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16% of motorists plan to downsize to save costs

Rebecca Kerr - 16th August 2017

Mike Brewer and Smartdriverclub offer top tips for used car buying


A recent survey[i] by Smartdriverclub, the UK’s first connected car service found that 16% of motorists are considering downsizing their car to cut motoring costs.  With sales of second hand cars set to reach record numbers this year[ii] Smartdriverclub and motoring expert Mike Brewer have joined forces to offer their top tips for buying a used car, with a list of essentials that used car buyers should consider when they are searching for ‘the one’.

Check out the value of your existing car. Look at websites and guides to see how much you should expect.  If you are a member of Smartdriverclub, you can get an instant valuation from capHPI.


Type of car. A car is something to depend on day to day so it’s worth doing researching and looking at different make and model specifications and reviews and match them to your lifestyle and budget.


Petrol vs diesel vs PHEV. The ban on new petrol and diesel cars in 2040 may make you think about trying a hybrid or electric car.  A plug-in car is a great option for city drivers with charging points in most major cities.


Buyer beware. If you are buying privately, consider a vehicle history check to ensure there is no outstanding finance on the vehicle, the mileage is accurate and that it is safe to be on the road. Clocking, cloning, ringing and cut ‘n’ shuts are all scams to trap used car buyers.  A vehicle history check will reduce your chances of being sold a lemon or losing your car and your money if it’s still on outstanding finance.


Professional Inspection. Consider paying for a professional inspection.  A little outlay could save you a packet in the long run


Insurance and Maintenance. Work out how much insurance will cost, annual maintenance plus road tax and MOT.  If you are a safe driver consider usage based insurance.  Smartdriverclub offers a discount of up to 42% for good drivers.


Check the Connectivity Potential. Check if the car can get a connectivity upgrade using the compatibility checker on  Connectivity makes a car clever by alerting emergency services in an accident, flagging mechanical problems, monitoring fuel and mileage, tracking the car if it’s stolen.


Do a test drive. Ensure you test drive the car before signing on the dotted line.  The look may be quite different from the feel and you may spot signs of emerging problems when driving the car for the first time.


Ask lots of questions if it seems too good to be true

Be suspicious of bargains.  Ask lots of questions and if you are unsure walk away


Buy from a reputable dealer. Buying from a dealer means the car is often under warranty and will have already had a vehicle history check.  An increasing number of dealers are also offering connectivity.


Mike Brewer says: “It really pays to do your homework when buying a used car and think about what you can do to make your driving safer and more cost-effective.  It’s certainly worth checking if the car could be given a connectivity upgrade to benefit from services like crash notifications and theft recovery – this will bring it on par with a much newer vehicle but without the heavy price tag.”

Penny Searles, CEO of Smartdriverclub adds, “Buying a used car can be both exciting and daunting but by following our tips and factoring in the addition of connectivity through a service such as ours, you can reduce the risks of the purchase and manage the ongoing running costs of the car.  Through a smart plug that takes less than two minutes to plug in, Smartdriverclub gives motorists a range of connected benefits including theft tracking, accident alerts, fault warnings, fuel tracking, business miles, plus the peace of mind of knowing where a family member’s car is located at any given time. It makes sense to make your next car a clever car by adding connectivity.”

[i] Survey base: 200 motorists.  Survey completed 9/5/17


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