Your first car is usually not your dream car unless you have a high disposable income or you have one of the classics handed to you. But the most important thing is having your drivers license. Most first-time car owners are teens who have just passed or are yet to pass their driving tests. If you have had to postpone your driving test due to Covid-19, use a driving test cancellation checker to check when you can take another test. Here are a few things of note to consider before buying your first car.
Identify your needs
Buying a car is a considerable investment, so before you take a plunge, identify your needs. Take a look at your needs, and ask relevant questions to determine if buying a car is the best thing to do. For example, is the car going to be used every day for regular commute, or is it just going to be used one day a week? Also, know the conditions under which the car will be driven and what kind of car you need. Is a pickup more appropriate or a salon car will be fine?
As mentioned earlier, buying a car is quite an investment. Think about how you are going to pay for it. Do you have some savings you can use to purchase the vehicle, or you are considering a lease? How about fuel, maintenance, insurance and other associated expenses? Consider going for an auto-loan financed by the dealership if you have good credit.
Explore your options
Buying your first car is now much easier than it was for the past generation. They had to go from dealership to dealership in person to get a car. Now, all you need is to get online and go through the dealerships’ catalogue close to you. Depending on the specifications you want, select the best options and then begin to negotiate.
Learn to negotiate
Negotiation is a key element when buying your first car as it will set the tone for all your future purchases. You must learn and improve this skill if you will get a good deal for your car. First, do some quality research and arm yourself with the important information. Also, enquire about possible rebates and cash incentives. Finally, try not to let your emotion get in the way during the actual negotiation and settle for what works best for your budget.
Once you have settled on the price, it is time to test drive the car. Take it for a spin and see how it handles. Being behind the wheel will give you a firsthand experience on how the car actually works and may provide some insight that will influence your final decision to purchase or not.
Finalise the deal
With everything working well and all other things in place, it is time to finalise the deal to buy your first car. Closely look over the documents handed over to you and read the fine print thoroughly before appending your signature. Look out for clauses you do not understand, have them explained to you, and make sure you understand what you are signing.
Want a new set of wheels but want to test out the pedals first?
So, you are thinking of purchasing a new set of wheels but do not know which model to drive. Ever thought about personal car leasing as an option? Well, the benefits of leasing a car is that you can rent a car for an agreed length of time for a set fee and see what it feels like to drive before settling on a model you want to eventually buy. You will be able to tailor your mileage needs based on how much you generally use your car.
Committing to buying a car takes a lot of thorough research and endless trips to the car show rooms where you can only sit in the car for a short amount of time. You do not really get a feel for how it is going to be when you eventually drive it unless you arrange a test drive. So being able to lease a car is surely a much better option if you enjoy driving the latest models but do not want all the hassle of organising MoT’s, breakdown cover and replacing faulty parts on older models. Which in all honesty happens a lot more often than you would like to! Nothing worse than having your car break down on a dark, cold, rainy, windy commute and having to wait for the AA to arrive. You would not have to worry about things like this when leasing a car as they are more likely to be up to date and newer models, so much less likely to break down on you in your hour of need.
Flexible leasing options
With car leasing you have the flexibility to choose which model, brand and budget to suit your own needs. Once the lease expires, you simply hand the car back over. If you really fall in love with the car you could even put in an offer to buy it from the car leasing company. But you would have to discuss this with them directly to see what price they offer you.
But it is surely much more exciting to swap that last model that you drove for another brand new shiny one! Also, another benefit of car leasing is that you are not just limited to driving in the UK. You have the option to go on that road trip you always wanted to do but never had the opportunity to do so. With an array of multiple European countries just a short ferry to Calais away, you could soon be in sunny Italy driving along the Italian Riviera coastline with the roof down, shades on and hair blowing back in the wind. All you would need to do is fill in some paperwork beforehand to get your VE103 Foreign Travel Authority Certificate and then you are all good to go!
There are thousands of different cars out there for you to buy and sell. However, some are more valuable than others. What does this mean? Well, it means that certain cars are more popular, thus allowing you to sell them easily and for a lot of money. The secret to buying and selling cars lies in distinguishing which vehicles you should get your hands on.
