The Ultimate Guide To Buying A Used Car

If you’re looking to buy a used car, it’s important to make sure you are fully informed about the condition of the vehicle.

When Is The Right Time To Buy A Used Car?

If you’re looking at a car with a private seller rather than with a dealer there will always be less scope for a good deal. A private seller, after all, is only looking to sell his car and not to meet sales targets as dealers do. With a dealer, it may be easier to drive a hard bargain, especially in some particular parts of the year.

Car dealers have sales targets to meet, usually, these targets are based on a quarterly time frame. Dealers will often make an extra push for sales at the end of each quarter to hit the target or even break it. That means you can normally get the best deals towards the end of each quarter in March, June, September, and December. Make sure not to leave it too late, though, as dealers may have already hit their targets by then and will be less inclined to do a deal.

Also, use to your advantage times that are traditionally slow in terms of sales. Generally, dealers are more inclined to negotiate during summer holidays or around Christmas. During those times there will be less potential buyers around.

Also, bear in mind that there is an ideal time to buy certain cars. Whilst it is an appealing idea to jump on the bandwagon common knowledge is that autumn or winter is normally the time to get the best deal on a convertible. At this time sellers will find it much hard to sell these cars than in summer.

Discussing Other Benefits

If you’re buying from a dealer it’s worth pushing the salesman a bit further than the deals offered. For example, ask for any warranty and financing options available. It may just be that you could walk away with a much better deal than you thought! Just remember, dealers have sales targets to meet, and options will be available to them to help them sell more cars.

Walking Away

If you’re not happy with the deal offered, it might be good to retreat and simply walk away. If the deal just isn’t right it’s worth just leaving it and looking for another car. Just remember, if you can’t find another car you like, you can always return to the initial car. A seller may have changed their mind by then.

Of course, if the seller just fails to address any concerns raised about the condition of the car then chances are the seller wants to hide something on his car. In those cases, it’s good to just walk away, keep in mind that there are always other cars around.

Our 4 top tips to keep in mind before buying a used car:

  1. Keep your options open

    The first step is to research the resale prices for the car model you have in mind. Make sure you shop around and find a couple of cars of the same model for sale and arrange to view them. That way you can compare the condition of each of the cars and get a feel on whether they are worth the money. It’s a good idea to check a few cars, instead of going for the first car you see.

  2. Checking vehicle details

    The DVLA has a free online vehicle information checker. You’ll need the registration number of the vehicle to access this. The information provided should match the seller’s information. The checker will also provide past results of MOTs done in England, Scotland or Wales since 2005 where applicable.

  3. Take it for a test drive 

    Driving the car can help highlight problems that you would simply just not notice when the car is stationary. Strange noises like squeaks or clunks can indicate that there is something wrong with the car which usually warrants further inspection. Check our guide on test driving a used car for more tips on how to make the most of a test drive.

  4. Get a pre-purchase inspection

    Before you commit to buying the car, it is recommended that you have a pre-purchase inspection carried out by a professional. After all, it is a significant investment and you’d want to ensure you’re aware of any potential issues the vehicle might have. The technician will conduct a thorough, unbiased review of the vehicle’s condition and will help you understand if you’re getting good value for money.

ClickMechanic can help with a Pre-Purchase Inspection, with three different levels of inspection to suit your needs. A pre-purchase inspection report will be sent to you which thoroughly outlines the condition of the car so you can be confident you’re making the right purchase.

Once you’ve bought the car, what’s the best way to minimise the effects of depreciation?

Did you know that new cars can lose around 20% of their value in the first year after it was bought, and will lose around 50% of their initial value in the first three years of ownership? In fact, cars lose value the moment they’re driven off the dealer forecourt.

While there’s not much you can do to fully prevent depreciation as a car owner, however, there are a few ways you can maximise the resale value of your vehicle.

5 ways to minimise the effects of car depreciation

  1. Pay Attention to the Mileage

    One way to limit depreciation is to keep the mileage under the average miles per annum. The more miles you have on your odometer, the more likely it will be that it will depreciate in value.

  2. Clean Up

    Make it a part of your routine to keep your car clean which will prevent building up of grime and unpleasant odours inside the car. Keeping your car clean and tidy and in great condition will help limit depreciation.

  3. Avoid Non-Standard Modifications

    As exciting as an aftermarket body kit or a new set of aftermarket alloy wheels may sound, it can tend to narrow down the pool of potential buyers for your car in the future, making it harder to sell and most likely driving down its value.

  4. Maintain Your Car

    A full-service history gives potential buyers peace of mind. Remember to keep all your car documents including service records and receipts. The recommendation is that drivers should service their car every 12 months or every 12,000 miles. However, you should check your owner’s handbook for the vehicle and follow the advice it gives on servicing. At ClickMechanic, we provide three levels of servicing – an interim, full or major service.

  5. Research Before Selling

    If you’re looking to get the best price for your car, consider doing a bit of research to see what’s the best time to sell your car. For example, convertibles tend to be in higher demand during the summer months.

Book Your Pre-Purchase Inspection Now

Is Your Car’s Air Conditioning Ready For Summer?

Car air conditioning

With summer 2021 truly here chances are you’re going to reach out to turn on the air conditioning more often while driving. Whether you’re planning a weekend trip or even a routine grocery haul, we recommend checking your car’s air conditioning so you don’t get caught out struggling behind the wheel on a hot summer day.

To help keep you cool while driving during the summer months, we have launched a range of new air conditioning jobs. If you haven’t had your air conditioning checked this year, then now is probably the time.

Remember, most car manufacturers recommend that the air-con system is regassed (also known as a recharge) every 2 years. A regas can help ensure the system can perform optimally and can even help improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

  • Why carry out an air conditioning anti-bacterial clean & health check?

    Factors such as moisture, dust and other impurities in air-conditioning systems can encourage bacteria. Foul smells and poor air quality can aggravate allergies and infections. Doing an anti-bacterial clean of the air-conditioning system regularly not only reduces bad odours but also protects the health of your vehicle.

  • Do I need an air conditioning regas / recharge

    A tell-tale sign your car needs an air-con regas is if the air from the vents is blowing warm air or is not as cool as it used to be. Even if you don’t use it as often, air-con systems need regular servicing and maintenance. Most manufacturers recommend an aircon regas is carried out every two years, so if you can’t remember the last time you did it, it’s worth getting it regassed. Ultimately this can help improve the performance of the air-con system and can contribute to improving your vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

  • How much does an air conditioning regas / recharge cost?

    ClickMechanic offers air conditioning regassing across the UK at a fixed price, which depends on whether your vehicle takes R134a refrigerant gas or the R1234yf refrigerant gas found on newer vehicles:

    • R134a regas: £69.99
    • R1234yf regas: £134.99

It’s super easy to book with ClickMechanic. Just tell us about your car, input your postcode and pick a time, date and location. You’ll get an instant fair price to book an air conditioning regas service by a vetted mechanic.

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EV and PHEV: Repairs and Servicing Explained

Electric VehicleTaken the plunge with an electric car yet? Or still thinking about an EV for your next choice of wheels? Either way, car owners are left with questions about what happens with repairs and servicing after the purchase. The good news is, with fewer moving parts, there’s probably less that can go wrong with an electric car.

We answer some important questions you may have about Battery Electric Vehicles (EV) and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) repairs and servicing:

  • What happens to the electric battery warranty? 

    When you purchase an EV (Electric Vehicle) or PHEV (Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle) there will be a separate warranty for the vehicle’s battery and electric motor components. This warranty is often longer than the warranty on the rest of the vehicle mainly to minimise the concerns of potential owners. Each manufacturer will also state what percentage of battery storage is considered acceptable after a certain period of time.

  • Can I get servicing done for parts other than the vehicle’s electric motor(s) and battery?

    The EU block exemption rule, retained in UK law, allows owners to have their vehicle’s servicing done outside the manufacturer’s dealer network. In the case of PHEVs it means that you can have the petrol or diesel engine serviced, brake pads and discs etc replaced without it affecting the vehicle’s warranty and more importantly, the vehicle electric motor(s) and battery warranty.

  • Who can I use to provide routine servicing and maintenance on my EV/ PHEV?

    Providing the vehicle’s high voltage system doesn’t require powering down, it is the same as any non-EV/ PHEV vehicle. As long as they are VAT registered, use OEM parts (Original Equipment Manufacturer) or OEM equivalent quality parts you are free to use any service you wish. It is recommended that you keep all details of the work and any part numbers that were used to avoid problems with warranty claims – which is a standard recommendation for non-EV/ PHEV vehicles as well.

  • What servicing can I get done on my EV/ PHEV?

    Any servicing required of the petrol or diesel engine* (PHEV only), brake pads and discs, tyres, exhaust and items such as bulbs and windscreen wipers.

    *The EV system will still require any maintenance checks done by the dealership according to their schedule.

  • And what work can I NOT get done on my EV/ PHEV?

