With the trend of leasing and renting vehicles both for business fleets and personal motoring, it’s easy to forget that not so long ago ownership of a second-hand car was the only vehicle ownership options.

The advantage is that you have and own an asset (minus any finance you may have) and you don’t need to worry about excess mileage charges or deductions for minor wear and tear at the end of the contract. Obviously, the downside is you will have more repair and maintenance costs, but this guide will take you through some of the basic tips for car ownership.

Keep Up The Routine Maintenance

It’s important to keep up with a few basic checks each week to keep your vehicle running in good condition. Check the tyre pressure, as not only could low pressure be dangerous it will cost you extra in fuel consumption as well. Check the windscreen washer as running out is both dangerous and actually illegal. Ensure the oil and radiator are both checked and topped up to avoid serious engine problems. Finally, check you have no blown light bulbs to ensure safe driving and avoiding tickets.

Maintaining a second-hand car is all about keeping on top of those small jobs. Proper care and attention will help it last so much longer.

Have A Good Relationship With A Local Garage

Firstly find a garage that suits you and look around the area as we hear car repairs can be a bit of a postcode lottery but with a bit of research and especially ask opinions of friends and family and you’ll hopefully find a reputable and honest garage.

You’ll get a feel for how they are when you interact with them and what you want is a garage that will be friendly, honest and explain what work is being done on your vehicle, even if you don’t understand it the fact that they are giving you details rather than just a bill says a lot! I have used the same company for garage services for both personal and business vehicles for many years and this relationship is key as they know me and I get good rates given the business we’ve given them over the years.

Ensure You Keep Up The Service Routine

It’s important to ensure you have your full yearly service and in-term services as this both ensures smooth running and also helps the re-sell value. It’s your call if you prefer to go to an official dealer for servicing or an independent local garage as the dealership will be more expensive but might be a prerequisite for maintaining your warranty or could preserve value to buyers better, but going independent will save you a lot of money and if done by a reputable garage you know well can be just as good quality of servicing.

Be Practised In Basic Roadside Emergency Procedures

Breakdowns are an inevitable part of life, if you drive for long enough it will happen to you, the key is to be prepared. Ensure you have a spare tyre, and a jack to fit it with and know how to do it. If you don’t, get someone to show you how and practice changing the tyre at home. Be sure to have a working and charged mobile phone with you when driving. Also, very importantly, ensure you have warm and waterproof clothing in the vehicle as you could be stuck outside of the vehicle if waiting on a breakdown service.

Ensure Your Tax And Insurance Are Up To Date

It can be a costly mistake to let your tax, insurance and MOT lapse as the fine can run to hundreds and the penalty points on your licence can be severe, there are plenty of online check services for these. So you don’t want to risk losing your licence which is key to so many of our daily lives these days, so keep a diary or calendar entry to remind you of renewal dates and don’t get caught out.

Do you have a second-hand car?