Top five tips for maintaining a second-hand car

Recent figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) reveal that over nine million vehicles* – more than one in five of the 40.3** million on the road today has over 100,000 miles on the clock.

As the cost of living and fuel continues to rise, motorists are less keen to spend money on a brand-new car and are more inclined to keep their existing car on the road for longer. This phenomenon is fuelling a buoyant second-hand vehicle market which grew 11.5% from 2020 to 2021.


Top five tips for maintaining a second-hand car:

  • Know your vehicle – cars and vans are all different so it’s important to make sure you read and understand the owner’s manual to learn about the various features of your vehicle and how to avoid any common problems. It’s also vital to examine the service logbook of your used car so that you’re familiar with its history.


  • Adhere to a maintenance schedule – you can’t expect your car to reach 100,000 miles if you don’t show it due care and attention, and that means ensuring it has regular servicing and MOT checks. One of the main reasons why second-hand vehicle owners encounter problems is because they forget to maintain it properly – cars will naturally develop wear and tear issues but if they’re addressed in good time they won’t turn into more expensive problems. And always use a trusted, reputable mechanic to look after your vehicle.


  • Check your tyres regularly – tyres are subject to heavy wear and tear and owners need to ensure that they are always within legal limits. Maintain proper alignment by switching or rotating tyres every few months and be sure to check air pressure, particularly if setting off on a longer journey.


  • Change oil and other fluids regularly – an engine’s moving parts are under constant pressure due to friction and heat and oil plays a crucial role in ensuring these parts remain in good condition. Be sure to adhere to the manufacturer’s schedule for oil changes in order to keep the engine healthy. There are four other fluids that should also be checked regularly to ensure they are at the correct levels: engine coolant, brake fluid, windscreen washer fluid and power steering fluid.


  • Keep it clean – take pride in a second-hand car and clean its interior and exterior with regular washes, waxes, and vacuuming. This will help protect the bodywork by ensuring dirt and debris are kept at bay.

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*Data gathered as part of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by Co-op Insurance. The number of vehicles with over 100,000 miles is 9,076,909 (DVSA)

** Data taken from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders