fuelled, and they will also cost less on insurance. Most countries have different ratings for economy. So, you may have to do some research before you can find the very best economic option.

Mileage can tell a good story about a car. Usually, you don’t want to be looking at cars that have more than ten thousand miles on the clock for each year that they’ve been on the road. But, if you can get it lower than that; you might have found a winner. But, you can’t just rely on milage alone. You should also have someone come with you to see the cars you like to make sure that they are in good working order. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find someone in your family or friendship group who has the knowledge to help you here.

You’re most likely to crash your car within the first few years on the road. So, your first car is likely to take a bit of a beating. This means that it’s a good idea to look for cheaper options. You may need the help of poor credit car finance. So, in this case, you would want to be getting into as little debt as possible. Looking for a cheaper car can achieve this aim.

Hopefully, this will give you a good idea of what needs to be done while you’re choosing your first car. This can be a difficult time. Excitement is in the air. And, most people just want to get on the road. But, you shouldn’t let this cloud your judgement. You should be trying to get as much for your money as possible.

Some of us feel extremely sentimental about our cars, especially if we have had them for a long time. Every time we turn on the ignition we are filled with nostalgia about drives we’ve taken and places we’ve visited. Sadly, even with the best upkeep and care cars aren’t built to last forever. They wear out and become impractical to drive as often as we would like. Eventually, there comes a time when we need to replace our beloved older car with something more reliable. Unfortunately, this is difficult for some people to accept and their love for their car often causes them to be in denial. So if you or someone you know needs a reality check, take a look at these tell-tale signs that a new car is something you need.

You’re always breaking down

Older cars are expected to break down and need minor repairs every now and then. But if they are happening every few months, multiple areas of your life can be affected. Firstly it stops you from being able to drive anywhere, which can make it difficult to get to work or see friends. If major repairs such as replacing your exhaust system is needed each time, this can be a big drain on your finances too. If you know your mechanics contact details off by heart, this means you’re seeing them far too much. So get your car looked at to see what other potential issues you may have in future. If they think a lot of expensive repair work is needed to get it working correctly, replacing your car might be a more sensible option.

Your car isn’t fuel efficient anymore

As cars get older, they tend to becomes less energy efficient. This means that your car is using petrol at an alarming rate and needs to be topped up more frequently. It’s no secret that petrol prices can be extortionate, which isn’t ideal if you have to fill up your tank every few days. This adds to the costs of running your car and going to a petrol station continually can be inconvenient and frustrating. Newer cars are designed to be energy efficient, while also being more environmentally friendly. So replacing your older car with something newer can be good for the planet and your bank balance in the long run. Visit Saxton 4×4 or other car dealerships to see just how efficient newer models can be or read reviews online. You might be surprised just how little you have to fill up compared to your current car.

You’re paying more for your insurance

The older your car is, the more expensive it is to get it insured. This is because they are more likely to experiences issues. But also because they don’t have the same level of safety features that newer cars have as standard. Even if you are a model driver with no claims or points on our license, this won’t stop your premiums from increasing. Paying for insurance that continues to increase each year can be difficult for many people. Especially if you are already paying for expensive repairs and petrol. While you could use price comparison sites to try and get a better deal, you won’t necessarily save a great deal. So If you’ve noticed a steady increase in how much you are paying to insure your car, buying a new car could be a good solution.

Your car is becoming unsafe

If you use your car to transport your family or friends, safety should always be a main priority. But if your car is getting old, the safety of your vehicle might be brought into question. Your car may break down in a hazardous location such as on the motorway. If it’s an old model, the interiors such as the headrests and seatbelts might also have started to disintegrate. This can be particularly dangerous if you are involved in a crash as they won’t provide optimal protection. You can pay to have enhanced safety features added to your vehicle, but these can also be expensive to have installed. If you or your family ever feel unsafe when inside your car, an upgrade should be something you consider immediately.

If one or all of these signs sound familiar, replacing your old banger with a newer model is probably the best option. The memories you associate with this car will remain even after your car has been replaced. So take your car out for one last adventure and start searching for a new car that you can create new memories in.

Cars aren’t exactly the most common gift idea on the planet. But parents buying their child a car as a reward for something isn’t exactly unheard of. And hey, if you’ve got a spare few thousand burning a hole in your pocket, maybe you even feel like buying one for a friend’s birthday present!


Whatever the reason, people are buying each other cars quite often. And, of course, as with any gift, we’re always wondering if there’s a way we can make it a bit more special. It could certainly be argued that surely a car is enough. But here we’re going to throw around a few ideas that may inspire you to add a little something to the gift.