Don’t worry, this won’t be a list of specific cars you should buy! That would be too difficult to formulate, and it might lead to all of you going out and buying the same car. Instead, you’ll see a few car categories and types that are well worth purchasing…
A sports utility vehicle is a unique type of car that blends ruggedness with performance. In essence, it’s designed to have the bulk of a classic people carrier, but the sleekness and movement of a sports car. These two traits combine to create one of the most popular car types on the market today. Why? Because families love the accessibility – there are lots of seats, ample boot space, and a safe vehicle. At the same time, the cars are great to drive and don’t feel super slow and bulky. This makes them an attractive option for a lot of younger men looking for an adrenaline boost. The style of SUVs also makes the popular executive cars, so you see them in many office car parks!
Overall, this category is incredibly profitable for a seller. SUVs are getting more and more popular every day, headlined by vehicles like the Range Rover Evoque. So, you should have no trouble getting your hands on one of these and finding a way to sell it for a profit.
A lot of people confuse crossovers with SUVs as they both blend different cars together. The difference is that a crossover is more family-orientated. In essence, you have the functionality and running costs of a hatchback, but in a larger body with 4×4 wheels. This increases the car’s functionality, making it appeal to more people. Also, the added bulk makes it a safer option as a family car, when compared to a hatchback.
The Nissan Qashqai is probably the quintessential crossover. Indeed, many experts suggest this was the car that kicked this category into existence. Again, the profitability of a crossover is huge because these cars are sought after. Families love them, but they also offer a more flexible alternative to both hatchbacks and 4x4s.
Classic sports cars
Let’s be honest, a speed demon lurks in most of us. We’ve all dreamed of owning a sports car at some point, but they’re too far out of our reach. This is why classic sports cars are such valuable purchases for a wheeler-dealer. Here, you have a car that loads of people are keen to own. The classic element provides a sense of collectability and rareness, yet the sporty aspect is what draws most people in. Because these cars are older, they’re much cheaper than modern sports cars. For some, this is the only chance they’ll get at driving a Porsche or Ferrari.
Another benefit of classic sports cars is that there’s so much room for improvement. Their age means they tend to be bought in bad shape, giving you room to make adjustments. This lets you sell it for a profit as you’ve taken care of any work a future owner will need to do. Instead, they can buy it and drive away instantly!
Furthermore, you should also concern yourself with other classic cars. This relates to any older vehicle that’s popular or iconic, but not necessarily a sports car. Many classic cars fall under this category – think about the old-school Mini Cooper! This car rose to fame after the Italian Job film, and it still remains desirable. People will pay good money to get their hands on a classic Mini Cooper to this day.
Realistically, most cars are popular due to appearances in films or TV shows. It’s a good idea to do some research and identify any classic cars within your budget. Again, the age of the vehicles leaves room for improvements and upgrades. The key is to ensure you make the car usable in today’s world without removing the classic aura.
It’s normal to confuse superminis with really small cars – like the Mini or a Smart car. What you don’t realise is that loads of other vehicles fall under this umbrella. Popular cars like the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo are classified as superminis. Effectively, the term relates to small hatchbacks – usually with two doors, sometimes the full four. As you can imagine, this encompasses a wide variety of vehicles.
Why are these cars good to buy and sell? It’s simple, they’re one of the most popular car types in the world. People love superminis due to the compact practicality – they’re great to drive in busy cities. There’s affordability to them that also attracts attention, and many people buy them as first cars. Plus, there are so many makes and models going back through the years. It’s fairly easy to find a supermini from a few years ago, make improvements, and sell it for profit.
As you can see, there are plenty of cars that haven’t made this list. What about estate cars, saloons, and classic 4x4s? There’s no reason you can’t buy these cars and sell them for a profit, it just tends to be more challenging. The above categories have been chosen because they’re all highly popular and trendy right now. This means that you have a strong pool of potential buyers when you go to sell your car. The classic car market is particularly strong, so it’s possibly the best one to venture into. Still, any of the other car types will be valuable purchases as well. It’s all about finding cars that people are interested in buying, then doing your best to sell them for more money than you paid.
Used cars are growing in popularity as more people are becoming less inclined to get into big loans for finance agreements and lose a huge portion of the value of a car in the first few months. Having said that, there are some amazing pros for getting a new car that can sometimes outweigh a used car. But that isn’t what we are debating today. A used car can be a better financial option for some people who can only afford a lower monthly payment or would prefer to buy a car outright. But is it value for money or is it a financial burden? With that in mind, here are some of the costs you may incur.
The cost of maintaining a used car
There are some ongoing costs that will need to be spent when it comes to the ownership of a used car. First of all, there are the yearly services, which isn’t a cost you escape with a new car either. This does need to be maintained when it comes to owning a used car. A service will highlight any wear and tear items that could need replacing as well as ensuring any fluid levels are where they should be. Alongside this, a used car may be subject to a yearly MOT. This is a legal requirement for driving on the road, but thankfully it is made simple as you can now use online booking systems. Both servicing and MOT’s ensure that your car is reliable and roadworthy. If you are bothered about paying for these things in one go, then there are service plans you can consider which could help. It is definitely a cost that you will need to incur, but keeping these things up to date could help you avoid any other larger costs for some wear and tear items in your engine.
What happens when the warranty expires?
Many used cars will have had their manufacturer warranty expire, which means that you, as the owner, are subject to any parts or replacements that need to be paid for. However, a used car can have an extended warranty or a purchased warranty. However, always check the fine print to ensure you know exactly what is and what isn’t covered.
Is it cheaper on a finance agreement?
When it comes to financing a used car often people choose to do finance arrangements. However, because the car is cheaper to buy on paper in regards to the cost, it might end up working out more expensive in the long run than a new car. Many manufacturers offer lower interest charges on brand new cars. However, it is always worth checking the total amount payable when taking on any finance agreement.
Is cash really king when it comes to purchasing a used car?
Many people choose to pay for a used car outright, and while that may work out for you, it is always worth remembering that a car, no matter whether new or used, is a depreciating asset. Sometimes it’s best to work out both sides of cost over the period you plan to own it. Sometimes cash works out better, sometimes financing does.
Overall, buying a used car can be a very cost effective way of motoring. As long as you take good care of the vehicle and have the necessary checks, it should work out as good value for money.
If your long-held dream has been to own a classic car, then you should try to make that dream a reality whenever you can. It might take some time to save up, it might take some time to learn the pros and cons of classic car ownership, but once you’re ready to take the plunge, you’ll never look back. Owning a classic car is a joy.
However, it will only be a joy if you pick the right car to begin with. Buying a classic car that isn’t quite right (or is a lot wrong) can certainly diminish your love for the older car, and it might even mean you no longer want to own one at all.
Just like when buying any car, there are some specific things to look out for. It’s just that with a classic car, there are some other things to check out before putting down any money. Read on to find out more.
To begin with, the cost of a classic car will always be more than a newer car (sometimes a lot more), although how much exactly will depend on the condition and make or model of the classic car you are looking at. The only exception to this rule is if the classic car needs a lot of work, or if the newer car is a supercar or similar. However, in general terms, you will be spending more than you would if you bought something more ‘standard’.
We would never recommend going completely over your budget if you see a car you love, but since classic cars are becoming fewer and farther between, if you are only a little short of the asking price it might be wise to consider finding a top-up through payday loans, asking friends and family for help, or getting additional funds from a bank loan. Missing out on the perfect classic car for the sake of a few hundred pounds doesn’t bear thinking about.
Before you part with any cash whatsoever, you must inspect the car. There are plenty of online auctions where you can potentially find the car you have been looking for for years, but unless you can inspect the car thoroughly, placing a bid is always a big risk.
When you can see the car, rust is something you need to look out for. Classic cars, due to their age and often how they have been stored, as well as how they were originally made, are susceptible to rust, and so you should probably expect a small amount – the only time not to expect it is if you’re buying a completely restored car for a larger amount of money. In general terms, you are going to see some rust at some points on the vehicle. However, if you see lots of rust, or you see where repairs have been made, this could suggest more expensive underlying problems. As well as the more obvious spots, make sure you check the:
In the boot
Another must-do when you are buying a classic car is to take it for a test drive. You need to feel comfortable driving the car, especially if you’ve never had one before and are used to a more luxurious interior. It could be that, once you finally get to drive one, you realise that classic cars aren’t really for you.
The test drive will also give you a chance to check the engine and the interior more thoroughly.
Owning a good-looking car is one thing, but driving it with style is another. The latter is all about your mannerisms when you’re behind the wheel. Dress poorly and panic at the smallest incident, and you’re bound to come across as a fresh-faced fish who doesn’t have a clue. Of course, you can always dress to impress, even if you’re not as confident as you appear. Top-class fashion trends have that effect on motorists. All you need to do is understand the dos and don’ts of keeping it classy when you’re on the roads.
Here are the main factors to remember.
Comfort Is Key
It’s tempting to go for what looks the best rather than what feels the best. The mistake is common, and the worst part is that it’s easy to spot. Picture yourself in the dead of winter in a big, thick coat with a scarf dangling around your neck and knee-high boots on. The outfit sounds like a winner until you realise it’s almost impossible to drive in because the many layers restrict your movements! Being comfortable is the key as it makes your driving style more natural and fluid, which is reflected in your actions. Therefore, smart-casual is usually the way to go.
As Are Accessories
Like you would when you leave the house, you should use accessories to your advantage. After all, they’re stylish and practical at the same time. For example, driving gloves are debonair and vintage, yet they also provide more grip and keep your hands warm in cold temperatures. On the other hand, glasses frames are chic while ensuring that your eyesight is sharp enough to stay out of danger. There are tons of accessories drivers can wear; however, sunglasses have to be the most essential since they’re suitable all-year-round when the sun is shining.
Music Sets The Scene
You want to set a scene, i.e. that you’re a cool driver and everyone should stare with admiration as you cruise past. To do that, you can implement music as the right tunes will turn heads and encourage pedestrians and fellow motorists to glance in your direction. Of course, you can have too much of a good thing, which is why you should strike the perfect volume between noticeable and attention-seeking. Otherwise, you’ll appear gaudy and ostentatious, two things that aren’t cool or classy in any situation! Be sure to crack the window a bit, too.
Don’t Be In A Rush
The coolest drivers aren’t the people who hit sixty without three seconds. They’re recognisable, but they aren’t admired. Usually, you end up looking like an idiot because the roads are too congested to hurry off into the distance. So, you put your foot down and instantly hit the brake #uncool. What you want to do is take your time and cruise around without a care in the world. Classy drivers are never in a rush because they always have time. That means sticking to the speed limits, and in some cases, going slower.
What are your methods for appearing classy behind the wheel?
If you are thinking of selling a vehicle, or you even want to host a sale and sell several, you are going to need to make sure that you are gathering interest for those vehicles along the way. There are a lot of ways to do this, but you do need to make sure that you are doing it, otherwise it just isn’t going to be viable. If you want to make this into a business, then it is obviously something that you are going to have to work on a great deal. So what are some of the things that you can actually do to attract interest in a car sale? Let’s take a look at some top options.
These days, one of the best means available to you for advertising anything is social media. If you are keen to get the word out about your car sale, you should ensure that you are going to social media to make it known that you are doing so. This is going to be especially powerful if you make a point of including all of the relevant hashtags and so on too, of course. Post regularly and with a unique voice, and you will find that people really respond well to it, and that you get a lot more interest overall.
If you are concerned that people won’t necessarily always want to spend their money, you can find ways around that by looking into using various offers instead. By having offers on many of the vehicles that you are selling, you can make sure that you are going to get a lot more interest in no time. For instance, you could offer Motability SUV prices for those who are in need of that, or simply have a number of special deals on. At the end of the day, if you charge a good price you are going to incentivize many more people, so that is what you are aiming for.
Find Unique Vehicles
If the vehicles that you are offering are especially unique or interesting, that is always going to be a powerful way to bring more people in, so that is something that is worth thinking about too. What makes a car unique? There are many things, from interesting vintage makes and models to unusual decorations and colours. One thing’s for sure: if you find unusual or unique vehicles to sell, more people are going to be interested in those vehicles, and that will bode well for you indeed.
As you can see, there are a few ways to drum up interest in your car sale, so make sure that you have thought about these from the outset. Going by these will ensure greater success in no time.
If you notice that your engine’s beginning to fail, your car may need an engine overhaul. When your vehicle’s engine gets overhauled, a mechanic will usually disassemble, clean, inspect, and repair it if necessary. Depending on your engine’s issues, getting an overhaul is better than entirely replacing it, saving you from the costs of buying a new engine.
Before you go to your localauto shop and have your vehicle placed on a2-post automotive lift to work on your engine, it pays to know the common signs that it only needs an overhaul and not full replacement.
To make it easier for you, here’s a list of common signs that your vehicle’s engine may need an overhaul.
White Smoke is Coming Out of Your Car’s Exhaust
When your vehicle starts releasing white smoke from its exhaust, this may be a sign that the motor inside the engine is burning inside its compartment. This factor can lead to low levels of oil, slowing down the performance of your car altogether. When you leave your vehicle like this over time, it can damage the motor’s piston liners and rings, affecting the engine’s function even more.
