Looking after a used car

How to keep your car in good condition

We’ve put together the best advice for keeping your newly financed car in top condition and avoiding costly repairs.

Costs expected with a used car

The first thing to note is that you’ve financed a used car. This means that it is likely that you will need to pay for a few repairs or maintenance over the years that you own it.

Here's the best way to think about: It is like you’re renting a house, you’ll need to paint, decorate or fix a couple of things throughout your time living there.

Keeping on top of car maintenance

Remember, you’ve bought a car that has a history so this needs to be considered, not just the mileage you’ve put on it.

The Number 1 Car Loan Company. Read more

If you’ve not yet bought your car then our biggest advice is that you consider all factors:

  • Age
  • Mileage
  • Does everything work how you want it to?

Wear and tear on used cars

Below we’ve listed some of the most common issues or replacements that will occur with older vehicles. These class as standard ‘wear and tear’ and are to be expected at some point with older cars.


The older your car the more your clutch will have been used. It will need replacing eventually, although it may not be during your ownership.

Brake pads

These are parts that are going to be used a lot, in fact, every time the car is used. They will wear down with age.


We all know household bulbs don’t last forever, it’s the same with cars.

Windscreen wipers

After several years you will need to replace these just to get a streak free wipe and ensure you’re able to see if it rains.


This is something that is highly dependent on driving style (boy racer versus Miss Daisy) and you may never experience issues with it.

How to minimise issues with your used car:

Make sure you drive enough

We find that a high proportion of the issues our customers face are with DPFs (Diesel Particulate Filters). If you have a diesel car but only use it during city driving or use it for 5 miles per day.

When you have a DPF issue your car will omit black smoke and will eventually stop working or cost you thousands of pounds to replace.

If you’ve got a diesel you need to make sure you drive long motorway journeys often.

How to look after a used car

Get regular MOTs and services

Although a service is not required by law it is advisable that you do one every year as it contains extra checks to keep your vehicle in top condition.

A service will check things like your brakes, suspension or lights and flag up things which are likely to go wrong or need replacing, this could give you time to save up for a replacement rather than unexpectedly need to take it into a garage.

How to keep a car in good condition

An MOT will simply state your car is OK to drive, there are no checks on individual elements or parts so by the time it needs fixing it could be too late.

Top up your liquids

Whether it’s oil, water, antifreeze or coolant there are certain things which need to be monitored regularly and it’s your responsibility to top them up.

Looking after a used car

As soon as you get your car you should do a once over and check the levels of all liquids and top them up where necessary.

If you don’t do that much driving you probably won’t have to touch anything but if you do a good bit of distance it is recommended you check it once per month.

Don’t ignore warning lights

We once heard from a customer who had smoke pouring out of his bonnet as he had warning lights on the car for three weeks but had simply ignored them as he didn’t understand them. Warning lights are in cars for a reason. Get them checked out.

What you can do with an old car. Read more


Inflate or replace your tyres

You’ll find a list of the minimum and maximum tyre pressure for your vehicle at the station, online or on the side of your tyres. You need to make sure all your tyres are of equal pressure to feel the benefit.

Use the 20p test to see if you have enough tread:

Tyre tread check with a 20p coin

When you buy a car, whether new or used, you take on a good bit of responsibility. You will need money to spend on it every now and again to avoid bigger issues later on and keep it running as it should.

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