Add driving lessons

As referenced to earlier, most people who buy someone else a car are parents buying their child a car. A lot of the time, it’s to celebrate the teen having passed their driving test. But getting a teen a car to celebrate them getting to legal driving age is also quite common.

If you’re in the latter category, then why not include driving lessons with the car? After all, if they don’t have the lessons then how are they supposed to drive it? You can purchase several hours of driving lessons in one go and present the proof to them.

Get it in their favourite colour

Of course, the most important thing about any car is that it functions beautifully. But when people haven’t picked out the car themselves, they may feel a bit sensitive about the colour. Some people will buy a new car and will be able to select the desired colour right off the bat. But if you’re buying it secondhand, you might not have as much choice.

Consider getting a new paint job for the car. If you’re not sure what colour they’d like best, try to find ways to sneakily get the info out of them before you make the purchase.

Include fun additions

Everyone has smartphones now, which means that everyone has an MP3 player of some kind. Consider getting an audio system installed that allows for plug-in and play functionality with phones and iPods. It’s a great way to allow them to play their own music in their ride, which is, in turn, a great way of getting them comfortable in it.

What else is fun? A customised number plate. If you can think of a particular phrase they’d like or a set of characters that are important to them, look into private number plates.

Vouchers for car services

Eventually, they’re going to have to get the car serviced. It’s just one of the annoying realities of owning a vehicle. While it’s probably not going to be on their mind when you give it to them, it is somewhat of a burden.

So here’s an idea. Why not give them some vouchers so they can save money on local car services? You can find deals for chip repairs, money off of new tyres, even car insurance! It will seem like a small gift, but it will come in so useful eventually.

While it’s hardly the norm anymore, many parents want to buy their kids their first car. It does make for a great gift when they’ve passed their driving test. But deciding on a car to buy your teen can be a pretty nerve-wracking experience itself. How many times have we seen in films or on TV an eager teen being disappointed by the banger their parent bought them?

Obviously, your child should just be grateful that they’ve got a car at all! But if you are concerned about the kind of car you want to get your child, check this guide.

Consider speaking to them

Here’s a novel idea – have you thought about asking them about the kind of car they want? Many people want to totally surprise their kid with the new car. Of course, this is understandable. But if you find yourself really concerned about what you’re going to get, why not get more information from them? They could already be dropping hints, so make sure to listen and take mental notes. You could try trying to get the info from them without giving away your plans, but that could be pretty difficult. So think about simply talking to them straight-up about the kind of car they want.

Don’t let the media dictate your decision

There are a lot of ways the media can influence you in this decision. It can make you ignore what your child wants and make you purchase something you’d think they want. The fact that those Fast and Furious films have made billions of dollars doesn’t mean you have to get your kid something flashy and ridiculous. And the fact that your child is a girl doesn’t mean you should buy them a pink car. Don’t fall back on popular assumptions. If you’re really unsure, see the last tip!

Remember that you can customise

Maybe you’ve found the perfect used car, from a mechanical point of view. But if the colour of the car is your child’s least favourite colour, then you’re going to be tempted to walk away. Not so fast! Remember that you can alter aspects of the vehicle. You could change the colour of the car with a new paint job. You can get a private number plate if you want to add some uniqueness or novelty. You could replace the leather with other materials if your child has an ethical problem with leather.

Provide them with helpful material

You should consider providing three things with the car you buy for your child. Get them a good mapping system so they can feel more confident finding their way. You could look into GPS or even provide them with those old-school map books. Give them all of the informative reading material that came with the vehicle. They should know exactly how that car works. And don’t hog all the insurance information! It’s sometimes tempting for parents to leave the legal side away from their kids, to save them the hassle. But your kid should become accustomed to the insurance world as soon as possible. Oh, and if you want to remind them to drive safe, make sure to put a copy of the Highway Code in there. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it, or at least lovingly roll their eyes.

Every so often, every driver needs to change car. This could be due to a change or circumstances, such as a new arrival to the family, or because the current model is playing up. Either way, it’s a truly exciting time in your life. But it does come with an immense pressure to make the right decision.

Many drivers find buying a car to be stressful. But it doesn’t have to be. With this simple four-step guide, you should have no problems arriving at the perfect outcome.

Finding The Right Car

The most important feature of the new car is that it suits your needs as a driver. Different people use their vehicles for different reasons, so finding one that ticks your boxes is a must.

Popular cars sell well for a reason and are always worth a look. However, there’s a whole world of information at your fingertips, and you should make good use of it. This will help you make a far more calculated decision.

Before making your final choice, though, it’s imperative that you take the car for a test drive. The perfect car on paper isn’t necessarily the perfect one in real life.

Negotiating A Deal

Money plays a crucial part in any car purchase decision. Therefore, it’s imperative that you give the financial aspects careful consideration.

