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Finance or Used

New, Finance or Used?

When you think of buying a car, there are several routes that you can go down and explore. You can either pay cash, part ex or make arrangements for finance. You can even choose the combination of all these three options. Whatever you choose depends on how your finances look. The UK market has become increasingly competitive with prices dropping, car specifications shooting up and the availability of flexible finance options.

Although there are lot of questions involved in the process of purchasing a car, the first and simplest one is probably the most important one: Should you buy a new car or a used one?

Buying a new car is certainly more expensive than buying a used one. Unless you decide to lease, the initial costs involved on a new car will be much bigger. If you chose to go down the finance road, you will be required to make a down payment of at least 10 percent on a new car loan. If you pay less money upfront, your monthly payment will no doubt be higher. But they key considerations that may tip the balance in favour of used cars are certification programs and new-car depreciation.

Buying a New Car or Leasing – What’s better?

Usually, people needed a reason good enough that justified leasing a car as it was seen as dead money. You pay a sum every month to rent the car and in the end you aren’t left with anything concrete to show for it! The car is not yours so you cannot sell it to build money to buy a new car. However, there are other costs involved in car ownership that you do not have to deal with when you lease and when you actually factor this in, you will realise that car leasing is a rather attractive option.

The Benefits of Personal Car Leasing

The Benefits of Personal Car Leasing

Billionaire oil tycoon J. Paul Getty quoted: “If it appreciates, buy it. If it depreciates, lease it.” That said, this quote envelopes the main benefit of car leasing. Unlike a house, a car usually depreciates in value after purchase and starts decreasing in value the moment you drive away in your brand new car. If you take a car loan or car finance agreement to purchase a car, you are simply paying a fixed amount every month for something that is losing its value rather than gaining any instead. In simple terms you will be buying a product which is depreciating not only every time you drive it around but also when it is sitting on your drive.

Leasing is a different proposition for drivers altogether. Rather than being the owner of the vehicle, he driver can pay a monthly amount to use that vehicle over a set period of time, typically for 24 or 36 months and the end of the agreement the car is taken back by the leasing company.

Let’s take a look at the main benefits of leasing a car:

  • Monthly repayments will generally cost less than the repayments on car loans. As is the case with majority of lease agreements, only a small initial deposit will be required that often sums up to three monthly payments.
  • One of biggest attraction of leasing a vehicle is that you will be able to drive away in a car that might otherwise be out of your budget if you were to buy it outright.
  • The car manufacturer warranty will usually cover the period of lease and maintenance costs can also be covered.
  • There are absolutely no up-front costs, capital outlay or car loans.
  • You can drive around in a brand new car every two to four years and benefit from the fuel economy, safety and performance advancements that are found on newer models.

Leased cars will generally be available in top condition and will usually have MOT certification.

The Aspect of Depreciation

The Aspect of Depreciation

Let’s explore the depreciation aspect of a car to better understand the best option when it comes to buying one. Three years after buying a new car, it will have depreciated on average by a whopping 60%. Yes, you read that right!

This basically means that if you try selling your car, you will only be able to make 40% of its original cost. Of course this is an average figure as it will largely vary depending on the mileage the car has done, its overall condition as well as the make and model. There are a few notorious car models that depreciate at an alarming rate so you have to be extremely careful before you end buying one of these brand new. A second-hand car should be a good deal though.

The cost of car depreciation is very real so it is very important to think carefully about how it will affect the actual cost of car ownership. To help you understand this better, take a look at the example below:

The price of Jaguar SE on the road is £30, 245. After 3 years when you sell it off for 40% of it original price or £12, 098.

The above example clearly shows that it costs you a massive £18, 147 to actually own the car for three years.

However, what if you could drive the same Jaguar SE for three years and it would only cost you a £10, 000 and you will not have to bother selling it at the end? If you cross check the prices with personal car lease you will be surprised to see that the total cost for 36 months lease payments was just under £10, 000. If you are leasing it for business purposes, the lease is even cheaper!

These days the car leasing market is unbelievably competitive and the monthly costs are low. In several cases, these are more or less similar to a car loan and you don’t really need to have a large cash deposit.

