How not to buy a second hand car.

There are a lot of do’s and don’ts to follow in life. Don’t run with scissors, don’t slurp your food, do remember your manners and, don’t do that, its unhygienic. Many of these are tried and tested and enable you to avoid the pitfalls and cockups that others have previously fell into before you.


It’s the same when you are buying a new car. Many people have fallen foul of an unscrupulous seller that conceals a fault list longer than a Chinese phonebook, telling you that he has had several higher offers and the next one who comes along will buy. The best way to avoid stuff like this is to follow a few basic rules, rules handed down from one car enthusiast to another, rules understood and followed by buyers all over the world, rules I will share with you now:

Rule 1

NEVER view a second hand car at night. Always look at it in bright daylight so you can see any obvious faults or attempts to conceal them.

Rule 2

NEVER view a car when it is raining or has just rained. It is hard to spot scratches, dents or other damage.

There are a lot of other rules too, the AA (bless ‘em) have a very good list of these do’s and don’ts, if you are interested in them they can be found here.

As a car enthusiast of some years, you can imagine that I am fully familiar with these rules and follow them to the letter. Funny then how I found myself bowling along through the Dartford Tunnel on my way to Romford at 8pm on a very wet and stormy night to look at a potential addition to my garage.

Lets B off! 

My (ultra supportive) girlfriend and I have had this idea of having a look around the UK trying to find some of the best scenery and most enjoyable roads this isle of ours has to offer. Yeah its been done a thousand times before and is as cliché as it comes but I cannot think of anything nicer than a good road punctuated by roadside café tea and a pub pie and chips at the end of it. Besides, it’s a great excuse to have many discussions on what car to choose to do it in.

The conversation went back and forward covering a myriad of vehicles from 50cc Honda Cub’s and VW Campers to cheap Porsches and MG’s and I have to admit I enjoyed it immensely. Back and forward we went, looking at many the many aspects of second hand car ownership, the main being reliability as our route would take us through the hills of the Lake District and beyond, and the last thing I wanted was to get the spanners out with the only help within twenty miles being a bunch of sheep.

Practicality was not much of an issue, I don’t do off road, don’t feel the need to be high up and as long as there is enough room for my iPod and a pair of pants, boot space is not even a consideration as I flatly refuse point blank to sleep anywhere that doesn’t have hot and cold running everything so camping was totally out of the question.

The solution was really a no brainer, I mean what is the obvious choice for zipping through the British countryside on a glorious sunny afternoon, the wind in your hair as you clip the apex, the tires dig in giving you effortless control as its punchy twin cam under the bonnet sings away at 5,000 rpm?

Say hello to my new MX-5

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Coming next, how I broke it within a week…

Drive Safe


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