Elvis was “All Shook Up” by VMC’s Cars!

At VMC, we recently had the pleasure of hosting Elvis Presley—or rather, the next best thing! Renowned Elvis impersonator Ricky Jenkins visited our dealership in search of his next ride, and the experience left everyone “all shook up.”
Ricky, who is famous for his uncanny resemblance to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, spent the day exploring our extensive selection of quality used cars. Our team was thrilled to meet him and assist him in finding the perfect vehicle. Ricky took the time to chat with our staff, sharing stories and posing for photos, making it a memorable day for all.
After thoroughly checking out our site and discussing his needs with our knowledgeable sales team, Ricky drove away in a fabulous new car that perfectly suits his rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. His visit was a testament to the exceptional customer service and top-notch selection we offer at VMC.
Whether you’re an Elvis fan or just in need of a reliable used car, come visit VMC for an experience that will leave you “all shook up!”

Visit us today and see why we’re the go-to dealership for quality used cars in Wattsville.


What To Look For When Buying a Used Car

Buying a used car can be a smart financial decision, providing you with a reliable vehicle at a fraction of the cost of a new one. However, it requires a keen eye and a cautious approach to ensure you get a good deal. Here’s a comprehensive guide on what to look for when buying a used car to help you make an informed decision.

1. Set Your Budget

Before you begin your search, it’s crucial to determine your budget. This should not only cover the purchase price of the car but also include additional costs such as insurance, taxes, registration, and potential repairs. Having a clear budget will help you narrow down your options and avoid overspending.

Consider Financing Options

If you plan to finance your purchase, research the different financing options available to you. Compare interest rates, loan terms, and monthly payments to find the best deal. Ensure that the monthly payments fit comfortably within your budget.

2. Research the Car Model

Once you’ve set your budget, start researching the car models that fit within your price range. Look into their reliability, common issues, and average maintenance costs. Reputable sources such as consumer reports, car review websites, and automotive forums can provide valuable insights.

Check Recalls and Reviews

Look for any recalls related to the models you are interested in. Recalls can indicate potential problems with the vehicle. Additionally, read user reviews to learn about other buyers’ experiences with the car.

3. Vehicle History Report

Always obtain a vehicle history report for any used car you’re considering. This report provides crucial information such as past ownership, accident history, service records, and mileage verification. Services like HPI Check, AutoCheck, or Carfax can provide these reports for a small fee.

Importance of a Clean History

A clean vehicle history report means the car has no major issues or accidents, making it a safer and more reliable choice. Beware of cars with a history of accidents, flood damage, or frequent ownership changes.

4. Inspect the Car

Conducting a thorough inspection of the car is essential. Check for any signs of damage, rust, or wear and tear. Pay special attention to the tyres, brakes, lights, and exhaust system. Look for uneven tyre wear, which can indicate alignment issues.

Interior and Exterior Check

Examine the interior for any signs of wear, such as torn upholstery, sagging headliners, or malfunctioning electronics. On the exterior, look for mismatched paint, which might indicate repairs from an accident. Ensure all lights and signals are working correctly.

Used Car Interior - Victoria Motor Company

5. Test Drive

Always take the car for a test drive. This is your opportunity to see how the car performs on the road. Pay attention to how it handles, brakes, and accelerates. Listen for any unusual noises from the engine, transmission, or suspension.

Testing Different Conditions

Try to test drive the car in various conditions – such as highway driving, city traffic, and different speeds – to get a comprehensive feel of its performance. Check the steering response and brake efficiency during the drive.

6. Check the Mileage

Mileage is a good indicator of how much the car has been used. Generally, lower mileage means less wear and tear. However, consider the car’s age and how it has been maintained. A well-maintained car with higher mileage might be a better choice than a low-mileage car that has been neglected.

Average Annual Mileage

The average car covers about 12,000 miles per year. Use this as a benchmark to determine if a car has been driven more or less than average. Extremely low mileage on an older car can also be a red flag, indicating potential prolonged periods of inactivity.

Mileage Used Car - Victoria Motor Company

7. Verify the Paperwork

Ensure all the paperwork is in order. This includes the logbook (V5C), service history, MOT certificates, and any receipts for repairs or maintenance. Verify that the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the car matches the one on the documents.

Importance of Service Records

A complete service history indicates that the car has been regularly maintained, which can significantly extend its lifespan. Look for consistent service intervals and any major repairs that have been documented.

8. Mechanical Inspection

Consider having the car checked by a professional mechanic. They can identify any hidden issues that might not be obvious during a casual inspection. This step might incur a small cost, but it can save you from expensive repairs down the line.

Mechanical Inspection - Victoria Motor Company

Pre-Purchase Inspection

A pre-purchase inspection by a trusted mechanic can provide peace of mind. They will check the engine, transmission, suspension, brakes, and other critical components to ensure the car is in good condition.

9. Negotiate the Price

Once you are satisfied with the car’s condition, negotiate the price. Use your research on the car’s market value and any issues you found to help with the negotiation. Don’t be afraid to walk away if the seller isn’t willing to meet a fair price.

Use Market Data

Research the average selling prices for similar models in your area. Websites like AutoTrader and Parkers can provide valuable pricing information. Use this data to justify your offer and negotiate effectively.

10. Finalise the Purchase

Once a price is agreed upon, ensure all the paperwork is correctly completed. Transfer ownership through the DVLA, and make sure you have insurance in place before driving the car away. Ensure you receive all keys, manuals, and service books related to the car.

Post-Purchase Checklist

After purchasing, keep all documents safe, schedule a service if due, and familiarise yourself with the car’s features. Regular maintenance and timely repairs will keep your used car running smoothly for years.

Victoria Motor Company: Your Trusted Used Car Dealership

Founded in 2003, Victoria Motor Company has built a reputation as one of the most reputable used car dealerships in South Wales. Our owners have utilised their extensive experience in the motor industry to curate a high-quality selection of used cars. Our staff, with decades of experience from various well-known car dealerships, are dedicated to providing exceptional service.

