Riverside, Atherstone Street, Fazeley, Tamworth, B78 3RW

Test driving a car – the guide

Can I take a car out on a test drive?
When buying a car, it is very important to take it out on a test drive.
Getting behind the wheel is the only way to get a feel for how it drives, check everything is working properly and ensure it’s the right vehicle for you.
Rockpoint’s James Hoe said: “A test drive is the only real way to work out if the car is right for you – if you don’t have one you could end up buying a vehicle that you don’t even like to drive.
“You need to see how comfortable it is when you sit in it and how it performs.
“If you have a family, it is good to get everybody in to make sure they fit.
“You also want to see the gadgets and test the visibility when you pull out on to a road.
“Some people even take a car home to park it outside their house or try it in the garage to see if it fits!”
Car dealerships have different test drive policies.
Rockpoint allows people to go on a test drive unaccompanied unlike most where a salesman will accompany you, which can be distracting.
The driver needs to have no points on their license and be aged over 25 and under 70.
Buyers who don’t meet these criteria can still take a vehicle out on an accompanied test drive.

Our test drive top tips

1. Show that you are interested in the car and have done your research and are a genuine buyer before asking for a test drive.
2. Make sure you have your driving license to show.
3. When you get in the car, make sure you are comfortable – adjust the seat, steering wheel and mirrors to suit you.
4. Locate the main controls and make sure you know how to use them such as lights, indicators and gears.
5. Take buggies, prams, golf clubs or other big items you transport regularly with you to see how they fit.
6. If it is to be a family car, take your children with you and check they – and any car seats – fit.
7. Allow up to half an hour for a test drive and make the most of the time you have to properly assess the car and how it feels to drive.
8. Drive the vehicle on different road surfaces and at different speeds.
9. All cars take some getting used to when you first get into them but the steering should not feel too heavy, the gears on a manual should shift smoothly and the suspension should cope well with the roads.
10. Check the engine is strong enough for you and is quiet.

Happy buying!

When buying a used car, 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

Picture1 - Rockpoint Limited

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?

    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.

    The best way to sell your car or van for a quick sale and great price

    Car selling guide – where to go when you have a vehicle to sell

    If the time has come to sell your car or commercial vehicle, you have several options to consider.
    It can be daunting to decide on the best method for you.
    We give you the pros and cons of each and reveal the FASTEST way to sell your car for the BEST DEAL.

    Option 1: Sell your vehicle privately

    You can sell your car yourself by advertising on a website such as AutoTrader, Facebook Marketplace or eBay or through a local newspaper or noticeboard.

    You may be able to sell your used vehicle for a good price.

    This option takes the most time – it could be days or weeks and you may still not have a sale.
    You have the hassle of cleaning and preparing the vehicle, arranging and paying for an advert and responding to calls and messages.
    Buyers will come to your house for viewings and test drives and then you must try to haggle.
    When you’ve arranged a price, you have to take the payment, making sure it is the correct amount and genuine (counting cash or checking funds are in your account before handing over the keys) and sort out all the paperwork.
    You also have to store the car and keep insuring it and paying for car tax until it has sold.
    Rockpoint verdict: You may take more money for your car but there are risks involved and it can take up a lot of time.

    Option 2: Sell to a big online firm like We Buy Any Car.

    This usually involves registering your vehicle’s details online for a quote then taking it to a site where it can be inspected and a final price agreed.

    This can be a fairly quick process and these sorts of companies will buy most vehicles.

    You are likely to be offered a lot less than you think your vehicle is worth.
    Once an inspector has examined the car, money is usually knocked off for minor issues and there may also be hidden admin fees.
    Rockpoint verdict: This is a quick way of selling a car but these companies operate on slim margins so won’t be able to pay you well. The car will be sold on quickly, usually through an auction and they have to include those costs plus commission.

    Option 3: A part exchange

    This remains the most popular way for people to sell their vehicle when buying a new one.
    When you buy a new car or van, the dealer takes your old one and you pay the difference.
    The price for the new vehicle is effectively discounted by the value of your old one.

    It’s a very easy option – it’s quick and stress-free.
    In theory, you take your old vehicle to the dealer and can drive away with a new set of wheels.
    There is no stage where you have two vehicles or none at all – the two transactions of buying and selling are taken care of in one move.