You can do the same with a Ford Focus. You can buy a basic model for about £21, 000 and after three years the cost of depreciation is £12, 600. Try leasing it for the same time frame and the overall cost sums up to only £6, 500.

Another important thing to keep in mind is if you buy a new car with added finance cost, the overall price will be even more because of the interest built into the loan repayments.

Advantages of Buying a Used Car

Advantages of Buying a Used Car

  • Better Price

Compared to a brand new car, a used car is definitely going to be less expensive. The comparative advantage of the used car price can allow a buyer to step up to a better model. It indeed feels good to ride a car that no one has ever owned before what with the feel and smell of a new car. But, that scent coupled with brand new upholstery without a single flaw in sight requires a hefty wad of cash owing. In spite of the higher rates, in most cases you will still end up with a much smaller total bill when you go for a used vehicle.

  • Variety (You can buy any make or model year)

Do you have your eyes on a 2005 Jeep Wrangler? Maybe the ideal car for you is 1979 Mustang Turbo? If you are looking for a specific, older model, chances are you are not going to find it in a new condition.

If you purchase a used car, as opposed to a brand new one, you have a much wider scope of selection to choose from and you are not limited to models that were released over the past year or two as you would be when purchasing a new one. You virtually have an infinite supply of inventory to choose from.

  • Rate of Insurance

Just like financing, there will be a drastic affect on the rates of insurance keeping in mind the age of the car, but in this case the used vehicle tends to be less expensive. A little bit of research prior to purchase will save you from insurance sticker shock, no matter which vehicle you choose.

  • Choice

It is quite obvious that you can’t build a used car to order, but maybe you want a model, a package or probably a wheel design that is no longer made. This wider selection can add to the length of the search, but precision and satisfaction seldom come easy.

  • Potentially Evade New Car Fees

If you buy a car at the dealership irrespective of new or old, you are probably going to have a number of fees piled on in spite of the condition of the vehicle. You may also come across other random fees like processing, advertising fees and preparation which can add up to hundreds of pounds. But, if you purchase a used car from a private party, you will be able to ward off some if not all of these random fees.

  • Technology

These days, used car shopping is a different experience altogether as compared to the years in the past. As a consumer you will have a plethora of resources and information available at your fingertips. There are various websites available that will help you determine a car’s value. These also help you search for the value of a car of a specific make, model or year in varying conditions.

You can even get your hands on the experiences of thousands of other car buyers who have purchased the same vehicle you wish to buy. You can find out if these buyers were happy with the purchase; if anyone experienced any kind of problems with the vehicle; information regarding the car dealer and much more.

The availability of this kind of information has made it possible for used car buyers to find out more about prospective vehicle options than ever before.

  • Depreciation

With every passing month and mile, the value of the car decreases at a rapid rate, but the most abrupt decline takes place right away; some car models end up losing 40 percent or more of their value in the very first year. With a used car, there is no getting swamped with depreciation the minute you roll off the lot. To add to this, there is significantly less mental depreciation as there is no need to lose sleep over the first parking-lot ding or rock chip in the paint, as there are very good chances that the previous owner of the car took care of those for you.

Avoiding Depreciation

Avoiding Depreciation

Once you drive away in your new car off the dealership lot, its value drops in the initial years of ownership. If you purchase a mainstream vehicle, expect your new car to lose at least 30 percent of its value within first two years of ownership. Confer with used-car value guides to get a clear understanding of what a particular model will be worth in the future. Leasing guides are another good source even if your intention is to purchase and not lease. Usually, lease payments are calculated based on residual or resale values.

You can contact In Town Automotive for any advice related to car parts as we stock a wide range of components.

Scrutinise the Cylinder Head Assembly

Scrutinise the Cylinder Head Assembly

Any mechanical failure must be analysed by an expert technician. They have a wide experience of working with machines and one should not be under the impression that by doing certain DIY tasks on weekends you can gain enough skill to perform a procedure of this scale. However, if you have taken the decision to do this job yourself then read on to know more about the process.

In order to provide the necessary lubrication the engine oil must flow through the ports that are present in the engine block and cylinder head assembly. Through these very ports engine coolant is also made to flow in order to control the temperature.

To prevent the fluids from mixing up and the compression from seeping from one cylinder into another, the cylinder head gasket is cut in a way that each cylinder is sealed and so are the respective oil ports and coolants.