Before any car leaves our forecourt, it undergoes a thorough inspection and valet by our skilled technicians, ensuring it meets our high standards. Each car comes with a valid MOT and a complimentary three-month warranty, giving you peace of mind with your purchase.

At Victoria Motor Company, we understand that buying a car can be daunting. We ensure a no-pressure sales environment, allowing you to browse at your leisure. Our sales team is always on hand to assist with any questions or advice. If you’re in the market for a new car, visit our Wattsville showroom to explore our range of low-mileage used cars. We look forward to helping you find your perfect vehicle.

VMC sponsor The Welsh Deaf Football Association

We are delighted to be involved in sponsoring the Welsh Deaf Football Association. The squad is taking part in the European Deaf Football Championships in Turkey. You can see our MD Gareth along with the Manager Stuart Denmead in the pictures. The tournament runs until June 1st with Wales taking on England, Germany, Greece and Scotland in their group. Good luck to all the squad!


13 Best Small Automatic Cars 2019

Small automatic cars are the perfect combination for the easiest way to drive around the city. Automatic gearboxes remove gear changes, which are more frequent in built-up urban areas, and where small cars are designed to perform the best thanks to their compact design and smaller engine size.

Previously, automatic gearboxes were reserved for saloons, SUVs and high-end luxury cars. In order to keep the costs down on their smaller models, manufacturers usually only offered them in manual because they were the cheaper option.

According to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 40% of new cars sold in the UK (as of 2017) are automatic, which is a 70% increase compared to 2007.

Technological advances have helped automatic gearboxes to become more efficient and enjoyable to drive. Most models, even the small cars, now come equipped with an automatic option.

We’ve compiled a list of the best small automatic cars on the UK market.

13. Honda Jazz

The Jazz is the smallest model in the UK Honda range but still has enough space to transport four adults in comfort. Traditionally driven by the older generation who are attracted to its ease of access and reputation for reliability, this car offers a clever and spacious interior that is perfect for families.

Exclusively available with petrol engines, you can choose to add a CVT automatic gearbox to either the 1.3- or 1.5-litre i-VTEC units in the latest third generation versions. If you’re looking at older Jazz models, you need to find one registered after February 2011 – this is when the first automatic gearbox was introduced.

The 7-speed CVT box ensures you get the optimum engine output for your speed. The larger 1.5-litre engine is only available on the top-spec Sport model and is capable of 42.8mpg whether you choose to have it in manual or automatic. The 1.3-litre unit is more frugal, being able to return a maxumim fuel economy of 48.7mpg.

Honda Jazz - Victoria Motor Company

12. Hyundai i10

Often hailed as one of the best city cars on the market, the Hyundai i10 is better than most of its rivals as an automatic. If you want the convenience of an automatic gearbox, you have to choose the bigger 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine which is available on the SE, Premium and Premium SE trims.

Despite it’s compact body style, the i10 comes with five doors as standard alongside air con and front and rear electric windows. There’s enough space to transport passengers in the back and it will happily cruise at motorway speeds.

Although the automatic gearbox has an impact on the 1.2-litre engine’s fuel consumption figures compared to the manual version, it’s still capable of achieving up to 47.9mpg.

Hyundai I10 - Victoria Motor Company

11. Kia Picanto

The Picanto is in direct competition with the Hyundai i10 for car buyers looking for an automatic city car. They’re very similar cars because they actually share the same running gear; however, Kia’s city car has a different engine.

The 1.25-litre four-cylinder petrol unit is available with an automatic gearbox in 2, 3 and X-Line models. Unfortunately, the entry-level 1 specification can only be paired with the smallest 1.0-litre engine which is exclusively offered with a manual transmission.

With very little to separate the Picanto and i10 in terms of space, quality and driving experience, Kia has the upper hand by offering a seven year manufacturer warranty. This is particularly attractive for used car buyers because the warranty is transferable between owners.

Kia Picanto - Victoria Motor Company

10. Toyota Yaris Hybrid

The Toyota Yaris is unique in the supermini class as the only model to offer a hybrid engine option. The addition of hybrid technology allows the Yaris to provide better fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions without resorting to diesel power.

Using a CVT gearbox to combine the power from the 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motors, the Yaris is only available as an automatic. It’s most effective if you consistently complete short journeys; if your regular journey is largely spent in free-flowing traffic, the hybrid will only be marginally more economical than the petrol version.

The entry-level Active version comes well equipped with dual-zone air conditioning as standard. Overall fuel economy depends on specification, with the maximum claimed efficiency of up to 58.8mpg on Active, Icon and Icon Tech models.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid - Victoria Motor Company

9. SEAT Ibiza

As part of the wider Volkswagen group, the Ibiza shares a lot of mechanics with the Volkswagen Polo, Audi A1 and Skoda Fabia. This means that it benefits from a lot of safety and connectivity technology that hasn’t been seen in the supermini sector before.

The 1.0-litre TSI turbo three-cylinder petrol engine is available in three power outputs. For the 7-speed DSG double-clutch automatic gearbox, you have to select the 114bhp version which is capable of producing fuel economy figures up to 47.9mpg.

SEAT have designed the Ibiza to appeal to younger drivers with a sporty exterior. There’s no basic model in the line-up with the entry-level SE receiving alloy wheels and a touchscreen DAB radio with smartphone connectivity.

Seat Ibiza - Victoria Motor Company

8. Audi A1

Although it’s branded as S Tronic, the Audi A1 uses the same 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox as the Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia and SEAT Ibiza. However, unlike these models, it’s offered on more engines: the 1.0 TFSI 95PS, 1.4 TFSI 125PS and 150PS petrols as well as the 1.6 TDI 116PS diesel.

As you would expect, the A1 is well-equipped even in the entry-level SE trim which comes with 15″ alloy wheels, an 8.8″ touchscreen infotainment system and Audi’s smartphone interface.

The high-quality interior and typical Audi refinement make it a pleasurable small car to drive. The latest, second generation version is only available as a five-door hatchback, whereas the previous model was available as a three-door as well.

