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MOT and service history guide when buying a new car

MOT and service history guide when buying a new car

When you buy a used car, you will want to know it has an MOT and a good service history.
A reputable dealer like Rockpoint in Staffordshire will make this part easier for you.
All their cars have an MOT. And they also check each car’s service history.
But if you are buying a car privately, you will need to do your own checks.

How to check if a car has a valid MOT
To check if a car has an MOT as well as to look back at its MOT history is very straightforward.
Go to this government website and input the car’s registration number.
You will be able to see MOT tests carried out on the vehicle in England, Scotland, and Wales since 2005.
You could find out if it passed or failed, the mileage recorded at the time, which parts failed or had minor problems and when the next MOT is due.
If you want to also find out where the tests were done, you will need the 11-digit number from the vehicle’s logbook (V55C).
This search is free.

Vehicle service history
Cars should be serviced to the correct standards and can vary depending on the manufactuer.
A car which has always had its services carried out, at approved service stations with an official stamp, has a full-service history (FSH).
Partial service history means it was taken to a non-approved service station at some point, missed a service or does not have all its stamps, for example.
FSH is best but not having it does not mean that anything will necessarily be wrong with the vehicle, it just means you may not have a full picture of its history.

Service history books
In the past, vehicles had a service history booklet with all the information about when and where it received its routine services.
Each entry would have a stamp from a garage plus details of work carried out and the car’s mileage.
Service books can easily get lost, or paperwork go missing.

With newer cars, digital service books often relace physical ones with the services recorded electronically.

Tracking down the service history in both cases can take some detective work.

How to find out the service history of a car or other vehicle
It can be frustrating to try to piece together the service history of a vehicle.
But there are several steps you can take:

  • 1. If buying from a dealership, they may be able to help you – ask the question.
  • 2. Manufacturers also keep an online record of a car if it’s serviced by a franchised dealer.
  • 3. Contact the garage who usually services the vehicle as they should keep records and may be able to supply you with missing documents. If you don’t know which garage or garages have been used, then perform the MOT check mentioned above, from the government’s website. Look at the MOT test locations – they are likely to be the same garages used by previous owners for services. Contact them to see if they hold any service records for the vehicle.
  • 4. Go to the DVLA’s website and fill out a V888 form here. It costs £5 and allows you to find the previous owner’s details, who may be able to help you.
  • 5. For digital service books you must complete an online registration form to gain access.
  • 6. For a car that’s three years or younger, the service records should be held on a central database with the manufacturer.
  • NB: You will often need to prove that you are the vehicle owner when researching its service history either by showing a payment receipt signed by the previous owner. Or by showing the vehicle’s log book (the V5C) and knowing the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

    Car finance: Everything you need to know

    You are ready to buy a car or you’ve already got your heart set on the perfect vehicle.
    But how are you going to pay for it? The most popular way to buy a car these days is through car finance, here’s our complete guide to what it is, how to use it and all the benefits.

    What is car finance?

    Car finance is a popular option for customers who can’t afford to buy a vehicle outright or don’t want to do so.

    It makes cars more affordable by dividing the cost into a deposit and a series of monthly payments.

    A big percentage of people choose to buy their used cars through finance.

    Trusted companies who offer it include Rockpoint Cars of Distinction in Staffordshire.

    Director James Hoe said: “Lots of customers buy their cars on finance.

    “It spreads out the cost and means that more people can drive away in their dream car.”
    Who provides car finance?
    Car dealers work with finance companies and other lenders to offer finance as an option for their customers.

    The car is sold to the finance company and you pay that company back in instalments.
    How to take out car finance
    At dealerships like Rockpoint, a finance application can be made on the website.

    Or you can visit and a salesman can fill in the application for you.

    Having point-of-sale finance makes the process of borrowing money and buying a car much more straightforward.

    James added: “The application is usually approved within an hour and you’re ready to drive off in the car you wanted.”

    • Types of finance
    • Hire Purchase
    • This traditional form of car finance works like a bank loan.

    It usually involves a deposit of around 10 per cent then monthly instalments with interest.

    At the end of the loan term, you own the car.
    PCP Finance (Personal Contract Purchase)
    This is very popular these days, particularly with those buying more expensive cars as monthly payments are lower.

    It works like a combination of a leasing arrangement and a loan.

    The deposit paid is usually around 10 per cent and the monthly payments are based on how much the car is likely to decrease in value.

    At the end of the contract, you have the option to make a large final payment to buy the car.

    What are the benefits of buying a car on finance?

    Convenience
    You don’t have to hunt around to find a loan from elsewhere, the dealer you are buying the vehicle from will do everything for you.

    No deposit
    With some car dealers, like Rockpoint, you don’t even have to pay a deposit to buy a car on finance as they offer a £0 deposit option.

    Fixed payments
    You know exactly what you are paying and when you are paying it when buying a car on finance.