Remember: The coolant turns into a brown sludge when oil enters the cooling system in a malfunctioning cylinder head gasket. You can notice this when the radiator cap is pulled off or when you take out the oil filler cap. However, there are other factors too that can trigger this possibility and in this article you can find the possible reasons behind such occurrences.

Step 1

Block Head - In Town Blog

‘Examine the engine block and cylinder head’

You should conduct a thorough examination of the mating surfaces of cylinder head and engine block to ensure that it is flat and uniform which is extremely crucial to maintaining a perfect seal.

Sending the cylinder head assembly to a machine shop will ensure that you get a professional cleaning and inspection. The technicians at a machine shop will advise you if a valve replacement is required. They will also give you instructions about the possible issues with the engine, things that you need to bring along and other such details of their services.

A good way to gauge the flatness of cylinder head and engine block mating surfaces is to use a machined straight edge. The necessary specifications and measurement limits can be found in the vehicle service manual. The mating surfaces of the cylinder head and engine block must be perfectly flat and straight throughout. If it is not this way then the component may have to be replaced.

The straight edge should be placed across the engine block deck. A simple test to see if the engine block needs servicing or not is to switch on the flashlight and flashing it onto one side. If you are able to see light by peeking between the straight edge tool and engine block then you need to service the engine block. It happens because the deck is not flat and uniform and light becomes visible between the spots that have warped.

Remember: The technicians at the machine shop are the best judge of whether a mating surface is as flat as it should be. It will incorrect to jump to the conclusion that head gasket needs to be replaced solely based on the above deduction. Hence it is advisable that you consult with a technician before going ahead with the procedure.

Step 2

Head Gasket

‘Clear out the engine block and cylinder head assembly’

The mating surfaces of the cylinder head assembly and engine block must be absolutely clean. The technicians at the machine shop, to which you take your cylinder head, will look after its servicing and cleaning.

If you intend to clean this component yourself then you shouldn’t forget to check the surface between the intake and exhaust manifold. If the head gasket has suffered extensive damage then there are high chances of the cylinder heads being harmed as well. However, it is not easy to fix this problem yourself as you will need special tools and the procedure is something not every DIYer can handle.

Remember: To clean these surfaces you should never make use of grinding wheel or revolving disc as they can cause erosion of the metal surface. Using such tools can cause small granules of metal to get deposited in corners where it can be difficult to remove them. If the dust falls around the pistons in the combustion chamber there are chances of scratches along the cylinder walls. Needless to say it is a process that needs to be handled with utmost care and for this reason we recommend getting this problem fixed at the hands of experts.

Step 3

Engine Bay - In Town Blog

‘Examine other components during dismantling’

It is not every day that you open the engine and take out components. Thus this is the best time to examine the components taken out while replacing the head gasket. By doing this you will be aware of the wear and tear that other components have been through and this should help you to prevent trouble in the future.

Remember: During the removal process there is high possibility of damaging spark plugs, coolant, belts, ignition wire, engine coolant thermostat, worn pulleys, timing components and seal. Also you may not have the different tools and components that are required for a particular procedure as it varies according to the application. Due to these complications, you should let a technician handle the head gasket replacement procedure who can do it at affordable rates.

Step 4

‘Clean the Threads’

The spiral grooves of fasteners and bolt holes are susceptible to dust collection and this can lead to building up of dust and rust which can affect their ability to fasten around. They can also result in inaccurate torque numbers which happens when the fastener get stuck on the dirt. You can take these fasteners and bolts to the nearest hardware store and get these replaced. Any dirt that has collected along the threads can be easily cleaned using a tap on the cylinder head bolt holes.

Remember: Engine blocks usually have studs that are installed in the block. After the cylinder head has been fixed on the studs, a cap nut is fitted. The manufacturers’ manual should contain details on how to handle the studs. The studs can need changing and replacement from time to time and the stud holes should be cleaned thoroughly.

If you have a doubt about anything mentioned then you should not hesitate to take assistance from a professional. It is easy to become stubborn during a DIY task and assume that you do not need any help, but in this process you may cause more damage than what already is.