Audi A1 - Victoria Motor Company

7. Mazda 2

If you’re looking for a small automatic car that’s fun to drive, you won’t find one much better than the Mazda 2 supermini. It provides sharp handling and an engaging driving experience every time you get behind the wheel.

Every Mazda 2 is equipped with a version of the same 1.5-litre Skyactive-G petrol engine which comes in three power outputs: 75PS, 90PS or 115PS. However, the 6-speed automatic gearbox is only available with the 90PS unit.

This bigger engine provides a punchy performance and competitive fuel economy figures of 58.9mpg for the automatic transmission. The Mazda 2 is in high demand on the used market, highlighting its popularity and potential for high residual values.

Mazda 2 - Victoria Motor Company

6. Renault Clio

Updated for 2019, the Renault Clio is boosted by new technology to try and help it to stand out in the competitive supermini class. Despite this upgrade, the engine and gearbox choices remain the same as the previous version.

The 6-speed EDC automatic gearbox can either be paired with the 1.2-litre TCe 120 turbo petrol or the 1.5 dCi 90 diesel engine. As you would expect, the diesel unit returns an impressive fuel economy figure of 80.7mpg; nonetheless, the petrol version still offers a respectable 52.3mpg.

The Clio has been a mainstay in the Renault line-up since the 1990s so there are plenty of used versions on the UK market. The fourth generation models (from 2012 onwards) received a major redesign with a sportier and more contemporary look.

Renault Clio - Victoria Motor Company

5. Renault Zoe

The Renault Zoe isn’t technically an automatic car because it doesn’t have a gearbox. This 100% electric model uses an electric motor – instead of a traditional combustion engine – which doesn’t have gears, so all you have to do it is select D and start driving.

As more research and development work takes places, electric vehicles are able to travel further on a single charge. Renault claim that the latest Zoe can complete up to 250 miles, whereas older versions should be capable of around 186 miles.

If you’re looking for an alternative automatic hatchback, the Zoe provides similar levels of practicality as the Renault Clio and Ford Fiesta, while offering economy figures as cheap as 3p per mile depending on your energy supplier.

Renault Zoe - Victoria Motor Company

4. Ford Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta has been the UK’s favourite car for a number of years, regularly topping the new car monthly and annual sales charts. Its popularity is largely down to its practicality, spaciousness and fuel economy.

Ford’s Powershift automatic gearbox is only available with the 1.0-litre EcoBoost 100PS turbo three-cylinder petrol engine which is offered on the Zetec, ST-Line, B&O Play, Titanium, Titanium X and Vignale trims in the latest version.

In terms of fuel economy, the automatic Fiesta is still capable of achieving up to 54.3mpg. Because it’s such a popular model, there are plenty of excellent used versions available for a range of different budgets.

Ford Fiesta - Victoria Motor Company

3. Skoda Fabia

As a supermini contender, the Fabia is comfortable and practical without being particularly exciting. It offers tidy handling and a spacious interior which results in an enjoyable driving experience.

The Fabia stands above the crowd when you add the 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox which is available on the 1.0-litre TSI 110PS three-cylinder turbocharged petrol or the 1.4-litre TDI 90PS diesel engine.

In order to save as much fuel as possible, it will automatically select the highest gear possible – you might find it in seventh gear at slower speeds than you expected. In terms of fuel economy, the auto Fabia has a claimed figure of 61.4mpg.

Skoda Fabia - Victoria Motor Company

2. MINI Hatchback

The iconic British model has always been a popular small car since BMW reintroduced it into the UK market in 2001. Available as a three- or five-door, the MINI hatch delivers a fun driving experience alongside retro looks.

Its 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine can be paired with the new 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox for the One, Cooper and Cooper S specifications. With the traditional torque converter auto in place, fuel economy can reach a maximum of 60.1mpg.

The MINI hatch is now considered a premium model and should be viewed at the same level as the Audi A1. It retains the ‘go-kart-like’ handling which makes it so enjoyable to drive.

Mini Cooper - Victoria Motor Company

1. Volkswagen Polo

The Volkswagen Polo is the quality option in the supermini class, offering lots of space and tech as well as the best interior. It effectively straddles the gap between standard superminis and premium models like the MINI hatch and Audi A1.

Although the 7-speed DSG gearbox is used on three other models in this list of small automatic cars, you have to remember that it’s a Volkswagen product. In the Polo, the German manufacturer has paired the auto box with the 1.0-litre TSI three-cylinder petrol engine which is available in 95PS and 115PS forms.

If you want something with a bit more power, the top of the range Polo GTI exclusively comes with a detuned version of the 2.0-litre TSI engine found in the Golf GTI with a 6-speed automatic gearbox as standard.

Older, fifth generation models, offer automatic versions with the 1.0-litre TSI 110PS three-cylinder unit and the 1.2-litre TSI 90PS four-cylinder petrol engine.

Volkswagen Polo - Victoria Motor Company

How Much Mileage Is Too Much For A Used Car?

The average annual miles completed by a car in the UK has significantly reduced in the past 15 years. Recent figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT) show that cars travelled an average of 7,134 miles in 2017, down from the average of 9,200 miles driven in 2002.

Although the statistics indicate that we’re driving less, they actually suggest that we’re simply driving less per vehicle when you consider that there are more cars on the road than ever before.

Despite this, most people still tell their insurers that they complete 10,000 miles every year and it’s still considered normal to drive 12,000 miles in a year.

What Is Considered Low Mileage?

If we suggest that 12,000 miles per year is an average figure for all cars, it’s easy to work out what is considered low mileage. For example, a five year old car that has done significantly less than 60,000 miles could be marketed as low mileage.

Typically, used car buyers are looking for low mileage cars because they will have experienced less wear and tear and should have a longer lifespan.

What Is Considered High Mileage?

Using the same average mileage figure, a five year old car with significantly more than 60,000 miles on the clock would be considered high mileage. A high mileage car isn’t necessarily an old car – it could’ve been driven as a company car that completed around 30,000 miles a year.