The best solution for this is to have the cylinder of your engine replaced through an overhaul, restoring its optimal performance.
If you hear knocking sound every time you rev up your car, this can mean that the balance of air and fuel inside your engine is not right, making your vehicles’ fuel consumption unstable. The common cause of this can be a clogged filter or fuel hoist screen that can result in oil leaks and fuel-burning inside its chamber. When you leave this alone, it can damage your car’s piston wall and cylinder because of the lack of lubrication on these parts. The best solution to this is to have your engine’s filter changed, regularly change your oil, or have regular engine check-ups through an overhaul.
Excessive Consumption of Fuel
Fuel for cars tend to be pricey, and when your car’s fuel economy starts to become unbalanced, it can leave a massive dent in your wallet. The common reason for excessive oil consumption is when your spark plugs get damaged, negatively influencing your vehicle’s fuel economy. There are several ways you can enhance your car’s fuel efficiency, but having your engine checked is the best solution.
Burns Oil too Fast
Although getting new oil for your car is normal for its regular maintenance, if you see that your engine is going through oil too fast, it’s time to overhaul your engine. A sign that your car may be using too much oil in a short period is if it consumes 1 quart of oil for every 1,000 miles.
When your engine’s valve fails to close properly, the combustion fuels go past through the valve seat, making the engine’s valve head overheat and curve inwards. When this happens, the backflow of hot fuel builds up carbon in the engine’s stem guide area, producing cracks on the valve head, damaging it further. Damaged valve heads can destroy your car’s engine overall condition, so it’s best to have your engine overhauled when you see this sign.
If you’re experiencing any of these performance-related problems with your car’s engine, an overhaul can provide a breath of new life into your engine, getting your rig back on the road quickly.
When it comes to selling cars, there’s a number of different ways to do it. The method you use to sell your car is entirely up to you, it depends on:
a) how soon you want the car out of the way b) how soon you want the cash in your bank c) how much effort you want to put into preparing the car d) how much time you have to deal with prospective buyers
We’ve outlined the different ways to sell your classic car below.
Want some help selling your classic car? You’re in the right place. Find out more.
Selling your car privately – Pros and Cons
Pros –Complete control of the sale, the car stays with you Cons – Lots of work to prep and photograph the car, people coming to your house, risk of bad offers and time wasters. Can you write…? Will your words and photos do the car justice?
For some classic cars, a small ad in the back of your owners club mag might be all it takes. For other cars, channels such as Autotrader and Gumtree will work, but be prepared to do all of the grafting yourself. This means cleaning the car, photographing the car and dealing with all the enquiries. Do you really want prospective buyers coming to your house, scoping out your garage and offering you half the asking price?
Some of these classified sites are free, and there are some good ones… though big sites that suit modern cars like Autotrader aren’t suited to classic cars.
We have had successes with selling cars privately this way, but we’ve also had some awful experiences. If your car is valuable and desirable, we don’t recommend it.
To get the most money for your car privately, you’ll need a good description and some excellent photographs. We can help with both.
Selling your car on eBay – Pros and Cons
Pros –eBay has a huge reach Cons – No guaranteed sale, buyers coming to your house, lots of silly enquiries
eBay is an online auction website that charges a fee to list the car, then a final value fee. Buyers can bid online, but be warned… There’s no guarantee they will show up.
In our experience, eBay used to be great – but these days it seems to take 2, 3 or 4 attempts for an auction to finish and an actual buyer to turn up.
It’s not cheap to do, it’s stressful and can be down right frustrating. You’ll spend your evenings answering the same questions over and over, regardless of how much or how little you put in the description. It can be done with eBay, but honestly… We don’t bother anymore.
Still keen to sell your car on eBay? Contact us for help and we can guide you through it.
Selling your car at auction – Pros and Cons
Pros –Its easy. Just drop the car off. You set the reserve. Cons – Expensive, fixed dates for sales might work against your timeline.
The buzz of the auction hall, the smell of cheap coffee and bacon sandwiches… The classic car auction is a great way to sell your car and guarantee you’ll get the money if it sells. With an auction, there’s no comeback for the buyer if the car blows up after a sale (use that as a buyer beware just as much as it’s an advantage!).
Most auction houses will do the description and photos for you, saving you the effort. Some are better than others at this, and also at marketing their sales. There are auction houses that we rate, and some that we hate, so ask us first! We won’t name names here.