Top 7 Car Hacks to Make Your Life Easier

When you own a car, you spend a lot of time in it, and probably even consider it to be much like a second home. You want it to look as good as possible and work as well as possible, avoiding any of the annoyances that occur whilst on the road to make your journey as simple and enjoyable as possible.

For some issues, of course, it is necessary to contact us, the professionals at In Town Automotive, to sort them efficiently and effectively. However, we have put together a few simple car hacks which will make your driving life much easier in the future. You can thank us later…


Brighten your headlights

Brighten your headlights

There’s nothing worse than dirty, misty headlights with stains and marks all over. Not only do they make your car look shabby and old, but they can also make your headlights dull, decreasing your visibility at night.

You probably think your only option is to fork out another lot of money for your car and invest in some headlight cleaner. However, this is not your only option. Your toothpaste is not only for cleaning your teeth, but it can also be used to clear up your headlights.

All you will need to get started is some regular toothpaste, a cloth or any old rag and some water, and then put in some elbow grease and scrub until all the dirt is gone.

However, if your headlights are in a terrible condition, it can be the case that not even a headlight cleaning kit will suffice; instead, it is sometimes necessary to get them fully restored by a professional, who will be able to make them look brand new again.

Avoid misty windows

Avoid misty windows

It can be a potential hazard when the insides of your windows mist up suddenly, making it a struggle for visibility. You may have thought that the only way to keep mist at bay is to invest in some expensive anti-fog spray. However, there is a much cheaper and effective way to control the situation.

To keep your windows from fogging up, clean a potato, cut it in half and rub the cut side on the windows, then leave to dry without touching.

Get through traffic quicker

Everyone wants to get where they need to go as quickly as possible when driving in heavy traffic, but if you’re not sure which lane to go in to get to your destination as quickly as possible, follow the lorries on the road. They usually have contact with other lorry drivers and traffic observers, who tell them which lanes to avoid and which will get them to places faster.

As well as following lorries in terms of traffic and lanes, it is also advisable to slow down if you notice that a lorry slows down suddenly. They are often advised on the best route to take and know when they need to slow down for certain roads, so instead of trying to overtake, slow down as well.

Extend your key fob range

When you’re stuck in the middle of a massive car park and have lost your car, it’s always a good idea to get your key fob out and use the flashing lights and noise of locking and unlocking to locate your car. However, as time goes on and your battery becomes less effective, you may have noticed the range of your key fob getting smaller and smaller.

With this simple trick, there is a way to extend the range of your key fob. It has been proven that the fluids in your body extend the range of the key fob for your car, so place the key fob underneath your chin and the range will become more extensive.

This trick is also a great hack for when you start walking away from your car and wonder whether or not you have locked it.

Create more cup holders

In a car, there are always too few cup holders for what you need. Either that or the ones you have are already used for storing keys and rubbish or are the wrong size, prone to spillages when you go round a tight corner or over speed bumps.

However, there is a way round this problem. You can create another cup holder by using a shoe. This is the perfect place and size to store your cups, making sure there are no spillages on your journey.

Protect your windscreen from broken wiper blades

Wiper blades are constantly in need of replacing from being broken and damaged in bad weather. If you are waiting to replace an old or broken windscreen wiper, the metal arm could scratch the windscreen glass, causing the glass to look old and need replacing too, which is a much more expensive investment.

However, there is a way to fix this issue whilst you are waiting to get them sorted by a professional. Grab an old pair of tights and wrap them tightly around the windscreen wipers. This will add an extra thick layer to the wipers, and without causing any problems with the motion, you will protect the glass from being ruined.

Whilst this is a temporary solution, it is important to remember that they will need to be fixed by a professional as soon as possible to stay safe when driving.

Get rid of motion sickness

Motion sickness can make any journey feel like a lifetime, but as unpleasant and persistent as it is, there are a few ways you can avoid it. The first is to take control by driving yourself, as this will make it less likely to for to get travel sickness in the first place.

Another trick to try is to tilt your head to the side on the onset of travel sickness; some people say this makes the nauseous feeling go away.

It can also be effective to watch what you’re eating and drinking before you embark on your journey. Make sure to avoid any alcohol, or any foods and drinks which make you feel bloated or are unusual or you. Some people also say ginger helps to ward off any feelings of travel sickness, so try taking some just before the journey.