In the past, a car with over 100,000 miles on its odometer would have been avoided by many used car buyers; however, it isn’t necessarily a bad investment.

Are Low Mileage Cars Better Than High Mileage Cars?

What Is Good Mileage For A Used Car?

There’s no golden rule that says how many miles are too many for a used car. It’s not unusual to have a high mileage car that’s in better condition than a low mileage car because of the way they’ve both been looked after and driven by previous owners.

It’s likely that people who have been driving for decades have owned cars with over 150,000 miles without any issues (other than normal wear and tear), have also owned cars that didn’t make it to 60,000 miles before needing expensive repairs.

Therefore, a good mileage for a used car doesn’t really exist. What you should be paying particular attention to is the condition of the car, its servicing history and when important components (like the brake system and cam belt) have been replaced.

Having said that, if you’re looking to complete higher-than-average miles per year, you should probably be looking for a car with less than 150,000 miles on the clock.

Is The Build Quality Of Cars Getting Better?

According to Auto Express journalist Mike Rutherford, “the quality of cars today is so good that customers are keeping them longer”. He goes on to say that “in the 2000s-2010s [manufacturers] have been building cars better than they used to”.

The Department of Transport states that in the early 2000s, cars only averaged a lifespan of six and a half years. In 2017, official DfT statistics reveal that the average age has increased to 8.1 years.

Despite this increase, the UK is still behind other European countries who keep their cars for 11.1 years on average, and the US who have an average ownership lifespan of 11.8 years.

High mileage cars are cheaper than their low mileage equivalents and have now become more appealing because they’re likely to last longer. However, if you plan to keep your car for six years or more, you will be at a greater advantage if you buy it when it’s considered to be low mileage.

Cars averaging less than 12,000 miles a year that have been well maintained and cared for should have a longer lifespan. In addition, it will take them longer to get to the 150,000 mile landmark, giving you more time to clock up those miles yourself.

Low Mileage Cars For Sale

Here at Victoria Motor Company, we specialise in supplying low mileage cars. Typically, our stock have completed less than 30,000 miles with only one previous owner and a full service history.

We understand that used cars need to have been looked after to be in the best condition possible as well as having a desirable number of miles on the clock.

Search Our Low Mileage Used Cars

Best UK Parking Apps 2019

Searching for a parking space or a car park with reasonable hourly rates can be a stressful experience, especially if you’re driving around somewhere unfamiliar.

In addition, many of us no longer carry change around in our pockets, purses or wallets. This can make paying for parking impossible, especially if the pay stations don’t accept cards. Fortunately, the smartphone era has been able to solve both of these problems with the creation of parking apps.

From helping you find a space and giving you information on parking regulations to providing a secure and remote payment method, parking apps work seamlessly to make the end of your journey easier and more convenient.

1. AppyParking

Cost: Free

Available: iPhone & Android

AppyParking is the best all-round parking app on the market offering UK-wide coverage for on-street and off-street parking including disabled and motorcycle bays as well as electric charging points.

You can search for free off-street parking options to help you save money. Alternatively, the app will automatically find the cheapest spaces with real-time availability.

The slick and friendly interface is simple and easy to use. Once you’ve found somewhere to park, you can access Google StreetView within the app to have a better idea of what the space or car park actually looks like.

Navigation to the car park or space is provided within the app when you’re in the car. It also features a walking route so you can find your way back to the car when you’re ready to leave.

The app even offers an option to pay for your parking via card or phone as well as UK-wide petrol prices and locations.

2. Parkopedia

Cost: Free / £4.99 (Premium)

Available: iPhone & Android

Founded in 2007, Parkopedia has grown to become the world’s largest parking service provider with detailed information on over 70 million parking spaces (including car parks, street parking and private driveways) in 89 countries.

The app tells you how many spaces each parking area has and colour codes them based on price, so you can easily see which ones are the cheapest. Although there isn’t a navigation feature within the app itself, it integrates with the navigation apps already installed on your phone.

Upgrading to the Premium version for £4.99 unlocks a number of additional features, including real-time parking availability for compatible spaces. You’ll also get access to a pre-booking service allowing you to reserve parking spaces through the app.

The most useful Premium feature is the ability to pay for parking via the app, online or in-car. It’s unfortunate that you have to pay extra in order to receive this functionality.

3. RingGo

Cost: Free

Available: iPhone & Android

RingGo is the largest mobile phone parking payment company in the UK, offered in more than 400 towns and cities nationwide. Many car parks throughout the country have chosen to use its system to enable drivers to pay for their parking without coins.

The app is simple and easy to use. All you have to do to sign up is enter your vehicle registration and payment card details. Every RingGo enabled car park has a unique code, which you can normally find near the pay stations, that you can enter into the app so it knows which location you’re parked in.

You can check space availability in real time using the colour-coded map, navigate to your chosen car park within the app and pay for a parking session in advance.

If you need to stay later than anticipated, you can extend a session or set up helpful reminders to let you know when you’re running out of time.

4. JustPark

Cost: Free

Available: iPhone & Android

JustPark provides access to 1.4 million spaces throughout the UK, including off-street (car parks, driveways and private spaces) and on-street (meters and free parking zones) parking.

Where it stands out from other parking apps is that it lets you rent out your own parking space to other app users. This could be your driveway, garage or designated space that you’re not using – you can choose when your space is available to rent.

As expected, you can view information on the live availability, price and restrictions of parking spaces with navigation provided by a chosen app already installed on your smartphone.

You can reserve a space in advance at over 45,000 locations and pay for your parking sessions via card, PayPal or Apple/Android Pay. Use your account to set up expiry reminders and complete extensions in a few taps.

5. PayByPhone

Cost: Free

Available: iPhone & Android

PayByPhone does exactly what the name suggests as a parking app – it lets you pay for your parking session using your phone. Available in more than 400 cities across 8 countries, it’s the highest-ranked parking app in the world.

Every eligible car park displays a unique code that you put into the app to let it know where you are. Payment cards are added using the camera-based image-recognition system, or you can pay via Apple/Android Pay.

