Buying and selling

Buying a used car? Our tips should help make it easy and trouble free

buying a used car
Buying a car should be the start of a beautiful friendship, not a relationship to regret (Picture iStock/1001nights)

Research by Green Flag suggests that almost a third (32 per cent) of Britons are now planning to buy a new or used car to avoid exposure to COVID-19 on public transport.

It doesn’t matter whether a car is brand new or not, getting a new motor should be a joyful moment. After all, it’s got to be better than the old smoker it’s replacing. To ensure it is, follow the tips below on how to buy a used car.

Research is rarely wasted

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Changes to Euro NCAP crash tests may harm ratings of large SUVs

crash tests
Changes include smashing into a moving object to make crash tests more realistic (Picture: Euro NCAP)

Testing how cars behave in serious crashes has undergone the biggest shake-up for a decade. The Euro NCAP safety ratings have been overhauled to make them more relevant to the kinds of cars that are now popular.

The independent assessments show in an easy to understand way how cars respond in crashes. They are important in helping car buyers to compare the safety of different vehicles. Read on to see why the new changes could affect you.

What are the main changes?

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Surveys reveal most reliable cars and best garages

reliable cars
Coming out of lockdown it’s important to have a trustworthy garage (Picture iStock/FG Trade)

Reliable cars are vital for most of us. And garages plus the quality of service they offer are just as important. The last thing you want is to buy a new car and find that it either lets you down or when you need help, the garage offers shoddy service.

There’s an easy way to discover how dependable cars and their dealers are and that’s by asking the people with real-life experience of owning the cars. This is where surveys come in. We’ve combed reports compiled by Auto Express and What Car? to distil the information you need to know if you’re buying a new car.

Best garages

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Insurance groups: what are they, who sets them and which is your car in?

insurance groups
How cars behave in crashes is fundamental to which insurance group they are in (Picture iStock/monkeybusinessimages)

If you’re thinking of changing your car, how much you pay for insurance may be important to you. To help with this, all cars sit in insurance groups. Knowing about a car’s grouping will enable you to do an accurate, back-to-back comparison with other models you might be interested in.

Read on to find out what an insurance group is and how to find out what group a car is in.

What is an insurance group?

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Is it really possible for the UK to go all-electric by 2032?

all-electric by 2032
From 2032 this could be the reality for new car buyers (Picture iStock/PlargueDoctor)

Electric cars are the future of motoring. The government has revealed that petrol, diesel and hybrid cars will be banned from sale by 2035 at the latest. And it is aiming for new car sales to be all-electric by 2032.

It’s certainly an ambitious target but is it possible? In 2018, the Confederation of British Industry described making electric cars affordable as ‘the biggest challenge since the space race’. Has it got any easier since then? And will car companies be able to cope with the added demand? Read on for some answers.

Are there enough charging points?

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Tomorrow’s world today: new technology we’ll see on our motors in 2020

new technology
Cars monitoring their driver for tiredness is becoming increasingly common (Picture Mazda)

The car industry is developing new technology faster than ever before. Here we investigate some of the great kit that will be fitted to new cars and should be available to buyers during 2020. It’s making cars ever safer and more user friendly. Read on for eight innovations that are on their way.

Upgrade your car after you’ve bought it

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Cars are ‘better value for money’ than they were

value for money
New MINI has much more kit that its 60-year old predecessor (Picture MINI)

If you’ve decided 2020 is the year you’ll upgrade your motor, you could be in for a nice surprise. On paper, cars might look scarily expensive. But they’re actually more attainable for most of us than they’ve ever been. And new research suggests they offer better value for money too.

When we buy a modern car, there’s a very good chance it’ll be safer, comfier, more reliable, better equipped, more environmentally friendly and use less fuel than its equivalent from previous decades.

Car maker Mini has found proof of how the real cost of cars hasn’t really increased over the last 60 years, despite dramatic improvements in technology.

The cost of cars in 1959

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New MOT test is tougher but more cars pass it

new mot test

The government revamped the MOT test in May 2018 to make it tougher. But its first year in operation has seen a significant decrease in the number of vehicles failing the annual test.

Under the previous rules, around four in 10 cars (about 40 per cent) that took their MOT every year failed it. However, the first year of the new tougher test saw only about one in three cars (33 per cent) declared unroadworthy by testers.

Millions of cars taken off the road

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Car recycling: find out what happens when your car is scrapped

Modern scrap yards don’t look much different to old ones. But they must recycle extensively. (Picture Honda)

Thankfully, we’re becoming more aware of the impact the things we make and use have on the environment. And that includes what we drive. Car recycling is now a vital part of the motoring process. Here’s what it involves and the lengths the industry takes to recycle your car.

Goodbye scrap yard

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Punctured tyre? We look at the best solutions

Punctured tyre
This doesn’t have to be you if you’ve had a puncture (Picture iStock/Bobex-73)

Had a punctured tyre recently? If so, how did you deal with it? Chances are you didn’t change the wheel at the roadside. Not because you couldn’t be bothered but because spare wheels are considered old tech by most car makers now.

More than 90 per cent of new cars are sold without a spare wheel as standard. Drivers can often specify one as an optional extra (they cost between about £100 and £300 depending on the car), so it’s worth checking whether that box has been ticked by a previous owner if buying a used car.

If it hasn’t, what are your choices and are they any good? We investigate three puncture solutions.

What is a run-flat tyre?

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