    You may not make as much money as you would from a private sale.
    Rockpoint verdict: “The smaller independents should be able to give you more money because we sell your part-exchange. Cut out part of the process.
    Rockpoint verdict: The dealer wants to sell you the new car so will try to offer you an attractive deal.
    Plus the smaller independents should be able to give you more money because we sell your part-exchange directly, cutting out part of the process compared to companies like We Buy Any Car.

    Option 4: Sell to a local dealer

    Many small garages are in need of more stock at the moment so selling your old car or van directly to one has never been as successful.

    It’s a much simpler, quicker and less stressful option than selling privately and dealing with lots of potentially buyers, some who may be dodgy.
    If the dealer has a shortage of your type of vehicle or even has buyers waiting, they will be keen to buy yours.
    You should be offered a much better deal than from a big car-selling site.
    There is no comeback as there may be from a private buyer.

    You may not get quite as much money as a private sale.
    Rockpoint verdict: This is a great way to sell your cars or commercial vehicle at the moment. Plus it benefits both the seller and their local dealer.

    So, which option is best?

    This depends on you, how much time you have and the type of person you are.
    But we believe the quickest and safest way to sell your car for a decent price is through a small, independent dealer, either through a part exchange or a direct sale.
    James Hoe, owner of Rockpoint Cars of Distinction in Tamworth, Staffordshire, said: “Please support the local, smaller dealers, that need your vehicles, over the big companies.

    “We buy cars and commercials of any age and any mileage and should be able to give you a better price than a big company because we are not having to put commissions and auction fees on top, we sell your vehicle directly.

    “You are guaranteed an accurate price without it being knocked down for every little thing and there is no admin fee.”
    If you have a car to sell, contact us on 01827 283 496 or email james@rockpointbmw.co.uk

    Top tips when selling your car
    *Present your car at its best – tidy and clean it inside and out or pay for a full valet.
    *Repair any faults and paintwork damage or be honest about these.
    *Get a new MOT if needed.
    *You can’t sell a car with outstanding finance so get the company’s permission first or settle the finance.
    *Work out roughly what your car is worth by checking out the price of other cars and price it realistically.
    *Collect all the documents together including the log book, MOT certificates, service records and receipts for work you’ve had done.

    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.

    Winter car maintenance guide – our 9 top tips for safe motoring in cold weather

    Cars breakdowns and accidents are far more likely over winter, so it is important to give your vehicle extra attention when the weather gets colder.

    Follow our checks and precautions to get your car winter ready.

    1. Car service

    If your car is due a service anyway, it is sensible to book it in before the winter.

    Alternatively, some garages offer free winter car checks so look out for offers.

    2. Tyres

    Tyres affect both braking and steering so are among the most important parts of your vehicle to check.

    It is especially important when roads are icy or wet that your vehicle can stop as quickly as possible.

    Ensure that tyres are not worn – experts say tread depth should be 3mm during the winter for a good grip.

    Also, check tyre pressure. Winter tyres should be inflated to 0.2 bar higher than summer. Do this outside, not in a warm garage.

    3. Battery

    Car batteries work much harder in the winter months so make sure to check them.
    And if your car battery is struggling to start, have it replaced if necessary.

    4. Lights

    Cars get dirty in the winter, not least from road grit/salt.

    Dirty lights are not as bright so it is important to check them, along with rear reflectors and indicators to make sure they are clean and working.

    5. Windscreen wipers

    Windscreen wipers on an icy car

    Check your wipers – replace worn or damaged wiper blades to give you maximum visibility when the weather is bad.
    Make sure to turn them off when you park – if they are left on automatic and try to move when frozen to the windscreen or when there is still ice on the screen, they may be damaged.

    6. Screen wash

    You will use your screen wash a lot more in winter so keep it topped up.

    The water jets shouldn’t block as screen wash has a lower freezing temperature than water, but it can happen.

    7. Antifreeze

    Make sure your car is topped up with antifreeze, which stops the water in the engine’s cooling system from freezing.

    You can test how effective it is using an antifreeze tester, which are cheap to buy.

    8. Journeys

    Check the weather forecast before setting off. Allow extra time for winter journeys and plan routes around major roads, which are more likely to be cleared and gritted.

    Clear all windows using a scraper and de-icer and wait until the windscreen’s fully demisted before setting off.

    9. Be prepared

    Keep emergency supplies in your car such as extra warm clothing, boots and blankets along with a torch and shovel.

    Make sure you have a mobile phone and a charger, a de-icer and scraper, food and drink.

    Keep topped up with fuel just in case your journey takes longer.


    When buying a used car, 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

    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

    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