Once your payment method is set up, paying for parking is a fast and easy process. You can choose to receive text messages before your parking session expires and you can extend your stay from anywhere.

Despite it’s limited range of features, PayByPhone is the best parking app for payment. It allows you to set your stay for as little as one minute which will automatically adjust to the longest time available for the minimum fee.

6. ParkMe

Cost: Free

Available: iPhone & Android

ParkMe is developed by INRIX, a company dedicated to providing innovative products for the automotive and transportation industries. The app is available in 15,000 cities, but was primarily developed for the American market.

Although it does cover the UK, you don’t get as many parking options as with rivals on this list which is a shame because the interface is slick, nicely designed and easy to use.

When you find a space, the app displays the price, distance from your current location, estimated availability and a Google StreetView image so you know what you’re looking for.

The US version offers the option to pay for your parking session via the app; unfortunately, this feature hasn’t made its way across the Atlantic yet. However, you can mark the location of your car and set a timer for when your parking runs out.

Step-by-Step Guide: How To Change A Car Battery Yourself

Car batteries usually have a lifespan of between three and five years, which means that you might not need to change a dead battery if you buy a brand new car every three to four years.

However, if you buy used cars or keep your vehicle for longer periods of time, it’s highly likely that you will need to change its battery. In fact, it’s the number one reason motorists call a breakdown service. Fortunately, this is a simple job that you can do yourself with minimal tools.

A car battery is a 12V unit that plays an integral role in starting the engine. It also powers all the electrical systems in the car, including the lights, radio and electric windows. While you drive, the battery will be recharged with electricity from the alternator which acts as a small generator.

Over time, the internal metal parts of a battery corrode, reducing its ability to hold a charge. When it’s in a good condition, a car battery will always supply the necessary voltage to consistently power the car’s systems correctly.

Common Signs A Car Battery Needs Replacing

By checking the condition of your battery regularly, it’s possible to spot some common signs that a battery needs replacing. However, a car battery could die without providing you with any warning signs.

  • Car won’t start
  • Car won’t start after being jump (or bump) started
  • Build-up of powdery residue on the battery terminals
  • Battery warning light on the dashboard
  • Check Engine warning light on the dashboard

If your car fails to start without any warning lights appearing on the dashboard, it’s likely that you have a flat or dead battery. Before immediately buying a replacement battery and getting ready to change it, try and jump (or bump) start the car.

Once you’ve got the car running, take it for a drive (around 30 minutes) with minimal electrical systems in use to try and recharge the battery and then turn it off. Return to the car in a couple of hours or the next day. If it starts without any issues, the battery was simply drained of power; however, if the car doesn’t start again, the battery is unable to retain a charge and needs to be replaced.

A battery needs a clear electrical current to work properly. If the battery terminals have a build-up of a whitish or blue residue around them, their performance will be affected. To remove this residue mix a solution of baking soda (1 tablespoon) and hot water (250ml) and scrub the corrosion off with an old toothbrush. Getting rid of the residue can sometimes solve the issue of a faulty battery.

The battery warning light on the dashboard indicates a battery charging problem and that the voltage being produced by the alternator is low. A car is able to function with the battery light on until the stored energy runs out. Similarly, the check engine light can appear when the engine struggles to start which potentially suggests the battery needs replacing soon.

Battery Car Dashboard Light - Victoria Motor Company
Check Engine Car Dashboard Light - Victoria Motor Company

How To Change A Car Battery

Before we get into the actual process of changing a car battery – which should take around 30 minutes – there are certain pieces of equipment that need to be arranged:

  • New battery
  • Adjustable spanner or socket set
  • Protective work gloves and eyewear
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 250ml hot water
  • Old toothbrush or wire brush
  • Radio code

Previously, car batteries were almost universal, but the development of in-car technology and the enhancement of engine performance has created complicated electrics that require many models to have a specific type of battery. The owner’s manual for the vehicle should contain the information you need to buy the correct battery. Alternatively, you can use the RAC’s online battery finder service.

You’ll also find the radio code and any other necessary PINs in the owner’s manual – when the battery is disconnected, it will cause the radio and other electronic systems to reset. You’ll need to use the appropriate codes to restore their functionality.

Once the car is turned off and parked on an even surface, you can start the process of changing the battery.


Although it might sound silly, not all car batteries are located under the bonnet in the engine bay. Consult the owner’s manual to confirm where the battery is placed – it could be in the boot or under one of the rear seats (common in some BMW models) to save space or enhance weight distribution. It might also have a plastic cover to protect it which needs to be removed.


Usually the battery terminals will be on the top of the battery, but you might find them on the side. As with any battery, there’s a negative and a positive connection. The negative terminal will have a minus (‘-‘) sign and is often black; the positive terminal will have a plus (‘+’) sign and is often red.

Always disconnect the negative terminal first to unearth the battery and prevent a charge from running through it. Using your spanner or wrench, loosen the negative cable clamp and slide it off the terminal tucking it safely away from other parts.

Repeat this process to disconnect the positive terminal.


The battery itself will be held in place by a clamp at the base of the battery or a bar running over the top of it. Unfasten whichever battery holder you have on your car and remove any screws. Now that the battery is free you can lift it out of the car. Most batteries will have a built-in handle to make this easier.

NOTE: A battery can be quite heavy – weighing between 13.5 – 27 kilos (30 – 60 pounds) – so you might need a helping hand, especially if you have back problems. Remember to keep it upright because it contains sulphuric acid that you don’t want to spill anywhere.


Using the baking powder and hot water, mix a solution to clean the terminal clamps with the toothbrush or wire brush and make sure they’re free from any residue.


Lower the new battery into the empty space vacated by the old battery, ensuring that the positive and negative terminals are on the correct sides. Reconnect the clamp or bar holding the battery in place by putting all the screws back.


The terminals on the new battery might have protective covers on them that you need to remove. Always reconnect the positive terminal first. Place the clamp over the positive terminal making sure that it goes right to the bottom. Tighten it by hand at first, then use your spanner or wrench to tighten it further.

Repeat this process to reconnect the negative terminal.


