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After You Pass

Welcome to this help page which has been designed to provide useful information to people who have just gained their driving license and are wondering what the next steps are.

This help page is broken down into the following sections:

  • Buying a vehicle
  • Registering a vehicle
  • Insurance
  • MOT
  • Vehicle Tax
  • DVLA Services 

Buying a vehicle

When it comes to purchasing a vehicle, whether it is brand new from an authorised car dealer or if it is second hand from a private seller, there are many things which need to be taken into consideration before you hand over your hard-earned money.

Before you decide on which type of vehicle you wish to purchase, it is a good idea to consider the following points:

  • What is your spend budget: This is probably the most important factor for buyers as this will allow you to identify the best possible deal within your spending limitations.
  • What is the vehicle needed for: Do you require a long distance motorway vehicle or small and nippy city car.
  • What are the vehicle’s CO2 emissions: This is very important as the more CO2 the vehicle emits, the more it will cost to tax it.
  • How many miles to the gallon (MPG) does the vehicle do: This is very important also as the less MPG the vehicle does, the more it fuel it will require.
  • What type of fuel does the vehicle use: Different fuels have their advantages and disadvantages however you may want a hybrid vehicle.

Buying a brand new vehicle

If the vehicle you are purchasing is brand new from a dealership then most of the pitfalls will be avoided however there are a few things which you should still consider to make sure you get the right vehicle for you, these are:   

  • Dealership research: It is always a good idea to do plenty of research on a dealership or showroom before you decide to buy a vehicle from there. This can be achieved by word of mouth recommendations and customer reviews on the Internet or vehicle publications .
  • Dealership/Showroom visit: When you have identified a vehicle which you are interested in, it is always a good idea to visit the showroom to find out more about it as it is this visit which will enable you to identify any past history, repairwork or current damage.
  • Test drive: Once you have visited the dealership/showroom and are happy with the vehicle, ask for a test drive and try and test the vehicle over different road types. Also, it is a good idea to assess the key components such as brakes, engine response, handling, and electrics during a test drive.
  • Paperwork: If after a test drive you are fully satisfied with the vehicle, the next thing you must concentrate on is making sure the dealership/garage can provide all the necessary legal and past-history documentation. Examples of documents are V5C registration certificate (logbook), vehicle handbook, warranty documentation and other manuals/codes for sound system and keys etc
  • Haggling: Now that you are totally convinced that a vehicle is right for you, have researched its history and are satisfied its legitimate and roadworthy, you are ready to haggle on the price. Haggling is a great way to reduce the cost price and negotiate some extra freebies. Things to haggle on can be cost price reductions, metallic paint, warranty extensions, free tank of fuel or extra mats and mudflaps etc. Remember, the dealership wants the sale just as much as you want the vehicle so put forward valid reasons when you negotiate. One little tip here, dealers find it easier to sell cars in March and September when the new registration plates come into effect so this means the months of February and August will be slow with people hanging on for the new registration plates. This is the ideal time to find a bargain and negotiate a really good deal for yourself! 

Buying a used vehicle

If you are purchasing a used vehicle, whether its from a car supermarket or a private seller, there are a few pitfalls which need to be avoided however there is real scope for you to find a good little bargain. When purchasing a used vehicle, it is a good idea to follow the below guide:

  • History: Always check a cars past history, a good way is to run a HPI check on the vehicle’s registration plate as this will identify any problems such as outstanding finance (if the vehicle still has outstanding finance from a previous owner, it can be re-claimed by the finance company after you have purchased it), if the vehicle has been stolen, if the car has been in a severe accident (written off by an insurance company) and if it has had its mileage altered at any time. Another way of checking a vehicles history is by making sure the vehicle has an upto date service log with records of service dates and any work the vehicle has needed in the past.
  • Valuation: If you can, it’s a good idea to get a good idea of a cars current value, this can be achieved by purchasing a used car value guide from a newsagents or Internet publications. This will enable you to see if the vehicles current price is high for its current market value. Also, if the vehicles price is a lot lower than the market value, this could identify hidden problems.
  • Vehicle Research: If you can, try and research the vehicle in general on Internet forums or in car publications as although the vehicle might be in good condition, its class may have a history of manufacturer problems at certain ages which can identify if you will need to spend more on it in the future.
  • Legality: Always make sure that the vehicles VIN plate matches with the plate on the engine, chassis and registration documents. It should not have been removed or amended in any way. Also, if the vehicle is over 36 months old, make sure the vehicle has a valid MOT certificate. On a final note, make sure the vehicle comes with the correct V5C document as you will need this to register the vehicle in your name if you decide to buy it.

