Category: Advice

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Captain POM - Buyer Beware
I am constantly on the look-out for cars that have the potential to become a “Little-Belter”. Most of these I source from Franchised Main Dealerships via Trade Auctions. I recently spotted a 2007 Honda Jazz which met my criteria – or so I thought. Low miles – good history – only 2 owners – just the sort of car my customers would want AND it had an existing MOT until 31st October or did it? As ever I checked the MOT history before bidding – here’s what I discovered. The MOT expiry date was 31st October 2000 BUT on the 6th of October, it had gone in for an MOT and FAILED. There was a list of items requiring attention – some minor but some more serious – one was categorised as DANGEROUS. So what’s the Big Deal? Setting aside the technicalities of whether or not this car still has an MOT – the fact is it is clearly not roadworthy – had this car been involved in an accident would the Insurers have paid out? There is one other aspect to this story – You might have expected that for the sake of good practice the Main Dealer would have declared this in their description – sadly not. Dave Woolf

For me, one of the best measures the Government has taken to help protect car buyers is their “Check the MOT history of a vehicle” website…


All you need is the Registration number of the vehicle you are thinking of buying – go to the site – press Start Now – enter the number – press Continue – this page will give you basic details of the car – then press MOT history – and there you have it. Virtually a complete history of the results of all the tests carried out. Not only does it include whether it was a Pass or a Fail – it lists the Failure and Advisory items.

This is incredibly useful – here is an example.

Checking out one of the Closed Auction sites I came across a 2005 Chevrolet Matiz SE+ – surprisingly these are very popular as a very cheap run-around. This one had all the

It would seem that the days of Diesel and indeed Petrol cars are numbered. As a parent and grandparent, I cannot help but applaud this. However it was not that long ago that we were all being encouraged to buy Diesel cars and as a result, there are a great number on the road. To scrap them all overnight is neither economically or environmentally viable. I would expect they will be with us for some years to come with a gradual decline in numbers as they are not replenished by new diesel cars.

So where does this leave us? Over recent months I have seen an increase in Diesel cars coming onto the second-hand market at much lower prices than would have been the case a couple of years back. Many of these are good reliable cars with useful life left in them.

Here is a case in point:

I have just sourced the following

Reviewing Reviews

Reviewing things before you buy is now a way of life for many consumers – now, I am not exactly sure what an “App” is but my wife tells me you can “upload” lots of them some will tell you all about the best products and prices and where to find them.

Good job these things didn’t exist 44 years ago when I asked her to marry me!

If buyers check on the price of an item costing a few pounds – well you would imagine the same research goes into high cost items – like cars.


Online Reviews

Fact is, I am not sure this is always as useful as it appears. Here’s a little exercise I carried out…

I took a popular car which would be in plentiful supply – that would provide me with a number of different sellers I could then take

You can't make a Silk Purse out of a Sow's Ear!
We do not sell New Cars – we do not sell nearly New Cars – In fact we don’t sell very many nearly – nearly New Cars. Our primary market ranges between £1000 - £3000. This invariably means cars will mainly be around the 7 – 12 years old age group. As such it is likely they will have some “age” related blemishes – in other words, they may have the odd scuffs – scratches and even the odd dink.  It would be disingenuous to “pretend” any different. We do our best to make all our cars as presentable as possible – jet washing, waxing and polishing and if needed buffing and touching up paintwork. Wherever we can we look to avoid cars having to visit the body-shop other than for minor work. Some of you will have discovered for yourselves bodywork can be eye wateringly expensive. How many times after a slight bump has occurred have you heard those immortal words “I do not want to put this through insurance – I will pay for the bodywork myself” – then on seeing the Estimate have a change of heart! It is worthwhile pointing out that bodywork damage is a key factor in my buying criteria and I have had to reject many a good car because the cost to repair was uneconomic relative to age and value. I would also make clear I will not bu [...]
Captain Peace of Mind - Loves Fiat Pandas
I am frequently asked “which are the best cars?” – my response is always the same – the one that meets your needs the best! My point is this – before you can make a purchase you have to be clear on what you “need” – then hopefully you can have what you want. In my usual clumsy fashion what I am attempting to explain is this – my role is not just to sell cars of equal if not even greater importance is to provide advice. Now for those customers who know exactly what the want (and they rarely do) then fine my experience and knowledge is not needed. However - for those who are not so certain – I am here to make my views known and I can only give these by establishing individual needs.Not surprisingly most buying decisions are influenced by price – I do not recall many customer saying they wanted the very best and did not care how much it cost – even if they did I would struggle to believe them. There are times when I have to make it clear that what they are looking for does not exist – even though others may maintain it does. What has this to do with anything? Let me make clear buying a car is easy – take a look on Autotrader there are over 400,000 to choose from – BUT – buying the right car – now that is a different ma [...]
Some 6 months ago we made a conscious decision to stop buying Diesel cars. Now the reason for doing so now seem pretty obvious BUT at time they were not. Not only did we stop buying them we strongly advised those customers who wanted to purchase Diesel vehicles against doing so... Read more

Buying and Running a car can be an expensive business, especially if you’re a new or young driver.

It can also be a little daunting picking your 1st car, there’s so many variables to think about it can be a stressful experience if you’re in un-familiar territory. There’ll be no shortage of input from the family either!

One common thing I’ve heard is ‘You’re best off buying a new car so you know where it’s come from and you’re covered if anything goes wrong!’ that’s sound advice, but new cars aren’t exactly cheap for the budget conscious driver are they? There’s also the large matter of the depreciating value.

Did you know that a ‘new’ car loses 40% of it’s value within the 1st year? That’s astounding when you think about it. To buy a new car actually works out as a massive extra ‘cost’. It’s easy to see why many people will often choose

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