Cover the battery up and start the car. Unless you had a battery memory saver in place, you will need to input the radio code and any other PINs to restore the electronic systems.

How To Dispose Of An Old Car Battery

By law, car batteries cannot be disposed of with household waste because of the corrosive chemicals they contain. As a result, they’re classed as hazardous waste and should be disposed of responsibly.

Your council’s local recycling centre should have a facility for disposing of old car batteries. Alternatively, you can find you nearest hazardous waste-disposal site using the government’s online tool.

9 Best First Cars for New Drivers

Buying your first car is arguably the most exciting thing about passing your driving test, but it can also be a daunting experience especially because it’s something you’ve never done before. It’s likely that you’re going to be spending more money on your first can than most things in your life up to this point, so you want to make the right choice.

What Should I Be Looking For In A First Car?

As a new driver, there are a number of criteria you should take into consideration when choosing your first car:

  • Low insurance group
  • Small engine size
  • Cheap to buy
  • Economical to run
  • Easy to drive


Unfortunately, when you’re a new driver insurance is going to be one of your biggest costs. You should look for a vehicle from the lower insurance groups (1 – 10) in order to keep the costs as low as you can. These tend to be smaller cars with smaller engines.

Until you start to accrue no claims discounts, it’s best to limit yourself in terms of the models you’re considering in order to cut costs. Generally, a lack of experience is the main cause for insurance premiums to be so high. As a result, it might be worthwhile to consider having a black box fitted to your vehicle.

These devices measure how you drive and pass the information on to your insurer. If the information recorded demonstrates that you’re a safe driver who sticks to the speed limits, brakes gently and handles corners well, your insurer will be in a position to offer you a discount.


Picking a car with a small engine (less than 1.4-litres) is likely to place it in the lower insurance groups which will help to reduce the cost of your premium.

By restricting your search to engines of this size, you’ll almost exclusively be looking at petrol cars which is something we would recommend for new drivers anyway.


Price is always a major factor when it comes to buying a car whether it’s your first or your tenth. You should try to look for a balance – ideally, you don’t want to spend too much and have to worry about every knock and scrape that can happen through inexperience; nevertheless, you shouldn’t sacrifice the safety features available in newer cars.

A budget of around £5,000 is often a good starting point. If you have more to spend you can look at newer versions of your preferred model. If you have less money available you could always consider finance options so that you can drive a slightly better car than your cash budget allows.


Typically, new drivers find they are better off with a petrol car because a lot of the cost-saving benefits of diesel fuel can only be gained by predominantly completing motorway journeys – something you’re unlikely to be doing a lot of in your first car.

New developments such as stop-start technology can help you save fuel because it stops the engine running whilst waiting in traffic. Generally, smaller engines are more economical and fuel efficient, meaning you spend less money filling up.


When you’re new to the road, having a car that’s easy to drive can make a world of difference. Read and watch reviews from experts and owners of models that you’re interested in. Specifically look out for phrases such as ‘light steering’, ‘good visibility’ or ‘responsive engine’.

These all point to a car that responds well and works the way you expect it to which will help to build your confidence behind the wheel.

Best First Cars For New Drivers

We’ve factored all of these considerations into our list of the best first cars for new drivers:


The Ford Fiesta is the UK’s best selling car because it offers a great range of safety and entertainment technology without being too expensive. Depending on your budget, you can pick one up for as little as £200; however, if you want a car that benefits from recent technology, ’15’ Plate Fiestas are available for around £6,000.

As a result of its popularity, there are thousands of used Fiesta cars for you to choose from making it easier for you to find one that has the specification you want. Its range of economical engines start with a 1.0-litre version with most models sitting in insurance groups 6 – 12.

The innovative MyKey system, which was introduced in 2012, allows parents to limit the maximum speed of the car and restrict the stereo volume.

Ford Fiesta - Victoria Motor Company


All Kia models come with a seven year warranty as standard from new which is transferable when the car is sold to a new owner. Therefore, if you buy a used model that is only three or four years old, you will benefit from the remaining warranty.

Introduced in 2004 to the UK market, the Picanto has established itself as a very capable city car. In 2011 and 2017 it received some sportier design upgrades to make it more appealing to a younger audience. Predominately sitting in insurance groups 2 -4, the 1.0-litre (65bhp) petrol engine is the most popular choice.

Mechanically, the Picanto is very similar to the Hyundai i10 with which it also shares plenty of technology including Bluetooth connectivity, air conditioning and electric windows.

Kia Picanto - Victoria Motor Company


The Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1 are all built using the same platform so the finished products are all very similar. As compact cars they all provide excellent handling, especially around tight city streets; their smaller dimensions make it much easier to get into spaces with plenty of room to maneouvre.

What sets them apart from other cars in this list particularly is the level of personalisation available from new. This means that there are some funky used versions available that could really reflect your personality.

Certain trim level and engine combinations are in insurance group 1, so you could be looking at the cheapest insurance premiums possible. The Aygo has a five year warranty from new compared to the standard three year warranty that comes with the 108 and C1.

Toyota Aygo - Victoria Motor Company


One of the most expensive cars in this list, the Volkswagen Polo is renowned for its build quality, reliability and impressive refinement that gives it the ability to command high resale values.

Although it might not be the most exciting car to look at, it appeals to the image conscious new driver as a relatively affordable step into VW ownership. Introduced into the UK market in 1994, there have been six editions of the Polo with the most recent coming in 2018.

The typical German engineering under the bonnet and throughout the car provides frugal 1.0- and 1.2-litre engines as well as safety technology features that combine to put it in insurance groups 3 – 9.

Vw Polo - Victoria Motor Company


The multi-award winning SEAT Ibiza recently scooped the WhatCar? ‘Best Small Car 2018’ award alongside the ‘Best Supermini 2017’ accolade from Auto Express. This car is certainly a looker with bold exterior lines that give it a sporty design that is also aerodynamically efficient to help fuel economy.

Models from 2015 are available from around £5,500 but if you have a smaller budget you can still pick one up for £2,000 or less. On the inside, it’s spacious enough to transport five adults or a small family.

