Buying a used car

Autumn Budget 2017: what tax changes mean to car owners and buyers

Autumn Budget 2017

Electric car drivers are the big winners from the 2017 Budget

Electric car drivers are the winners; diesel drivers the big losers in the Autumn Budget 2017. However, things aren’t as bad as expected for diesel car owners with Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond rowing back from an anticipated increase in fuel duty. Here’s how drivers will be hit by the announcements made in the Autumn Budget 2017.

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A year of complaining: how the Motor Ombudsman helps drivers

A year of complaining: how the Motor Ombudsman is helping drivers

Dealing with complaints for an entire year probably won’t seem like anyone’s idea of a good time. But that is exactly what the Motor Ombudsman was set up for. And after a year of resolving disputes between drivers and garages, the organisation says complaints remain high.

Founded last November, the Motor Ombudsman is a voluntary and fully impartial private sector organisation to regulate the motor industry. With a code of practice set out by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, it offers drivers a free dispute resolution service. This covers areas including car sales, servicing, repair, and warranty problems. Read on to find out what’s been driving motorists round the bend in 2017.

What is making people complain?

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Clocking and keyless car theft: new report warns drivers about car crooks

car crooks

Clocking a car is now easier than ever with a laptop computer

Drivers are being urged to keep their eyes open in an effort to beat car crooks. A new investigation has found villains are benefiting from car clocking not being thoroughly policed. They can then profit from selling mileage-altered motors illegally. And car owners have been warned to stay up to date with manufacturer recalls designed to thwart thefts of models featuring keyless entry.

The failure to crack clocking

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Buying a cheap car? Use this to avoid scams and choose with confidence

Buying a cheap car? Use this checklist to buy with confidence and avoid scams

Finding a cheap car isn’t difficult. There are more than 800,000 used cars for sale at any one time on websites such as Auto Trader, eBay, Exchange & Mart and Gumtree. And that’s in addition to other online sales sites both locally and nationally.

Buying a good one, however, calls for drivers to do their homework. We’ve created this checklist to help drivers buy the best motor for their budget and sort the good from the bad and the downright ugly.

Research the best cheap car for your needs

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New insurance categories to make write-off cars easier for buyers to spy

insurance categories

It might not take that much damage for a car to be written off. But can it be put back on the road?

From October 2017 onwards, the insurance categories for damaged cars change. Where once these categorisations went neatly from A to D, they now go A, B, S, and N. The classes have been changed in a bid to ensure fewer dangerously crash-damaged cars end up being put back on the road. We look at what’s been done, what it means for drivers and whether it’ll make a difference.

What are insurance write-off categories?

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Smoking harms car resale value. How to spot a smoker’s motor

Smoking

Smoking isn’t just harmful to you and your passengers

We all know smoking is bad for us. But now there’s conclusive evidence that it’s harmful to our car’s health as well. Anyone who partakes in the evil weed will realise that smoking is an expensive hobby. But the impact on our pocket doesn’t stop with buying tobacco or cigarettes. It can keep on hurting us financially when we sell our cars too.

A new report by car valuation experts CAP HPI reveals that cars can lose as much as £2000 off their resale value if they’ve been smoked in.

Why does smoking in cars hit their value?

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Buyer beware: how to spot a used car that’s been cloned

Buyer beware how to spot a used car that's been cloned

Buy a cloned car in good faith and it is likely to be impounded by the police, and you’ll have nothing to show for your money

Most people will be familiar with identity theft. Criminals gain valuable sensitive information about an individual in order to impersonate them and take out loans or credit in their name. But how many drivers have heard of cloned cars? And even if the expression is familiar, how do you tell a fake, cloned car from a genuine model?

A cloned car is a model that has been stolen then given a new identity. This is generally by replacing its number plates with those from a car that’s the same make, model, colour and even age. It means that the car won’t register as dodgy in basic ID checks such as those from police Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras.

It’s a problem that more drivers need to be aware of. Last week, eBay hit the headlines after it was revealed that organised criminals in Manchester had been using the popular car buying site to sell stolen cars as legitimate vehicles.

It means that when drivers fail to conduct full and thorough checks of a used car, they can end up handing over a small fortune for a car that will be taken off their hands by the police, leaving them with no car and no money. Meanwhile, the crooks vanish into thin air.

One victim, a retired police officer, lost £17,000 buying a Mercedes. Another paid more than £18,000 for a BMW that turned out to be stolen and was soon returned to its rightful owner by police, leaving him penniless.

These are the steps every used car buyer should take to protect themselves from buying a cloned car.

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Buying used cars: how to spot a bad one

Buying a used car: how to spot a bad one

British drivers like to make their money go a long way, which is why most of us buy used cars. Around 7.2 million are sold every year, compared with 2.6 million new models. And because a new car can’t have been crashed, clocked or cloned, this means the majority of car buyers are vulnerable to unscrupulous sellers trying to pass off a bad used car as a good one.

There are all sorts of tricks of the trade that can be employed to pull the wool over the eyes of a used car buyer. The Green Flag blog has covered some of the important checks that drivers should carry out before parting with their cash for a car. But here we’re looking at less obvious tips that can help drivers spot a bad car – also known as a dud, or lemon.

To make sure your next car doesn’t leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth, read on.  Continue reading

Why October is a great time for a used car bargain – and how to haggle with dealers

Used car bargain

What driver doesn’t love bagging a used car bargain? Saving thousands of pounds can give a warmer glow than spending two weeks on a sun lounger in the Med. And there are few better times of the year than October to buy a great car at a knockdown price.

Every March and September, the registration prefix changes for new cars. It’s a way for drivers and the motor trade to differentiate between the age of cars, and in a nation obsessed about keeping up with the Joneses, the effect is to create dramatic seasonal spikes in new car sales.

This is great news for the canny car buyer. The market is flooded with second-hand cars that have been traded in as a part-exchange, and when there’s more supply than demand, car dealers have to pull together some seriously competitive deals to help sell all that second-hand stock.

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New car add-ons: Do you really need them?

new car add-ons

They might not be smiling as much when they realise they’ve paid over the odds for a product they don’t need…

September is one of the busiest months for new car sales. For the tens of thousands of drivers upgrading their car, one thing’s certain: they won’t escape the dealership without being offered a host of new car add-ons which will come with the promise of protecting their investment. But do drivers really need them?

For sales executives, extras such as GAP insurance, wheel and tyre protection, an extended warranty and pre-paid servicing are ways of getting extra money out of customers. Just as extended warranties are a tried and trusted means of electrical goods retailers getting customers to pay more for their purchases, so are new car add-ons. We look at the most popular and assess whether they’re worth ticking on the list or flicking and ignoring.

New car add-ons: servicing packages

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