It is also important to sit where is less likely for you to get travel sickness on the mode of transport you are using. For example, on a plane, the middle is the place where the least turbulent occurs, and on a train, it is best to sit on the forward facing seats.

Top 6 Signs of Car Engine Trouble

Top 6 Signs of Car Engine Trouble

A healthy engine is clearly the most important component in any car for it to run smoothly without any issues, and when engine problems do arise, it can be a daunting prospect to even acknowledge these problems. What’s more, you may not even recognise the signs of a car having engine trouble. The best way to ensure engine problems are recognised quickly is to get your car regularly serviced by professionals.

However, it is important to know the signs of a dodgy engine so that you are equipped to replace it or fix the problem, and this will also ensure your safety when driving.

If you are worried about your car and you suspect that the engine may be the main culprit, read on to find out more about the top signs of engine trouble with your car.

Trouble starting the engine

Trouble starting the engine

Many cars have trouble starting up in cold winter months, and sometimes you may even have to turn it over a few times before it revs into life. However, if this problem is prevailing to the extent where the car is not switching on at all, or if it is happening throughout the year regardless of weather, this may indicate that you are having problems with the engine.

If this is the case, your cylinder casing may be cracked, which can be caused by changes in temperature.

If you are experiencing any of these problems, it could be a sign of engine trouble and it’s best to get it sorted out as quickly as possible.

Oil leak

Another sign that your engine may currently not be in the best shape is that it is leaking oil. If you have seen your car leave a puddle of oil behind when parked, this could signify an oil leak in the engine.

An oil leak is a major issue and will need to be dealt with as soon as possible, otherwise, it could end up seizing up completely, causing hazards and potentially leaving you stranded.

Knocking sound

Knocking sound

This is one of the most common and well-known signs that your engine may be in trouble and is known to be one of the most impending problems with a car. If you have been hearing a suspicious knocking sound coming from your car, this could mean imminent problems for the engine.

The knocking sound can mean that the camshaft is no longer working in time with the pistons, and there is very little you can do about this than to replace the engine completely, so if this sign sounds at all familiar to you, you will need to start saving up to replace your engine completely or even your car if financially viable.

Smoking from the engine

Smoking from the engine

Perhaps one of the scariest signs that your engine might be in trouble is when the car starts blowing out smoke from the exhaust. This is often a sign that there is a bad mix of petrol and air in the engine.

There are a few options as to what this symptom could be caused by. Possibly the best this sign could be is that there is a problem with one of the tappets, however, it could mean a problem with the piston rings, which could mean a much more expensive full replacement of the engine.

If you start seeing a lot of smoke coming out of your car, it is best not to ignore this problem. In fact, you need to get it seen to as soon as possible before your engine cuts out on you completely. Take the car to the garage as soon as possible to get professional help.

Steam coming from the engine

Another fairly shocking symptom of a faulty engine is steam coming from it, which will appear to be coming from under the bonnet and signifies an overheating engine. Most commonly this is to do with a lack of fluid in the engine’s coolant system, however, it could mean a number of other things, including a problem with your engine.

Steam coming from the engine could be a sign that the engine’s gasket, radiator or pipes are leaking, and your engine could seize up fairly quickly.

If steam is coming from under your bonnet, it is highly advisable to get it seen to straight away, by a professional who will advise you on the problem and how it can be fixed.



Let’s face it, no one likes to see their engine catch fire, in fact, it can be one of the most horrifying moments of your driving life. If your engine catches fire, act immediately with a fire extinguisher, or if one is not available, move away from the vehicle immediately and call the emergency services.

An engine catching fire can be caused by several different factors, such as a fuel leakage, a short circuit, overheating, and accidents. However shocking it may seem at first, if you’re quick to put the fire out, it might not actually mean a new engine needs to be installed.

If left to burn though, the engine fire could damage fuel pumps and pipes and could lead to an explosion. It goes without saying that the issue needs to be sorted instantly.

So, those are the top 6 signs of engine problems, all of which need to be dealt with by a professional as quickly as possible once they are identified. If you are having difficulties and suspect that your engine might need some TLC, contact us at In Town Automotive for help and advice.

