How to look after a used car

From fluid top-ups to checking your tyre pressure, this blog covers everything you need to know about looking after a used car!

How to look after a used car

Keeping your car in tip-top condition

If you want to avoid costly repair bills from the local garage, the best way to do this is to keep on top of maintenance and repairs. After all, prevention is better than cure!

Wear and tear on used cars

The clutch, brake pads, suspension, light bulbs, and windscreen wipers are all common parts of a car that are expected to need a replacement (or two) during its lifetime - this isn't necessarily going to be during the time you own the vehicle.

Top tip

When you buy a car, it's always worth taking the time to read the fine print on the warranty as there may be a limit and/or excess charge for claims, and there might even be issues that the warranty company won't cover at all.

Buying a used car on finance

When you buy a used car through Hire Purchase, you're responsible for making sure it's taxed, that you have the right level of insurance, as well as booking and paying for any MOTs, services, and repairs your vehicle needs throughout the term of your finance agreement (and beyond). 

Minimising issues with your used car

1. MOTs and services 🔧

Although a service isn't required by law, it's advised that you get one at least once a year. When you get your car serviced, a mechanic will check things like the brakes, suspension, and fluid levels, and flag up things which are likely to need replacing. 

An MOT is a legal requirement and simply states that your car is OK to drive. If your car fails its MOT, you won't be able to drive it again until the major and minor issues are rectified, and it passes an MOT test.

Top tip

When you buy a used car, make sure to familiarise yourself with any routine maintenance recommended by the manufacturer, i.e. timing belt replacement intervals. 

2. Fluid top-ups 💦

Whether it's oil, water, antifreeze, or coolant, there are a number of fluids in your car that you need to keep an eye on and top-up as and when needed. 

There's no rule as to how often you should check the fluid levels in your car, but if you drive regularly, it's recommended that you check them at least once a month to make sure you're not running your car on low levels, which can cause issues.

3. Mileage usage (diesel cars) ⛽

If you have a diesel car that you only use for the school run or weekly food shopping trip, you might find you have an issue with your diesel particulate filter (DPF) sooner rather than later - this is because you're not doing enough mileage for the diesel soot to be filtered properly.

A DPF issue is quite easy to notice - your car will omit black smoke and eventually stop working altogether. Unfortunately, this is one of the more expensive parts to replace, costing drivers between £1,000 and £2,000. 

The solution? It's pretty simple! Just make sure you're driving regularly for at least 20 minutes at a time.

4. Warning lights 💡

It's something none of us want to see when we're behind the wheel, but warning lights should never be ignored! The issue(s) behind warning lights can be identified from your car's manual (or by a qualified mechanic). Actioned quickly, the issue(s) shouldn't cause any long-term damage to your car.

5. Tyre pressure 💨

If your tyres don't have enough air in them, you're a risk of losing grip of the road when driving. This not only increases your braking distance, it also means your more likely to have an accident.

You can usually find a list of the minimum and maximum tyre pressure for your car on the side of your tyres or somewhere inside of your vehicle. Alternatively, you can use Kwik Fit's online tyre pressure search feature - all you have to do is enter your car's number plate into the search bar and it'll show you the tyre pressure for your vehicle.

Did you know... not having enough air in your car tyres increases your fuel consumption? Check out our 'Fuel saving tips' blog to find out what you can do to make your fuel go further!


Check out our 'Top tips for driving in winter' blog to get the answer to all your winter driving-related questions! 👈


Information includes references to:

The Car Expert - Are diesel cars suitable for city driving?

CarDoc - Diesel Particulate Filter > DPF Replacement Cost UK

Michelin - How and when to check your tyre pressure?

Advice | 29.06.23

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