For starters, you should understand the various types of car finance to work out the best way for you to buy the motor. If you are still unsure, then feel free to ask a friend or relative. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Meanwhile, you should always try to haggle on the price. For the sake of asking a few questions, you could save hundreds. It has to be worth a punt.

Selling The Old Car

In addition to acquiring the new car, you’ll also want to get rid of the old one. After all, there’s no point paying for the tax and insurances for a vehicle that you’re no longer using.

Most drivers will want to hold off until the new car is available. It’s not a bad choice as rental vehicles can be expensive. One option is to part-exchange the current model if buying the new one from a dealer. Alternatively, you could try to make a private sale.

Be warned, though, it involves a lot of paperwork. Meanwhile, you should be prepared for the buyer to argue they want a refund. If you’ve got an older vehicle, car scrap is probably the best and easiest option to take.


As already mentioned, no two drivers are the same, and we all have different needs. After investing heavily in the car itself, it would be foolish not to make the final steps to create the perfect ride.

There are plenty of gadgets designed to make driving more comfortable. Whether it’s a Sat Nav system to plan long journeys or a DVD player to keep the kids occupied doesn’t matter. The key is to find the products that will enhance your experience.

These little perks are what make a good car a great one. Don’t underestimate how important they can be.

As exciting as buying a new car is, it’s a process that is also met with a lot of fear. This is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make for years, and it’s vital that you get it right.

With so many factors to consider, it can feel rather daunting. However, those pressures shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the process. The key is to equip yourself with a strategy. Get this right, and you should find yourself driving away in the perfect vehicle.

Prioritise Practicality

As any driver knows, it’s far too easy to let your eyes fall in love with a particular motor. However, it’s imperative that you realise that the car’s function is far more important than a snazzy exterior.

Make a checklist of what you need from the car and work from there. For example, families in the city will benefit from a Honda FIT as it’s compact yet offers great internal space. The key is to find a solution that is suited to your specific needs as a driver.

This is arguably the most important part of the whole process. After all, there’s no point having a motor that isn’t fit for purpose. Be sure to take it for a test drive too. There’s nothing worse than owning a car you don’t enjoy driving.

Understand Finance

Most drivers will take the time to consider their options when it comes to models. What many fail to do, though, is allow themselves to weigh up the different financial options.

First of all, you should be asking yourself whether to buy new or used. While the feeling of driving away in a brand new car cannot be topped, it is worth noting that the novelty value soon wears off. Once it does, you’ll be left with a car that has depreciated massively. In many cases, going for a nearly new alternative is the best option.

More importantly, though, you need to discover the different types of finance packages. The choice you make could genuinely have a huge impact on the purchase. Furthermore, you should try to understand the different bonuses that are included. Those free services soon add up.

Think About Character

It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a new car or a used one; you want it to feel personal. The motor plays an integral part in your daily lives. After spending so much money on it, it would be foolish not to unleash its full potential.

Making small upgrades to make the car feel unique to you is a must. There are many ways to improve the drive, and the key is to think about which ones will benefit you. A Sat Nav might sound great, but it isn’t really needed if you only ever drive around town. Conversely, a family that takes regular trips should make it a priority.

The personalisation is about making the car feel more comfortable. But you must always put some thought into the potential resale too. You aren’t going to have this car forever, so don’t upgrade it in a way that will prevent the future sale.

Every year around 6 million used cars change hands. Most of these sales run smoothly, going off without a hitch so both the seller and buyer end up happy with the transaction. However, sometimes problems can occur, so it pays to think carefully about the best place to go when looking for a second-hand car.

Private sellers

You’ve probably driven past parked cars with a ‘For Sale’ sign and price in the window. Some people list used cars in local newspapers and the internet is becoming increasingly popular. You can find private sellers everywhere but however you find them, you should always take care before completing a purchase.

Private sellers are only legally obliged to have the right to actually sell the vehicle, to make sure it is roadworthy (unless it is being sold specifically for spares or scrap) and to give an accurate description of the vehicle, which is usually ‘sold as seen’. It’s generally a good idea to have a vehicle checked out by an independent mechanic. As well as a thorough mechanical inspection, you should get a car history check to help rule out problems such as buying a car that has been stolen, or which still has debt attached.


Car auctions can be another great way to pick up bargains, but they’re not recommended for the inexperienced. The terms and conditions of an auction can vary but, as with a private seller, a vehicle will usually be sold as seen. Some auctions may also include guarantees or warranties for an extra fee, but these will usually be limited as to what they cover. You will have the opportunity to inspect the car before bidding so make sure you know exactly what to look for on the bodywork and under the bonnet, or take somebody who does.


