What should I do when I’ve had my car for 12 months?

Time can move pretty quickly when it comes to a new car. At first, you’ve got that new set of keys in your hand and the road is calling. But those months move by fast and before you know it, you’ve spent a full year with your new set of wheels.

But what happens at this point? Is there anything you need to do, or would you fancy swapping your car for a different model? Let’s take a look at your options.

Does my car need servicing after 12 months?

A lot of cars require regular servicing, either every 12 months or by a set number of miles required by the manufacturer. So it’s worth double-checking if your car needs some routine work done to it in order to make sure that it’s in perfect working order.

Routine servicing can help avoid any potential mechanical headaches down the line, while also ensuring that key components are checked over. Mechanics will be able to highlight any larger issues - such as tyres that may need replacing - at this point, too.

Does my car need an MOT after 12 months?

If your car is used, then it might’ve been sold with a fresh MOT when you bought it. However, once a year has passed, you’ll need to put it through its MOT test again. The MOT takes into account various parts of your car’s make-up. These include the exhaust, windscreen, wipers and washers, and the lights, too - though the full list is very exhaustive.

You can find the full list on the government’s website. Remember, if you don’t have a valid MOT certificate then you could be liable for a £2,500 fine. However, you are able to drive your vehicle to a pre-booked MOT test without a valid certificate - if you’re stopped by police, you will have to produce a valid appointment booking.

If your car was brand-new when you purchased it, it won’t need an MOT for another two years, as current legislation says that new cars don’t need an MOT until their third year. You could however choose to have one before then just for your own peace of mind, but there is no legal requirement to do so.

Do I need to insure my car every 12 months?

There’s a good chance that you took out a new car insurance policy when you bought your car, and with most policies being 12 months long, it’s likely that it will be coming to an end once you’ve passed that year mark. It’s a prime opportunity to shop around, looking for the best deals among the many suppliers around.

Don’t be tempted to allow your insurance to automatically roll-over, either, as it’ll stop you from getting the very best deals. Remember to note down that extra year of no-claims, if you’ve had an incident-free 12 months, as this will bring down premiums further.

How often should I review how much my car costs to run?

Once you’ve been driving a car for a year it can be a good opportunity to take a look at how much it is costing to run. Over 12 months you’ll be able to calculate what you’ve been spending on fuel, how many miles you’ve driven and how the car’s tax adds up too.

In doing so, you might be able to see if it would be a better option to swap your car for a cheaper, more efficient model in order to save money. On the flip side, you might’ve saved yourself enough money to consider upgrading or opting for a larger car.

How do I know if I should upgrade my car after 12 months?

If you’ve lived with a car for a year you’ll have a great insight into its quirks and abilities. Perhaps it hasn’t been quite as practical as you thought it might have been, or its boot has been a little too much on the small side of things on several occasions.

It might be that it hasn’t been as fuel-efficient as you would’ve liked. Taking these reasons into account, it might be a good opportunity to sell your car and swap it for a new one. With used car prices still very high, it could be possible to sell your car for a slight profit, too.

The process of upgrading or switching your car is an entirely personal one, perhaps you’ve had a brilliant 12 months with your new car and are looking forward to the next year of driving it.



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