FAQs when buying a vehicle online

Browse through all of the FAQs relating to buying your next vehicle.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to look for when buying a used car?


Buying a car should be fun; it’s meant to be an exciting time, after all who doesn’t look forward to a new set of wheels; however, there can be pitfalls and when you’re making what will be one of the most expensive purchases of your life, you need to make sure you buy the car that’s right for you.

Do plenty of research, remember what your ‘must haves’ are, use your head and don’t get led by your heart, follow our tips on what to look for when you’re buying a used car and you’ll be buying with confidence.

What are the advantages of buying a used car?

A car or van will depreciate in value the most in the first three years of its life; buy a used vehicle and you’re getting a great vehicle, whilst avoiding the largest losses. For some though the opportunity to order and spec up their own car and have the new car drive away experience outweigh the undoubted savings on depreciation.

Are used cars reliable?


Of course, different makes and models vary in their reliability, this is true of both new and used cars. Buying an approved used car, means the car will have been subjected to strict checks giving more reassurance. You can always take a look at the Reliability Index Top 100 here to see how the used cars you’re looking at fare.

What is a pre-registered used car?


Dealerships may register cars to themselves in order to reach a manufacturer target. These cars are then offered for sale having done delivery mileage only, but with a discount on the cost if purchased as a new car. Is there a catch? If you buy a pre-registered car you will be the second registered owner, the dealership will be the first, but you will save on an identical ‘new’ car.

What is a nearly-new used car?


Nearly new cars usually represent good value for money against new cars. They may be a pre-registered car, see here, an ex-demonstrator which the dealership has used for customer test drives or an ex-staff company car. Mileage can vary between delivery mileage only to just a few 1,000.

What is an approved used car?


Approved used cars will have undergone the manufacturer’s rigorous inspection programme and any faults will have been rectified. An approved used car will also come with a warranty and may have other added peace of mind extras such as roadside assistance; this means an approved used car will cost more than one which is not manufacturer approved, but will come with added peace of mind.

What checks are made on approved used cars?


Every manufacturer has a different inspection programme for their approved used cars. All cars which have a manufacturer approved used car seal of approval will have undergone a mechanical inspection, with any areas not up to manufacturer standards having been rectified. Checks vary from brand to brand but will typically include checking all mechanical parts and their operation; all bulbs; tyre tread depth; brakes and bodywork. Manufacturer’s only give their seal of approval once these extensive checks have been passed. You can see the Volkswagen checklist here.

How can I prepare ‘my perfect used car’ checklist?


To avoid being seduced by a slinky coupe, when what you really need is a spacious SUV, make yourself a checklist of your absolute must haves and ideal preferences:

  • Do I need a big boot, for prams, paraphernalia, sports kit, luggage etc?
  • Is it friendly for a young family?
  • Is it spacious enough for teens?
  • Do you mainly do short or long journeys?
  • Do you tow a caravan or trailer?
  • Do you want an eco-friendly car?
  • Is fuel economy important to you?
Keep these questions at the forefront of your mind and that way you’ll end up with the car or van that fits your lifestyle.

What to include in a checklist for buying a used car?


Once you’ve found what you think is the perfect car you need to look at it with a critical pair of eyes, to make sure that you’re fully happy:

  • Check the mileage tallies with service documents and with the wear and tear on the vehicle
  • Take a close look to see if there are any dents, scratches or dings you would like addressing
  • Step back and make sure all the panels look the same colour
  • Check for larger than normal gaps between panels which could indicate the vehicle has been repaired
  • Check the oil level with the dipstick
  • Turn the lights on to make sure all the bulbs are working
  • Make sure you test all the gadgets during your test drive, including things like the radio and Satnav
  • Check the tyres to make sure they have sufficient tread and inflated correctly

Which are the top selling used cars?


Swansway sells many different makes and models and many are very popular as used cars; our best-selling used cars include:

  • Volkswagen Golf
  • Volkswagen Polo
  • Fiat 500
  • Audi A1
  • Audi A3
  • SEAT Ibiza
  • Citroën C3
  • Peugeot 3008
  • Range Rover Evoque
  • Jaguar F-Pace

What costs do I need to think about?


It’s always best to have a monthly budget for your car, but remember paying the monthly finance payments isn’t the only expense you need to budget for; here’s what you need to take into consideration:

  • How much will the monthly fuel bill be?
  • How much is the insurance going to cost?
  • How much will the VED, road tax to you and I, be?
  • How much will the car or van cost to service?
  • How much will tyres, brake pads etc cost?

Can I test drive a used car?


Yes, you can test drive any Swansway Motor Group used car with pleasure.

What things should I look out for on a used car test drive?


Here are 5 things to check on test drive before you even move off:

  1. Is the vehicle the right size to fit into your garage/allocated parking space?
  2. Does it have sufficient boot space for what I need?
  3. Are the doors and hatchback easy to open if you’re juggling shopping and/or a child?
  4. Is it easy to fit the child car-seat in that you are using or proposing to use?
  5. Is the driving seat flexible enough to allow to sit comfortably and safely behind the wheel?

Here are 5 more things to consider when you’re behind the wheel on a test drive:

  1. Check the brakes by doing an emergency stop when the road is empty.
  2. Check the suspension to see if it’s comfy over bumps and round corners.
  3. Are there any irritating noises or rattles coming from the engine or elsewhere?
  4. Does the clutch, (if there is one) feel smooth.
  5. Check the handbrake and clutch work, by doing a hill start.

Can I get finance on a used car or van?


Dependent upon the age and mileage of the car you can use many different types of finance package to purchase a used vehicle, these include personal contract plans and hire purchase agreements, see our Finance page for further details. 

How do I get a valuation on my car?


We have a handy valuation tool on our website; alternatively, if you would like a definite valuation against a vehicle you’re interested in purchasing then come into to any of our centres and we’ll be happy to give you a valuation of your current vehicle.

Can I use my car in part exchange?


We accept all cars and vans in part exchange whether you are purchasing a new or used vehicle.

Can I lease a used car?


Not on a true leasing package, but you can on a personal contract plan, which is similar to a lease. See our Finance page for details. 

And finally, when you’ve chosen your used car, been for a test drive, selected the finance that suits you best and you’re off to pick up your new wheels:

Checklist for picking up your car


And finally, when you’ve chosen your used car, been for a test drive, selected the finance that suits you best and you’re off to pick up your new wheels. In all the excitement of picking up your new car or van, it’s easy to forget the documentation you need, so here’s a checklist:

If you’re using your current vehicle as part exchange you need to bring:

  • The V5 for the vehicle
  • Make sure the service book is in the car
  • If your car has an MOT certificate, bring that too

If you’re not using your current car as part exchange:

  • Bring your driving licence
  • If you’re a buying on finance, bring the documents which have been requested; this will often be 3 months of utility bills.

Make sure you bring this documentation, to avoid the disappointment of not being able to collect your new car.