Dealers and used car programmes can be a far safer solution when it comes to buying quality used cars. You might pay slightly more but there are several benefits. Firstly, there’s likely to be a larger choice, meaning you are more likely to find a specific car if that’s what you’re after. Dealers are also bound by the Sale of Goods Act and the requirements of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. Dealers must prepare a vehicle before sale, which will mean checking the mileage has not been tampered with and running checks to ensure it has not been stolen. Many dealers will also offer their own range of guarantees, warranties and mechanical and other checks.

Shopping for a new car shouldn’t be as hard as buying your first one. Purchasing your first car is a big decision that often involves a lot of tedium and frustration. Buying a new car on the other hand, isn’t quite as bad, as you’ve been through the storm before.

Before you start shopping around, it’s vital that you decide what kind of car you want and how much money you’re willing to spend before you step out of the house or log on to a dealership website.

This is half the battle. If you know exactly what vehicle you want, it’ll make your search for a new car much, much more bearable and easier, so you can focus on other things like searching for the best car loan to go with.

Beware of the car dealer

No matter how amicable your car dealer may be, you should always remember that at the end of the day, the salesperson’s mission is to make as much cash as possible over every single deal. Your mission, on the other hand, should be to try and get the lowest possible price.

As long as you meet halfway, with you getting a good deal and the dealer making a small profit, everyone’s happy. You should beware of the add-ons the dealers will attempt to push for at the last stages as well as your salesperson palming you off to a ‘closer’ at the end, who specialises in high-pressure strategies to make you pay for more.

Timing your purchase

Most dealerships operate on a month-to-month basis, meaning that they will most likely accept lower offers towards the end of the month, just so they can hit their goals. If you visit a dealership on the last weekend or day of the month, you’ll find that the salesmen will be ridiculously flexible.

Better yet, visiting a dealership at the end of a quarter will get you some very surprising deals. You’ll find that the salesmen will be very accommodating, particularly with throwing various discounts into the mix.

Use the Internet

Of course, you could choose to avoid the dealership altogether and dive into the Internet for better deals and used cars. There’ll be fewer overhead costs and no commission to pay any salesmen. Overall, you can be sure that you’ll have some extensive reductions in price if you go with an online dealer.

What some people do is find quotes online and then take them to the dealership. If you’re lucky, they might match the price. As long as the seller believes you’re exploring other options, they’ll be willing to negotiate.

I’ve always found that buying a second-hand car, as opposed to a new car is generally a better deal – as long as you’re prepared to shop around to find a vehicle that’s in good condition for its age.

The main advantage to purchasing a used car is that it’s much cheaper than driving a shiny new model off the forecourt.

However, there are some risks involved with going down the second-hand route, so here are a few things to bear in mind when you begin searching for your next motor.

Know what you want 
As there are so many cars on the market, it helps to know what you want before you start looking. Carefully consider what you’ll use your vehicle for. This means thinking about things like whether you need the extra space an estate model affords or if you can manage with a hatchback, how far and how often you’ll drive it and whether it needs to project a professional image for work purposes.

You should also calculate your budget and make sure you stick to your uppermost figure. While it can be tempting to view used cars that are a little bit more expensive than this in the hope that you can negotiate the price down, it can be a slippery slope that sees you overspending.

Always view the car 
I can’t stress how important it is to thoroughly inspect any used car you’re considering purchasing. You should look at the condition of the car – both in terms of its outward appearance and its mechanics – to decide whether the price being asked for it is fair.

If you want extra peace of mind, ask the vendor if you can drive the car to a mechanic you trust who can give it a once-over and let you know whether there are any serious faults that need to be fixed. This will mean you can make an informed decision about whether to walk away from the purchase, or to negotiate with the seller on how much you’ll pay for the vehicle.

Another reason to view the car you’re considering buying is to check that both it and the vendor match the description given in your local newspaper or online. For example, you should always compare the mileage advertised with that in the vehicle, as well as looking through its service history and list of previous owners.

Research the seller 
When you’re buying a used car, it isn’t only the vehicle you should be checking out, but also the person selling it. This is especially the case if it’s a private sale, as you’ll need to know that the auto in question has not been in any accidents, is not stolen and is legally owned by the vendor.

If you are buying your car through a dealer, do some reading to be certain the company is reputable. Choosing to purchase a vehicle from this kind of firm can be beneficial in many ways, as they typically have a wide range of motors, the cars tend to be reasonably new and have usually had a full service and MOT before being put on the market.

Used car dealerships can also help you arrange a finance package to make your purchase possible if you need to. For example, at CarShop you’ll find a range of second-hand vehicle financing options to help you get the motor you need at a good price.