Now that you have identified the main areas which need to be addressed before you purchase a vehicle, below is a checklist of components which should be looked at to make sure the vehicle is at a good standard of safety and reliability:

Bodywork

When you check the bodywork of a vehicle, always make sure you do this in a well lit and dry environment (rain and darkness can hide damage) so any bodywork damage, rust or repairwork can be highlighted. Always check all the bodywork such as panels and doors etc as if they don’t align properly, this shows that the vehicle has been in an accident and has been poorly repaired. If you encounter rust on the vehicle, gently press it and if you hear a crackling sound then this will let you know there is corrosion underneath it. When assessing paintwork, always check that the colour of the vehicle is the same all round as any variation also indicates that the vehicle has been in an accident of some sort.

Engine

This is another essential part of the vehicle which should be given close inspection. When examining the engine, check to see if it is dirty all over as this indicates that it hasn’t been services properly. If the engine is in a pristine clean condition, this could indicate it has been professionally cleaned to hide any problems. Before you start the engine, check the oil to make sure its above the minimum level and consult the service manual to make sure it hasn’t been neglected. Once the engine has been started, rev slightly and check to see if any heavy smoke comes from the exhaust as this indicates engine problems. On a final note, check all fluids such as anti-freeze and water levels, make sure all the electrical lights on the dashboard go out and make sure the engine doesn’t rattle or creak once started.

Transmission

The transmission is probably the most stressed component on a vehicle hence why it is very important to make sure all the gears are in a good working order. To do this, when you take the vehicle for a test drive, make sure all the gears change smoothly and don’t mis-gear (awkward to change into gear). Also, if you notice that changing gears starts to get more stiffer especially when you are driving at high revs, this can indicate transmission problems. A good way to test the response of the transmission is to change down from higher gears and listen to the response from the engine, if the engine whines or doesn’t respond instantly, this could indicate problems with gearbox.

Tyres

Tyres are easily the number one component of a vehicle which faces the most wear and tear hence why it is very important you keep a close inspection of them (otherwise you will run into severe problems with the Police and face heavy penalties). A good way to assess if your tyres are legal and roadworthy is to first check the sides of the tyre for wear and tear. The outer sides of the tyre should not be worn down so that the tyres grip is completely bare (bald), this indicates steering, tracking or suspension problems. Also, check to make sure there isn’t any bulges or craters in the tyre as this could cause the tyre to burst at anytime. On a final note, all tyres should be fully inflated to their correct settings (including the spare).

Brakes

Brakes should also be scrutinised to make sure they are legal and roadworthy as faulty brakes can cause severe accidents for both the driver and other road users. To test the condition of the brakes, the brake pedal should feel solid and not lower to the floor before working. Another way is to remove the wheel and assess the discs and pads, the discs should be in a good working order and the pads should not be rusty beyond identification. On a final note, if you take the vehicle for a test drive, the brakes shouldn’t cause the car to veer when applied hard, this indicates damaged brake cylinders or calipers. 

Registering a vehicle

When you purchase a new vehicle, whether new or used, you will have to register it with the DVLA as soon as possible as failure to do so is classed as breaking the law and will incur a heavy penalty.

If you buy a new vehicle

If you have purchased or are planning on purchasing a brand new vehicle from a dealership, the dealership will usually make all the necessary arrangements to register the vehicle on your part however it is always a good idea to make sure that the dealership will do this for you, before you agree to the sale. If the dealership has agreed to register the vehicle on your behalf, make sure you have all the registration documentation when you pick up the vehicle.

If you buy a used vehicle

If you have purchased or are planning on purchasing a used vehicle, this will require a little more work on your part. When you are purchasing a used vehicle, you will usually be provided with a V5 DVLA form for you to fill in. Depending on which form you are given (2-part or 3-part), you will need to make sure you fill all sections which ‘the buyer’ needs to fill in (this is explained on the form). Once all sections have been filled in, send it off to the DVLA as quickly as possible (preferably by recorded delivery), do not wait until you need to re-license the vehicle.

If the seller cant provide a V5 form, you will need to get hold of a V62 form and these can either be downloaded from the DVLA website or picked up from your local Post Office. Again, make sure you fill in all the sections which ‘the buyer’ will need to complete and also make sure the seller fills in all the sections which ‘the seller’ needs to complete. Once you are happy all sections have been completed, make sure you send off to the DVLA as soon as possible.

What happens next

When the DVLA receive your registration form, they will process it and aim to issue your new certificate of ownership within two to four weeks. If you have submitted a V62 form, this can take anywhere upto six weeks to arrive. If you have still not received your new ownership certificate within this six weeks period, you will need to contact the DVLA as soon as possible.

When the new ownership certificate arrives, make sure all details are correct. If you spot any mistakes, again contact the DVLA as soon as possible and advise them accordingly. 

Insurance

Before you are allowed to use your new vehicle on the public roads, you will need to make sure it is adequately covered by insurance. Insurance is required as not only does it protect yourself and your vehicle but it also protects other motorists and the public in general in case of an accident.

There are three different types of insurance you can choose from and these are:

  • Third party only: This is the basic insurance cover which is legally acceptable and it covers any compensation for third party injury or damage to property. Please be advised that this level of cover doesn’t cover yourself against costs resulting from an accident caused by you.
  • Third party fire and theft: This is the same level of cover as the above however your vehicle will also be insured should it be stolen or damaged by fire.
  • Fully comprehensive: This type of cover offers the most protection as not only does it include the above cover, it also offers extra benefits such as legal expenses, vehicle damage, courtesy car and roadside assistance however these additions will need to be agreed with the insurance company before you purchase.

How to buy insurance

There are lots of different insurance companies throughout the UK which offer car insurance. There are many ways to purchase however it is best practice to get a couple of quotes so you can see which is the best deal for you. As insurance is provided on each customer’s specifications, different types of cover and prices can be obtained which will allow you to make sure you are getting the right package for you and at the right price.

There are many ways to obtain insurance quotes, a good place to start is by looking at price comparison websites on the Internet. These websites allow the user to specify what they want in their insurance package and then list the best provider according to these specifications. If you cannot access the internet, a good way is to contact the big insurance companies by phone and discuss your specifications with an advisor as the advisor will usually be able to give you a quote over the phone within minutes and also confirm it by post.

What to ask for when purchasing insurance

When you are ready to purchase insurance for your new vehicle, it is a good idea to get some information to hand to stop any breakdown in the application process. Information which is good to have at hand is:

  • Vehicle details such as registration and engine capacity
  • What the vehicle will be used for and what the estimated annual mileage will be
  • Where the vehicle will be kept and stored overnight
  • What are the ages and occupations of the drivers using the vehicle
  • Has the vehicle been in any recent accidents

What you will receive when you have purchased your insurance cover

When you have found an insurance package which is right for you and have purchased it, you will be sent a confirmation pack through the post which will include the following documentation:

  • Certificate: The certificate details all the necessary information regarding the driver, vehicle and type of insurance. This certificate is necessary to provide proof of cover in case of accidents or Police queries. It is also necessary when renewing vehicle tax.
  • Policy: The policy is the detailed document which outlines the terms and conditions of the insurance package, how to claim and useful contact numbers.
  • Schedule: The schedule is outlines the components of your insurance package such as excess costs, courtesy car entitlement and no-claims bonus.

