Here at Advanced we genuinely want you to enjoy the buying and ownership of your car. To help you, we have collated some hints, tips and advice and these can be found by following the links below. If you have any questions not covered in these pages, please call us on 020 8888 1110 and we will be pleased to help.
Car Buying Guide
Here is some practical car buying advice to help you minimise the risks car sales.
Buying a used car should be a pleasurable experience, after all it is a purchase that in expenditure terms is probably second only to the purchase of a house.
Car Data Checks
An RAC Car Data Check (020 8888 1110) can offer affordable peace of mind quickly and conveniently. They can check details of the car you wish to buy against HPI’s vehicle information database and provide you with a full report. They can tell you if the car you are thinking of buying is reported stolen, has been “written-off” by an insurance company, or still has finance outstanding.
An RAC Vehicle Inspection (020 8888 1110) enables you to buy with confidence and make the purchase a pleasurable experience. After you have identified the vehicle of your choice, they can book a comprehensive inspection, which can normally be carried out within 48 hours.
Your Rights Buying from a Dealer
Dealer sale rights
Purchasing from a dealer
Generally regarded as the safest way of buying a car as the law affords the maximum protection against “dealers”. However it is worth noting that legal rights may only be enforced against a business which is still in existence and as such your extended legal rights will count for very little if the garage business has gone bust or mysteriously disappeared since you brought the vehicle. Look for an established recommended business for additional security.
The car must to confirm to any description it has been given or representation made regarding its condition or history – to this end if the car is described as having had a reconditioned engine fitted, and this should turn out not to be the case, then the car has failed to conform to its description or has been misrepresented and a claim for compensation or rejection/rescission might follow. The representation must have been made prior to the sale, relied upon and must have been a factor inducing the buyer to purchase the car.
The car must be of “satisfactory quality and fit for the purpose intended” – the car must meet the standard expected for a vehicle of its description, price, age and mileage. A brand new vehicle should be in better condition than a 10 year old second-hand car. For example, a nearly new second-hand car purchased at premium market rates which, within a few days, develops a defect that would never usually appear on such a low-mileage vehicle, does not meet this standard. Failure to comply with this requirement (which cannot be excluded with signs such as “sold as seen”) is a breach of your rights, for which you may be entitled to compensation or your money back.
The car will usually come with additional warranty/mechanical breakdown insurance – terms of these vary but they usually exclude “wear and tear” and they may also have a limit to the amount of each claim or the number of claims that may be made. It is essential in every case to check these terms carefully to see what you are entitled to.
It is important to remember that the rights detailed above are independent of each other so if you are not covered for a defect under one of the above headings then you should try another.
Preparing your Car for an MOT Test
We hope the following MOT guide will help in preparing your car for its MOT
VOSA logoThe Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) supervise the MOT scheme to ensure that the 18,000 garages authorised to carry out MOT’s are doing so to the correct standards. This is done by:
- – documenting all test methods and standards
- – approving and training Authorised Examiners and Nominated Testers to carry out MOT tests
- – authorising MOT test stations and Nominated Testers
- – monitoring standards of MOT garages and tests
- – providing seminars and other advisory services
- – dealing with appeals and complaints from MOT customers
- – where necessary, taking disciplinary action to improve testing standards and raise levels of compliance.
More information can be found on the VOSA website
There are six parts to the test
Front and rear lamps etc, headlamps, headlamp aim, stop lamps, rear reflectors, direction indicators, hazard lamps, rear fog lights.
2. Steering and suspension
Steering control, steering mechanism/system, power steering, transmission shafts, wheel bearings, front suspension, rear suspension, shock absorbers.
3. Tyres and wheels
Tyre size/type, tyre condition, road wheels.
ABS warning system/controls, condition of service brake system, condition of parking brake system, service brake performance, parking brake performance.
5. Seat belts
Mountings, condition, operation, position.
Driver’s view of the road, horn, exhaust system, exhaust emissions, vehicle condition, mirrors, fuel system registration plates and VIN numbers.
- – From 18 April 2005 the MOT was computerised. This means the old certificates were phased out and a new receipt style MOT certificates were issued. It is no longer necessary to rely on the MOT certificate as proof of MOT status, as the definitive proof of a vehicle’s MOT will be held on a secure central database. Checking the MOT Status of a vehicle is quick and easy by either visiting www.motinfo.gov.uk or by calling 0870 330 0444. To check the status you will need the registration mark of the vehicle and either the document reference number from the V5C registration certificate or the test number from the new receipt style MOT certificate.
- – The test is not the same for all vehicles and certain types due to their age and design when produced may have exemptions from some aspects of the test or a greater tolerance level or failure limit. The MOT tester inputs the relevant vehicle details to produce a test schedule that is specific to the vehicle presented. Should the vehicle not meet the required standard the reasons for failure will be recorded on the system and a printed V30 handed over.
- – This mainly applies to Classic and Vintage vehicles, however proof of first registration year and production may be required. If in doubt check with your local test station prior to an examination.
- – For private motor vehicles a valid test certificate is required on the third anniversary of its first registration. However, it is now possible to have a vehicle tested up to one month prior to this date and to have the expiry post-dated to the original registration day.
- – The same also applies to the following year’s tests, thus enabling owners to have time to rectify any failures that a test might find and to have a retest prior to the expiry date of the current certificate, without any loss of certificate length.
- – Should a vehicle not have a current MOT it must not be used on the public road. However, to ensure you are legal when re-presenting the vehicle for an MOT retake you must book an appointment and record your name and vehicle registration at a local test station, prior to driving the vehicle there.
- – Should the vehicle fail, you will be issued with a VT3O Certificate stating the items causing failure. Be sure you are clear as to what rectification is required for a pass to be issued. In certain cases expert or special services may be required regarding emissions or welding.
- – Current re-test conditions and fees involved will be posted at the MOT test centre.
Pre test checks
- – A vehicle that is in good condition, that has been regularly serviced and maintained to manufacturer’s specification, should be able to pass the test. However it must be remembered that items can deteriorate between services and tests.
- – The condition of corrosion is not easily checked and is best left to be examined during the test.
- – Items which can be easily checked by the owner or driver such as lights, windscreen washers, wipers, horn, mirrors, seatbelts, fuel and tyres (including pressures) should be done so regularly and just prior to the test. It can be very frustrating to receive a failure for one empty washer bottle, a torn wiper blade and stop lamp bulb not working, not least illegal.
- – Get someone to stand outside the car while all lights front, rear and hazard are checked. Replace or repair if broken or faulty.
- – Ensure that the number plates and the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) plate are clean and legible.
- – Remember to check indicators.
- – Check suspension by applying your weight to each corner of the car then release. The car should settle down quickly.
- – Check the operation of footbrakes and handbrakes. Also check Anti Lock breaking systems (ABS) light operation if fitted.
- – Check that seatbelts operate correctly.
- – The examination of the tyres does not include the spare. A tyre depth of 1.6mm is the legal minimum requirement. Check tyres are inflated making sure they are not damaged. Whilst the spare tyre is not part of the test it is to be advised that a correctly inflated and legal tyre should be carried.
- – Check the driver’s view for damage to the windscreen. Testers will check that damage is no larger than 40mm in the whole of the swept area of the screen and that in the central view of the driver, called Zone A which is 290mm wide (within the swept area and centred on the steering wheel), any damage is no larger than 10mm wide.
- – To check the exhaust start the engine and from the rear of the vehicle listen for excessive noise which could indicate an exhaust leak. Emission checks are an important part of the test. Regular servicing should alleviate problems with emissions.
- – Check under the bonnet to ensure that the brake fluid reservoir, windscreen washer bottle and engine oil reserves are topped up correctly.
- – A general check around the vehicle should be made to ensure that the car’s fuel cap is secure, mirrors are in good condition, wipers are not damaged, or split and locks work.
Make sure you take your V5C Vehicle Registration Document and current MOT certificate to the test. The MOT Test is not a substitute for the servicing of a vehicle or a statement of the condition of a vehicle offered for sale.
Car Maintenance Advice
Carrying spare bulbs for your car is always very handy. In fact, on mainland Europe it’s compulsory to carry an emergency bulb kit. Just put them in your boot and make sure your owner’s manual is handy so you know how to fit them.
Check your car’s oil level when the engine is cold. If you do it after the engine’s been on, the oil may be deposited higher on the dip stick and, on some vehicles, could give a false reading.
Try to avoid hitting your tyres against kerbs, especially when parking. It can cause the tyre to weaken without showing any damage on the outside.
Check your spare tyre from time to time as you never know when you might need it. And it’s an offence to fit a spare that’s not roadworthy.
Don’t just use screen wash to stop your water freezing in the winter. It’s great at removing insects from your windscreen in the summer too.
We recommend you change your wiper blades every six months, even if they haven’t been used very often. This is because the rubber deteriorates over time when exposed to the atmosphere.
Source: © RAC – An Aviva Company
For free advice on car maintenance please call us on 020 8888 1110