Typically, the Ibiza sits in insurance groups 5 – 13 depending on which engine and specification level you choose. Built on a Volkswagen platform, it receives a range of safety and connectivity technology.

Seat Ibiza - Victoria Motor Company


As the cheapest new car on the market, the Dacia Sandero has made quite an impression with many people opting for this budget friendly model. The interior isn’t very refined (as you might expect for the price) but the mechanics are sound having been used in Renault models.

Since its inception in 2014, the Sandero has won the WhatCar? ‘Best Small Car Under £12,000’ award every year. It offers a lot of interior space for a smaller car and sits in insurance groups 2 – 10 largely thanks to its 0.9-litre petrol engine.

Despite only being in the UK since 2013, used models are becoming more readily available at very affordable prices. Top of the range models even come with a built-in sat nav system and Bluetooth connectivity.

Dacia Sandero - Victoria Motor Company


Just behind the Fiesta in terms of popularity, the Vauxhall Corsa is a firm favourite for UK drivers, especially as a first car. Universally praised by owners and reviewers for its practicality and affordability, this car is a feat of British engineering that is perfect for urban driving.

Available in three- and five-door options, you can find the perfect Corsa for you. It comes packed with technology ranging from the more standard Bluetooth connectivity all the way up to heated front seats on certain trim levels.

£5,000 will typically get you a model from 2010 with low mileage; however, because of its popularity, there are literally thousands of used Corsas to choose from.

Vauxhall Corsa - Victoria Motor Company


The Nissan Micra has been in the UK market since the 1980s but recently received a radical new design in 2017 making it almost unrecognisable from previous versions.

It was also given a range of new engines starting with a 0.9 IG-T petrol version. The updated model is available in the used market from £9,000, but there are very few around in comparison to the older design.

Surprisingly spacious inside and easy to drive, the pre-2017 Micra typically sits in insurance groups 5 – 10 even in the higher specification models which add technology such a built-in satellite navigation.

Nissan Micra - Victoria Motor Company

FIAT 500

Reintroduced into the UK market in 2007, the Fiat 500 has become the Italian manufacturer’s flagship model. Stereotypically this car largely appeals to a female audience that can envisage it as a fashion accessory that is an extension of their personality.

It’s a very capable city car with lots of variations available because Fiat has designed special editions to be released every year to try and increase its appeal.

As a first car, driving is easy and enjoyable thanks to its light steering and compact dimensions. The 0.9 TwinAir petrol engine is economical and it typically sits in insurance groups 6 – 12.

Fiat 500 - Victoria Motor Company

Are Low Mileage Cars Better Than High Mileage Cars?


The categorisation of a car being low or high mileage is largely down to the average number of miles driven per year. In the UK, this figure is consistently falling as a result of higher fuel prices, fewer and shorter trips being undertaken and a big increase in the number of two-car households.

In 2002, the average annual mileage was 9,200; this has fallen to just over 7,000 miles in 2017. Despite these actual figures, it’s considered normal for a driver to complete 12,000 miles per year.

As a result, a five year old car that has less than 60,000 miles on the clock would be considered as low mileage because it is below average. Similarly, a car above 60,000 miles is often viewed as high mileage – largely because its major long-life parts will need to be replaced around this time.


Low mileage cars are typically seen as more desirable than high mileage counterparts because they’re essentially younger in terms of usage and can typically command more money on the used car market.


Although only theoretically true, a car with lower miles can expect to have components with a longer lifespan which helps to keep ownership costs down. In general, key parts need replacing:

  • Brake pads every 20,000 miles
  • Tyres every 20,000 miles
  • Brake discs every 40,000 miles
  • Cambelt between 40,000 and 100,000 miles
  • Timing belt and water pump often around 70,000 miles
  • Clutch and flywheel every 100,000 miles

If you purchase a low mileage car and drive less than average miles every year, you might only need to replace a couple of these components throughout your entire ownership period.


This is both an advantage and disadvantage. To begin with, low mileage cars are more expensive to buy which means that choosing one will cost you more compared to a higher mileage version.

However, if you complete less than 12,000 miles annually, the car is going to remain in the low mileage category. So, you will benefit from being able to charge more when you come to sell it.


Mileage is an important factor in the decision making process for buying a used car; however, you also need to consider age and condition. These three elements are the cornerstones for judging any used car.

Used Car Buying Considerations Triangle - Victoria Motor Company


This is often your first benchmark on whether a particular used car is worth your hard-earned money. Depending on the brand and the age of the car, it might still be within the manufacturer’s warranty. The standard across the industry is three years; however, Kia famously offer a seven year warranty followed by Hyundai and Toyota which both offer five years.

As a result, a two year old Kia model will still have five years’ worth of manufacturer warranty left to take advantage of – although there is a mileage cap that you need to be aware of.

In addition, if you choose a younger car, it can mean that you receive more advanced technology and safety features compared to a model that is just a couple of years older.


The physical condition of a car, driving behaviour of the previous owner(s) and where it has been driven are arguably the most important factors when it comes to picking a used car.

No matter how old the car is or how many miles it’s driven, it needs to have been well looked after in terms of keeping to the manufacturer’s servicing schedule and replacing worn parts where necessary.

A young car in terms of age with a high number of miles on the clock shouldn’t instantly raise a red flag. In some cases, this can be advantageous because it suggests the car could have largely been driven on motorways and long trips, meaning the brakes, clutch, gearbox and other key components suffer less wear and tear compared to stop-start city driving.

Similarly, cars that are driven for longer periods at high speeds have the advantage of maintaining the engine’s operating temperature long enough to boil and remove excess moisture from the engine and exhaust system. Corrosion and blockages can also affect suspension, engine and transmission components when fluids aren’t constantly flowing through them.

However, if the car has predominantly been used for shorter journeys around town (e.g. as a taxi, by a driving instructor or by a district nurse), the clutch, gearbox and brakes are likely to be more worn. The condition of residential and city roads will also accelerate the wear of the car’s tyres.