In some cases, when you purchase vehicle insurance, your insurance provider will issue an insurance cover note whilst the full policy is drawn up. This cover note will act as a temporary certificate should you need to re-new your vehicle tax or have to provide evidence for Police enquiries. 

MOT

In order to make sure that the vehicles on our roads are safe, any vehicles which are older than 3 years will need to have an MOT test. The MOT test assess certain parts of the vehicle to make sure they are safe and meet legal requirements. Although the MOT assess most parts of the vehicle, it cannot be used as a guarantee that the vehicle is in good working health.

If your vehicle is older than 3 years, you will be required to complete a new MOT test every 12 months.

How to identify approved MOT garages

There are approximately 19,000 approved MOT garages throughout the UK and these garages can be identified as ‘approved’ by looking for or asking one of the employees to show the ‘three blue triangles’ logo. If a garage fails to show this logo, it will most likely mean that they are not approved by the Government or have recently had their approval removed. Also, when checking the logo, make sure that it is up to date and is not void.

What should an approved MOT garage have

Approved MOT garages should have the following:

  • Test Bay: This should be free from other parts of the garage and include an observation centre. The test bay should also be relatively clean and away from any oils, fumes, noise or other garage related work.
  • Equipment: Testing equipment should be properly stored or laid out ready for the next examination
  • Access: The testing bay should also have adequate access for examining the underside of the vehicle and surrounding areas
  • Information Posters: These include the VT9a (fees and appeals), VT26 (nominated testers) and VT9 (authorisation of examiner)
  • Waiting Room: The waiting room should be warm and have clear visible access of the testing bay

What happens when the MOT has been completed

When your vehicle has finished its MOT test, you will be notified by the examiner if it has passed or failed.

If you vehicles has passed the MOT test, you will be give a pass certificate detailing the vehicle’s specification, date passed and valid too date (this certificate will also need to be used when purchasing road tax, see next section).

If your vehicle fails the MOT test, you will be issued with the VT30 failure certificate which will detail the reasons why the vehicle failed the test. If your vehicle has failed its test, it is a good idea to discuss the results of this VT30 failure certificate with the assessor to find out what repairwork will need to be completed. There are no deadlines for another MOT test to be completed however any car which has failed its MOT is illegal to be used on the roads.

What are the MOT test fees

MOT fees can vary from garage to garage and location to location however the below table shows what is the legal maximum a garage can charge, depending on what type of vehicle is being tested.

  • Motorcycles: £29.20
  • Cars: £54.00
  • Light Passenger Vehicle (9 – 16 seats): £56.45 - £58.64
  • Light Passenger Vehicle (16+ seats): £79.45
  • Heavy Goods Vehicle (3000kg – 3500kg): £57.50

Road Tax 

Vehicle tax is another legal requirement for road users in order for them to legally drive on the roads throughout the UK. If you do not pay your vehicle tax, you can incur a heavy penalty.

Taxing your vehicle

In order for you to tax your vehicle, you must decide on the length of time (6 months or 12 months) you wish to tax. Although taxing for 12 months is significantly more expensive than 6 months, across the 12 months, the price actually works out cheaper per month. The cost of road tax varies on a number of aspects such as your vehicle engine size, the Co2 emissions it outputs and the size of the vehicle to name but a few.

Once you have decided on the length of time you wish to tax your vehicle, you need to make sure you have the relevant documentation ready. There are 4 forms of documentation you need before you can tax your vehicle and these are:

  • Road Tax Renewal Form
  • Valid MOT Certificate
  • Valid Insurance Certificate (or cover note)
  • Vehicle Logbook (or proof of ownership such as DVLA form)

If you have these documents available and ready to hand, the process of road tax purchase is easy however if anyone of them is missing or is out of date, your purchase will be refused. However, if you have not received your road tax renewal form, you can still purchase road tax by providing your vehicle details and proof of I.D. 

For more information on any of the above topics, please visit the below sites:

www.direct.gov.uk

www.theaa.com