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Tips on buying a used car

Now that you have passed your driving test, then next step is to get your first car. As it is your first car, it can get a little expensive. It’s not just the car purchase, but insurance and tax, plus running costs. Unless you’re going to get insured for your parents car, then you will be lucky to get a car on the road for under £800.

So, what would be an ideal first car?

Hatchbacks are the most popular choices for first time buyers, with the Toyota Yaris, Ford Fiesta or Ka, Peugeot 206 or Vauxhall Corsa. These types of car are cheap to buy, low on road tax and insurance. They generally have quite small engines making them quite economical too.

Look in your local paper or Auto Trader publication. Auto Trader also provide a web site for car sales. Ebay can also offer some bargains.

MOT and servicing

If the car you are interested in is 3 years old or more, then it will need to have a valid MOT certificate in order for it to be driven on the road. A Ministry of Transportation test or MOT is compulsory for older cars to ensure that they are safe to be driven on public roads.

A new MOT test certificate is valid for 12 months, so when inquiring about your car, ensuring that it has a current MOT certificate for as near to 12 months possible is a must. Getting a car through it’s MOT can be expensive. You may be able to pick up a bargain if a car has little or no MOT. This can of course be a gamble and could cost you more in the long run.

Also enquire if the car has any service history. A car service includes an oil change, spark plugs and filters. Generally this should be done around every 12 months. So finding a car with partial or even full service history suggests that the car has been looked after.


If you’re under 25 and you’ve only just passed your test, you will find that most insurance quotes will be high. As with MOT certificates and Road Tax, it is a legal requirement to have car insurance. There are 2 types of insurance cover for your car. Fully comprehensive and and third party fire and theft. Fully comprehensive covers your car in an accident whether it’s your fault or not. Third party only covers the the other person(s). Quite often third party can be the cheaper option. What ever option you choose, if you’re a young driver who’s just passed your test, then it is going to be expensive.
Looking around for quotes can save a lot. Online web sites such as Money Supermarket or Confused will help you search for the best deals. You can then quite often choose to pay your insurance premium monthly if you wish. Many supermarkets also provide car insurance.

Road tax

As well as all your other expenses, you will now also need road tax. The price of road tax varies depending on what car it is and fuel emissions. For further help with road tax and keeping the cost down, please visit our road tax advice page.

How do you afford all this?

Of course choosing the appropriate first car will save you a fortune on tax and insurance. Putting some time aside for getting insurance quotes can save you a surprising amount. Also look at paying monthly. A budget of around £800 – £1000 to spend on your car should get you something decent. If buying from a commercial premises, they often can provide their own finance schemes, although bank loans can often be cheaper interest rates as well as supermarkets.