To prevent any major engine issues occurring, there are a few ways in which you can help to maintain your car’s engine. Changing the oil on a regular basis, using a good brand of oil, ensuring there is enough fluid in the coolant system and having regular services can mean the difference between a healthy and unhealthy engine and can save you a packet!

The Complete Guide to Maintaining your Rented Car

The Complete Guide to Maintaining your Rented Car

When you rent a car, be it on holiday or otherwise, it can be a daunting task to keep it looking pristine for when it is time to take it back to the garage. The deposit you put down on the car is sometimes hefty, and you don’t want to incur any unwanted fines for damage.

Instead of spending the last few days of renting the car worrying about taking it back, follow the next few easy steps and return the car looking brand spanking new!

Check the car before you drive it off

Check the car before you drive it off

One of the most important procedures to take before you even set off in your rented car is to check it thoroughly for any signs of damage. This includes scratches, scuffs, dents, and any damage to the interior too. It is especially important to take note if the car is at all dirty because any dirt from the road could cause you to be unable to see any scratches which are currently on the car before you drive it away.

Once you have checked for any damage, make sure to make a personal note of everything you have found, and also ask for the rent shop to do the same. This will ensure that you cannot be blamed for any damage which was already on the car before you rented it.

Checking the car for any even slight damage is extremely important so that you don’t incur any fines which aren’t your fault. This way, you won’t be worried about any existing damages and whether or not you could be caught out by them.

Check your safety

As well as checking the car for any existing damage, it is also important to check for any signs that the car might not be safe to drive. This includes looking at the dashboard for any warning lights and checking the oil level.

The car should have already been serviced and checked for any hazards, but it is best to make sure for yourself as much as possible before you drive it off.

Before whizzing away in your rented car, you should also make sure that the car is set exactly how your own would be, in terms of seat positioning of the driver’s seat, and the positioning of the mirrors. These are all factors which will increase the safety of your driving when you’re out and about.

Drive carefully

Drive carefully

This one goes without saying, but driving carefully is equally as important in a rented car as it would be in your own car. This is because the insurance policy will work in the same way, and you could find yourself having to pay out a lot of money if anything goes wrong. On top of that, you could also be asked to pay out for any repairs to damage which is caused when you are in possession of the car.

When you are in a car different to the one you are used to, it is easy to misjudge spaces and the size of the rented car, so it is highly important to pay particular attention to your surroundings, especially when you’re reversing and driving in tight spaces such as one-way streets.

It may also take some time to get used to the clutch, gears and other controls in the rented car, so you will have to allow for time to adjust by slowing down your speed. It is also important to pay attention to the speed limits and abide by them.

Many people choose to rent a car for a holiday in a foreign country, and this is another consideration for when you are driving the rented car. You will need to consider the speed limits, potentially having to drive on the opposite side of the road, and the layout of the car being opposite to what you are used to. For this reason, it is best to drive slowly at first whilst you are getting used to the car, and to make sure you know where you are going in terms of directions too.

Refrain from eating and drinking in the car

You may well be used to eating and drinking during long journeys in your own car, or when you are at a standstill, but in a rented car, you will need to refrain from doing so, as you could incur fines from a dirty or stained interior. This is particularly relevant if the seats in the rented car are fabric, as opposed to leather which is easier to clean.

It is also advisable to refrain from other activities which you may well usually do in your car, whether at a standstill or whilst driving. Painting your nails, smoking, storing junk and rubbish in your car, and doing your make up are all things you should avoid in a rented car.

If you do happen to make a mess in the rented car, it is important to try and clear up the mess as effectively as possible so that you don’t have to pay a charge for cleaning it.

Take pictures on final inspection

Last but not least, it is important to make sure you get a fair deal on your return of the rented car. More and more often, the procedure to return your car is much like checking out of a hotel where you simply leave your keys and walk out. It can even be the case that an employee does not even check over the car when you leave it.

If this is the case, you could potentially come to a dispute if any damage is recorded on the car after you have dropped it off and you believe it was not your fault. For this reason, it is important to take pictures, or even a video of the car at the rent shop before you leave so that you have proof to show that the car was in good condition when it was returned.


If you need any further advice on caring for a car, rented or otherwise, contact us at In Town Automotive and our professionals will be able to help you.