When it comes to values, the auctioneer will discuss the figure he thinks your car will achieve, and where to set the reserve price. They will have a good idea for where the bidding will fall on the day for your car and it’s condition. Be wary though – remember they want cars in the sale just as much as you want to sell it, so watch for false promises. As we said previously, some auction houses are better than others.
Although classic car auctions are popular, the values of cars can go both ways. Sometimes a car will sky rocket past it’s estimate and get carried away with the ‘auction room buzz’, selling far higher than the market value, but let’s be honest… people attend classic car auctions to get a bargain. So expect to be slightly down on the ‘agreed value’ your insurance company thinks it’s worth.
For all of the benefits a classic car auction offers, you’ll pay handsomely. Expect to pay an entry fee for the car, as well as a commission on the sale. There’s also a Buyers Premium, so wherever the hammer falls, it’s the auction house that wins!
As a rough example, the last car we sent to auction came out as follows:
Auctioneers Estimate – £7000 to £9000 Top bid on the day – £6,250 (It was rusty…) Price with Buyers Premium – £6,750 Entry Fee + Commission – £90 + (6% + VAT) = £450 = Total Cost of £540 Total Returned after fees – £5,710
Not sure if a classic car auction is for you? Contact us.
Want to read more about our experience with auctions? Like the time we bought a classic car the media had been hyping and due to a disastrous series of events got a check from Brightwells Auctioneers for just £60? Or the time we invested £4,000 in a Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG to end up with just £1,500? Or the time we got carried away, lost track of who has bought what and had to move 9 cars in an evening? Or the time we bought an Audi S4? Click here.
Still keen to sell your car at an auction? Contact us for help and we can guide you through it, and to choose an auction house.
Selling your car in a specialist online auction – Pros and Cons
Many auction houses have now adopted the eBay formula, operating online auctions. There are a number of operations that do this, and it does seem to be growing in popularity. You’ll pay a fee to list the car, but the best auctions will send a photographer to shoot the car, and assign a proper writer to describe it.
The auction will have a defined end date and start date, but you’ll coordinate viewings from your house, just like a private sale. Think of it like a private sale, but with no fixed price, and a whole lot more marketing.
With a physical auction you can wash your hands of the car as soon as you drop it off, but with an online auction like this, you risk having the buyer come back to you if there’s issues with the car. You’ll be doing the handover and the auction house still take the fees.
In terms of costs, expect to pay around 5% depending on the auction house. We know of a few, and more are popping up all the time. Want to discuss selling your car this way? Get in touch.
Pros –Reach a wider audience quickly, cheaper than a physical auction, likely to find a buyer if one exists, take advantage of large marketing reach of auction house Cons – No seller protection, you’ll still be hosting the sale at home
Selling your car on consignment with a dealer – Pros and Cons
Pros –Professional marketing, achieve a good price, some dealers offer warranties Cons – Can be expensive, no guarantee it’ll sell, car stays with the dealer (which is both a pro and a con – what if the dealer goes bump?)
As you browse through the pages of classic car magazines, you’ll see a huge range of classic car dealers offering cars for sale. Did you know that many of these aren’t owned by the dealers themselves? Instead these cars are sold on consignment, owned by a customer and sold on their behalf by the dealer.
This is a good way to sell a car if it’s valuable, but the fees can be hefty. A good dealer can charge anything from 5% up to 25%, depending on the car and the price. For some people, this is still a good solution. It means all you have to do is get the car to the dealer, and they’ll take care of everything – right up until the point you get a cheque (or more likely bank transfer). A good dealer should be able to put together a stellar car description, a professional set of photos and some superb marketing for your car, but a bad dealer will do none of the above. There are good ones and bad ones out there, so choose carefully.
Still keen to sell your car on consignment? Contact us, we know a few people who can help.
We are now living in a post-lockdown world, and with infection rates on the rise again, it’s essential to make sure that everyone is doing their bit in the fight against the pandemic, and to prevent the spread of the virus even further.
While everyone remains extra vigilant of their hygiene practices, including washing hands and wearing masks, it’s crucial not to forget about your vehicle. Most vehicle owners tend to spend a lot of time in their cars; whether that’s going to work every day, to the shops, or an important appointment, and it is crucial to make sure that it is a clean environment for you and your friends and family.