    The payments are fixed and your agreement lasts as you want it to last. There will be no surprise costs or fees.

    Better car
    When you buy on finance, it allows you to buy a better car and also to change your vehicle more frequently.

    A newer car can be more reliable and cheaper to run.
    Keep hold of your savings
    Instead of spending your savings on a car, you can save or invest your money or spend on other purchases like a holiday or home improvements.

    Part exchange
    With a finance agreement, you can part-exchange your car for a new one when you are ready.

    So, you don’t need to worry about trying to sell a vehicle yourself.

    Car finance and your credit score

    By keeping up with your monthly payments, you’re proving to future lenders that you can pay your loan back.

    That means you should be accepted by more lenders in the future.

    But if you miss payments and the lender has to take action against you, your credit rating will be damaged.

    Don’t forget that formal applications also appear on your credit history so if you make numerous applications with different dealers, this will have a negative impact on your credit rating.

    Rockpoint Cars of Distinction
    At Rockpoint, we pride ourselves on stocking the best value, high-quality used vehicles for our customers.

    Whether you decide to pay in cash of are eligible for one of our flexible finance options, we have you covered.
    See our full range of quality used vehicles here.

    Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions. Email james@rockpointbmw.co.uk or call 01827 283496.

    How to tell if a vehicle has been in an accident

    Buying a car is an exciting experience but can also be daunting if you don’t know what to look out for when making your choice.

    An important risk to check for is whether a vehicle has previously been in an accident.

    A damaged vehicle which has not been repaired properly can be unsafe to drive or may be worth less when you come to sell it.

    So read our advice before choosing your second-hand vehicle.

    How to tell if a vehicle has been in an accident

    1. A vehicle history check

    Make sure you choose a reputable dealer and ask if they will carry out a full vehicle check.

    At Rockpoint, we offer the HPI check, widely considered the best in the UK.

    It uses the registration number, chassis number (VIN) and logbook (V5C) details to throw up any issues with a car and its history such as its mileage, ownership and any outstanding finance.

    It will also alert you to whether the car is an insurance write-off.

    An insurance-write off happens when a car has suffered damage and the insurer considers the repairs to be uneconomical. The insurer keeps the car and pays the owner the car’s market value.

    There are different categories of write-off from from A and B which must be destroyed to those in Category C or D, which can be repaired and put on the road again.

    Here at Rockpoint, we would never sell a Cat C or Cat D car.

    Some traders do but they are legally obliged to tell you if a car has previously been written-off while a private seller is not.

    So, it’s always best to buy from a trusted dealer where possible.

    2. Look for signs of paint work

    Professional Painting Of A Red Car On The Service - Rockpoint Limited

    One sign that a vehicle has been in an accident is paint work.
    Make sure you examine the paintwork in the sun or under a bright light to check for body work repairs.

    You are looking for inconsistencies such as differences in colour, shade, texture or shine between panels.

    Look from different angles and distances.

    Also check for paint over spray, where paint particles have settled on nearby parts, or signs of masking tape, used to prevent this.

    3. Lacquer peeling

    Car lacquer is a layer of clear coat which manufacturers apply over car paint to protect it.

    It also gives a car its glossy appearance.

    Damage to the car or a poor paint job can cause the lacquer to peel, which leaves the paintwork vulnerable and can be tricky to fix.

    4. Panels not lined up correctly

    Buying Used Car Check Panels - Rockpoint Limited

    Check panels when buying used cars
    Uneven gaps between body panels and door gaps are another sign of accidental damage.

    So, when looking around a vehicle, make sure to check the spacing and that the panels are lined up correctly and that the bumper sits flush.

    If something doesn’t look right on one side compare it to the other side of the vehicle to see if it matches.

    5. Bolts

    Check to see if bolts have been tampered with or scratched inside the car on the bonnet, door or boot hinges.

    If they have then the parts have probably been replaced or readjusted.

    6. Registration plates

    Check to see if the front and rear number plates are different.

    If one is much newer, it may have been replaced due to being damaged in an accident.

    7. New parts

    Check for obviously new or replaced parts. In an accident, it is often the airbag cover or the lights which are damaged, so inspect these.

    Compare the headlights and taillights to see if one is obviously newer.

    8. Moisture in headlights or taillights

    Buying Used Car Check Lights - Rockpoint Limited

    Used-car-buying-check-lights
    If any lights have moisture inside then a corner could have been hit and cracked to let water inside.

    A headlight can be costly to replace.

    Buy from a trusted dealer where possible
    Follow our tips when buying a used car and above all, remember to choose a reputable, trusted dealer like Rockpoint in Tamworth, Staffordshire.

    Visit our website to see all the latest quality stock or call 01827 283496.

    Please get in touch with any other questions you would like us to answer, email james@rockpointbmw.co.uk

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    We are open and look forward to seeing you! Please make your appointment to view any of our cars. Let us know how you are getting on. Above all, stay safe. Best regards, Team Rockpoint