    For anything that requires the high voltage system to be powered down and routine checks and maintenance of that system. We would recommend that you check the details of the terms and conditions of your vehicle’s electric battery warranty to see further details on this.

At ClickMechanic, we can help with repairs and servicing for your EV/ PHEV with a 1-year warranty on parts and repairs. Head over to our website, tell us about your car and a vetted mechanic can carry out a repair or service at your choice of time and date.

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6 Tips To Get Your Car Ready For The Summer

Get your vehicle ready for the summer

Holidays in the UK are back on with the travel rules being relaxed since May 17. If you live in England, Scotland or Wales you are free to travel anywhere within those countries bearing in mind certain rules and guidelines. With summer just around the corner, this means more trips to scenic places and longer drives! However, with a rise in temperatures coming up, your vehicle might need some attention before you head out on a trip.

Here are some tips to ensure your vehicle is ready for the summer:

How to get your vehicle ready for the summer

  1. Check the coolant

    Check the level of the coolant in the expansion tank. This will be clearly visible in the engine bay as a medium-sized tank of fluid. When cool, the level of the coolant should be between the Min and Max lines. If it is lower than the Min, you could be losing coolant, so we recommend getting this checked by a mechanic.

  2. Battery condition

    If you have noticed that the engine is taking longer to start or is noticeably slower to turn over, it may be worth considering a new battery now rather than risking it.

  3. Check the engine oil & repairs

    Whilst the engine oil’s main function is to keep all the parts running smoothly, it also contributes to keeping your engine cool. The engine oil disperses the heat that is generated by the engine as it runs. Remember, an engine low on oil can overheat and will not lubricate effectively. So don’t forget to check that, when cold, the oil is between the Min and Max on the dipstick. If you are low, top it up, but keep re-checking and avoid overfilling.

  4. Auxiliary drive belt(s)

    Traditionally called the fan belt or serpentine belt, this is the only belt that you can see in the engine bay. Make sure there are no threads hanging off and that it feels tight if you push against it. If it is loose, you may need a new tensioner and if there are threads hanging off, it can indicate you need a new one. Do it before a long journey as a break can mean you lose the battery charging, power steering, air conditioning etc.

  5. Tyres

    Check the tyre pressures are correct, not only for the vehicle but also that they are adjusted to the recommended level for the additional load if appropriate. Details of this will be in the vehicle handbook but are usually also on the vehicle itself, on the door or door frame or inside the fuel flap. Also, make sure they have plenty of tread!

  6. Screen Wash
    Top up the screen wash reservoir. Make sure the spray pattern is good and that the wipers clear the screen effectively without smears – this is the UK after all so it is bound to rain when you are away!

Vehicle Health Check is a great way to ensure your vehicle is in good condition. Head to our website and a vetted mechanic can carry out a contact-free service at your choice of time and date.

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5 Reasons You Should Service Your Car Regularly

Header image

As a driver, you’ve probably wondered, “my vehicle drives fine, do I really need to service it?” or “I passed my MOT, why should I service my car?”

Just like regular health checks for your body, your car needs a check-up too. Car manufacturers recommend regular service checks to help maintain the safety and overall reliability of your vehicle.

As a rule of thumb, the recommendation is that drivers should service their car every 12 months or every 12,000 miles – whichever comes first – depending on what type of service you require. However, you should check your owner’s handbook for the vehicle and follow the advice it gives on servicing.

  1. Save money on potential repairs in the future

    The technician checks various parts of the vehicle for any signs of wear and tear or if any parts need attention. Having minor issues identified and dealt with during a service can prevent them from escalating into major repairs in the future.

  2. Make your car last longer

    A well-maintained vehicle will reward you by being more reliable, and typically it will last longer as well.

  3. Save money on fuel

    Carrying out regular maintenance and servicing can help improve the efficiency of your vehicle and bring down fuel consumption. Even something as basic as having your oil changed on schedule can positively impact overall fuel economy.

  4. Safety

    The technician will carry out a range of checks depending on the service level chosen; ClickMechanic offers an interim, full or major service for your car. These checks are an important part of any service alongside any routine parts replacements and fluid top ups as they can help identify key areas on the car that require further attention.

  5. Resale value of your car

    Buyers of used cars will likely be questioning the history of a vehicle before making a purchase. Any vehicle that has a comprehensive service record will typically have stronger sales potential than a car without a service history.

If you’re looking to book a service, ClickMechanic can help. To place a booking, head to our website and a trusted mechanic can carry out a contact-free service at your choice of time and date.