Even though nothing will physically happen to your car, SUV or Lorry, should the virus happen to find itself on board as a passenger, if not cleaned thoroughly, your auto vehicle can quickly turn into a hotspot for the virus and propel the spread even further.
As most vehicles tend to be private property, it can be easy to become complacent, especially if it’s only you, or the same family members or friends as passengers. However, it’s important to disinfect your car the same way you would your hands.
With infections spreading, there is no way of knowing if you or one of your passengers doesn’t bring it back into the car, whether on your mask, hands, or clothes. Take the time to cleanse and sanitize your car with these simple steps.
Know the difference
You may think that because you wash your car often that you’re safe and have nothing to worry about, but it is vital to know the difference. Cleaning with soap and water physically removes germs, but does not kill them. That’s why in times of the pandemic, it is important to sanitize and disinfect using chemicals to kill viruses as well as bacteria and fungus, lowering the number of germs and, therefore, the risk of further spreading the virus.
What to use
While they are easy to get hold of, avoid using cleaning products that are particularly harsh, such as ammonia-based cleaners. These will break down the vinyl on your dashboard and can cause other materials in your interior to become brittle, faded or stained, and sticky when under light and heat.
Isopropyl alcohol is safe to use on most interiors and vehicle surfaces and is known as a proven disinfectant. A two-in-one, it kills viruses and bacteria while also removing stains and smudges. Just be vigilant when using it on leather seats and surfaces, as it could potentially cause some problems and damage.
Soap and water are also beneficial when used correctly. They can get rid of the virus in precisely the same way as when washing your hands with soap – a highly proven and effective way to protect yourself against infection. No matter which product you choose to sanitize and disinfect, make sure to give it time to take full effect, as some require several more minutes of application than others.
Spend extra time disinfecting and cleaning the steering wheel, since this is one of the dirtiest places and most-touched surfaces in the entire car, and use disinfecting wipes to clean all surfaces such as the controls for the radio and indicators. Other frequently-touched vehicle surfaces that require special attention include the brakes, gearstick, armrests, and cup holders, as well as the door handles. These areas get touched more often than you think and could be potential hotspots for the Coronavirus.
Watch out for, and replace, your ventilation system filters, particularly if they are a microfilter, as these are very effective when it comes to trapping airborne pathogens and viruses such as Covid-19.
Lastly, remove the residue with a clean, soft cloth to avoid surface damage and dispose of it quickly and safely.
Even in your own private vehicle, social distancing is key if you are not in quarantine or self-isolation and depend on your car to get around. A car is an excellent way to maintain this distance as opposed to public transport; however, if you find yourself with passengers, things become slightly trickier, especially in such a close environment.
If you have to share your car with other people, it is advised that you avoid all physical contact with your passengers, which includes shaking hands or hugging. As you can never be too safe, to adequately protect yourself, it is advisable to wear a facemask while in the car with other people at all times. However, this wouldn’t be required with other members of your household. The mask will protect you from anyone who might need to sneeze or cough, but if a face mask isn’t possible, do so in your arm or tissue and ask your passengers to do the same. If at all possible, ask your passengers to sit in the back to protect them and yourself just in case and don’t drive if you are displaying symptoms or feeling unwell. Remember to follow any guidelines regarding driving during the pandemic in case you are restricted to a certain number of passengers, or those you live with only.
How to maintain a virus-free vehicle
Once you have disinfected your vehicle, it’s essential to keep it that way. Wash your hands as frequently as possible even once you have finished cleaning, as otherwise, you will be putting the germs right back onto your clean surfaces, rendering your cleaning efforts useless. Make sure to wash them before entering the car and after vacating to reduce the virus’s chance from entering.
If it isn’t possible to wash your hands with water and soap, keep some hand sanitizer in your car so that you have it with you at all times, and also buy sanitizer for vehicle to keep your car protected.
If you suspect that you have had someone with Covid-19 in your vehicle or someone who may have had contact with someone who has the virus, disinfect all surfaces immediately and call your doctor. The virus can survive for hours at a time on surfaces, so it is best to be prepared and cautious if you think that your car might have been exposed.
Maintaining good hygiene is key to preventing further infection cases, and your car and surfaces are no exception. While unfortunately no amount of vigorous cleaning can guarantee that you won’t catch the virus, all of these suggestions are a step in the right direction when it comes to helping minimize the spread and your risk, as well as the risk of your loved ones.