This article was published on Thu 20 Aug 2020. At the time of publishing, this article was true and accurate, however, over time this may have changed. If you have any concerns about this please contact us

Buying a used car: how to make the most of your budget

Thu 20 Aug 2020

used car
With lockdown restrictions easing, more and more car dealerships are opening around the country and now could be a good time to take a look at purchasing a pre-owned car.

Remember to do your research before you buy as the more knowledge you have about the car the better your negotiating position will be.

  1. Get expert advice: use one of the motor industry publications such as What Car or Parkers to check the market rate for the model of car you’re purchasing. You can also compare the pros and cons of various car models such as fuel economy, ride quality and fixtures and fittings.

    Consider using the DVLA's vehicle enquiry service to see what details they hold on the car and the Government's MOT history check tool to make sure everything is as you expected.

    Once you have decided on a car to buy, it’s advisable to order a vehicle history check to make sure it’s not stolen or has any outstanding finance on it. One of the most popular checks comes from HPI, but there are many on the market to choose from.
  2. Consider the costs of running your car: before you buy a car it’s wise to get an idea of what it’ll cost to keep on the road.
  3. MOT: cars over 3 years old need to pass an MOT each year at an authorised test centre. The cost of the test varies dependant on the vehicle, up to a maximum cost of £54.85*. Remember to shop around as you can often get a cheaper test price deal.
  4. Car Tax: most UK drivers need to pay car tax, however some cars and electric cars are exempt. You can find out how much it’ll cost and about any exemptions on the website.
  5. Car Insurance: car insurance can be expensive so remember to shop around for the best deal.

    Ensure that you also review the benefits of the policy to ensure that it meets your personal needs – e.g. that it includes business insurance if you require it for business travel.

    Don’t forget to check the amount of voluntary and compulsory excess that apply to the policy as this is the amount you agree to pay upfront if you make a claim. It’s wise to make sure these are affordable should the worse happen.

    To find out more about Police Mutual Car Insurance and to get a quote click here or call 0151 242 7640.

    Police Mutual Car Insurance is provided by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc.
  6. Breakdown cover: this will provide you with cover should the car breakdown. Some policies also include roadside assistance and recovery. You may already have this cover with your car insurance or packaged bank account, so remember to check before you buy.

    To find out more about breakdown cover offered by Police Mutual and to get a quote click here or call 0151 242 7640.

    Police Mutual Rescue (Breakdown Cover) is provided by ERS (Syndicate 218 at Lloyds).
  7. Fuel: fuel is not cheap so it’s worth considering buying a car with low fuel consumption.
  8. Servicing & repairs: getting a car serviced regularly can save you money in the long run and make sure that the car runs efficiently. When you are looking for your new car remember to check out the service history before you buy.
  9. Explore your finance options: it’s important to stay within your budget, so work out what you can afford each month and how long you want to be making monthly repayments. If you are thinking about taking out a loan there are a number of different options available. If you are buying from a dealership, you may be offered finance direct from them. Alternatively, arranging credit from an independent provider separately from your car purchase could allow you to shop around to find a loan with the most favourable terms for you and negotiate on the price of your car.


  • Make sure you find out the total cost of the debt when comparing different loans and methods of car finance
  • Find out if there are any restrictions for paying off the debt early and what charges will apply
  • Check how flexible it is. For example if you want to sell the car before the end of the loan term

Personal loans for the Police family

We want to help every member of the Police family lead a financially healthier and happier life. With our new partner and personal loan provider, Salary Finance, anyone in the Police family who is a serving or retired officer and staff – could get a loan to purchase a new car.  

With Salary Finance you could:

  • Borrow between £1,000-£25,000
  • Repay over 1-5 years with a fixed monthly direct debit
  • Apply quickly and easily online


To find out more about personal loans through Salary Finance, visit our website, where you can also apply online.

Important things you need to know

Loans are not currently available for PSNI members and their families.

Salary Finance is a trading style of Salary Finance Limited.

PMGI Limited, trading as Police Mutual, is acting as credit broker for Salary Finance Limited. Salary Finance Limited acts as credit broker exclusively for associated company Salary Finance Loans Limited, which is acting as lender for the purposes of entering into a consumer credit agreement.

Salary Finance Limited and Salary Finance Loans Limited are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (firm reference numbers: 758053 and 734585) and are registered in England & Wales (company numbers: 09677777 and 07643748) at One Hammersmith Broadway, London W6 9DL.

*Correct as 21/07/2020 -

PMGI Limited, trading as Police Mutual, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England & Wales No. 1073408. Registered office: Alexandra House, Queen Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS13 6QS.

For your security, all telephone calls are recorded and may be monitored.

Type of article: Articles
Category: Protecting my belongings

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