Yes, but you also need to consider the car’s age and condition. Ideally, you want to find a relatively young used car with a full service history that has a low number of miles on the clock.

Finding a low mileage car that has been well maintained with regular servicing and replacement parts where necessary can provide you with buying confidence, even if the car is quite old.

However, choosing a well-maintained high mileage car will always be better than going for a neglected car just because it comes with low mileage.

Here at Victoria Motor Company our buying philosphy is to supply low mileage cars with one previous owner and a full service history so you get all the benefits of mileage, age and condition. Search our low mileage stock online today.

What Is A V5C?

A V5C, also known as the log book, is one of the most important parts of car ownership. It’s a paper document that registers a vehicle with the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) and shows who the registered keeper of that vehicle is. Being the registered keeper makes you responsible for registering and taxing the vehicle.

The name on the V5C doesn’t necessarily mean they are the owner of the vehicle. For example, when you lease a car, you will be the registered keeper, but the owner will be the leasing company.


The log book itself is a four-page document that includes the following information:

  • Date of first registration
  • Current registered keeper details (including name and address)
  • The previous registered keeper details
  • Tax status
  • Vehicle details: make, model, colour, engine size and chassis number
  • Vehicle emissions

As well as providing information on the vehicle itself, the V5C is split into sections that perform specific functions for when the car is sold, scrapped or exported.


It’s a legal requirement for your vehicle’s V5C to have your current name and address. Therefore, you must notify the DVLA if you change your name or move home; you also need to let them know if you make certain modifications to your car. Failing to inform the DVLA could result in a fine up to £1,000.


Write your new address in Section 6 of the V5C, leaving the ‘new keeper’ box unticked. Send the whole log book in the post to the DVLA (the address is on the V5C) and don’t forget to also update your driving license and road tax Direct Debit details (if applicable).

All communications from the DVLA, such as car tax reminders and vehicle recall notices will be sent to the address on the log book. Any speeding fines and other conviction notices accumulated in the vehicle will also be served to that address, so if it isn’t up-to-date, you could miss important notifications. In addition, having an incorrect registered address invalidates your car insurance.


Write your new name in Section 6 of the V5C, leaving the ‘new keeper’ box unticked, along with a note on a separate piece of paper to say you’ve changed your name. Send the whole log book in the post to the DVLA.

If the registered keeper is a business, you need to include proof of its name change – a certificate of incorporation from Companies House, for example.

When you change your name and address at the same time (and the name change isn’t a result of marriage or divorce), you must include proof that your name has changed.


If your car is written-off after an accident, or you decide to scrap it rather than sell it, you can inform the DVLA online or use the paper V5C. If you fail to tell the DVLA, you could face a fine of £1,000.

The online form is available from 7am to 7pm and can be accessed at www.gov.uk/written-off-vehicle. You will be asked to enter:

  • Your insurance company’s name and postcode in the ‘provide trader details’ section
  • Your vehicle registration number
  • The 11 digit reference number from Section 9 (V5C/3) of the log book

Alternatively, you can inform the DVLA by filling out Section 9 of the log book. The company taking ownership of your vehicle will need to fill out their details and sign the declaration. There’s also a declaration for you, as the registered keeper to sign. You need to send the completed form to the DVLA in the post.

Whichever method you use, you can expect to receive a letter confirming you’re no longer the registered keeper of the vehicle. If you have any full months of road tax remaining, you’ll receive a refund in the post; however, if you pay by Direct Debit, it will automatically be cancelled.

Cars Being Scrapped On Transporter - Victoria Motor Company


Whenever you sell a vehicle, you need to inform the DVLA that the owner of the vehicle has changed. You can do this by filling out certain sections of the V5C and sending the entire document to them in the post or use details on the log book to complete the DVLA’s online form.


To make this process quicker and easier, the DVLA has developed a form on their website where you can tell them about a change of ownership.

The online form is available from 7am to 7pm and can be accessed at www.gov.uk/sold-bought-vehicle. You will need to answer a few simple questions and then be asked to enter:

  • Vehicle registration number
  • V5C reference number (this can be found on the front of the log book)
  • Whether the vehicle is being sold to a private individual or a business

It’s helpful to take the email address of the person you’re selling the vehicle to so they can receive an email confirmation once you’ve completed the form. You will also be sent an email confirmation (if you input your email address).

It’s recommended that you destroy the rest of the V5C. The new keeper can expect to receive a new log book within five working days.


If you don’t have access to the internet, or would rather complete the process manually, you can fill out the relevant sections of the log book by hand to register a change of ownership.

Using block capitals and a black ballpoint pen:

  • Complete Section 6 ‘new keeper’s details’
  • Fill out Section 10 ‘new keeper supplement (also called V5C/2), tear it off, and give it to the buyer
  • Sign the declaration in Section 8 and ask the buyer to do the same

Once completed, send the remainder of the V5C to the DVLA in the post. The new keeper can expect to receive a new log book within two to four weeks.

Whichever method you use, you will receive a letter to confirm you’re no longer the registered keeper of the vehicle.

If you have any full months of road tax remaining, you’ll receive a refund in the post; however, if you pay by Direct Debit, it will automatically be cancelled. Due to a change in road tax law, it can no longer be transferred between owners.


Before committing to any vehicle purchase, you should ensure that the seller has the V5C. If they don’t, you should insist they get a replacement or walk away from the deal entirely.

Typically, when you buy from a dealer (like Victoria Motor Company), it will be part of their process to inform the DVLA about the change of ownership. If you’re buying privately, it’s important that the seller changes the vehicle ownership details either online or by filling out the relevant sections of the V5C as outlined above.

As a buyer, the most important thing for you to receive, other than the keys to your new car, is the V5C/2 section of the old log book. This is the ‘new keeper’s details’ section which will temporarily prove your ownership of the vehicle until the new log book arrives in the post, which should take between two to four weeks.

If you don’t receive the new log book within six weeks, you should chase the dealer or seller to confirm they completed the change of ownership process. If the new V5C fails to arrive, you might need to apply for a new one using the V5C/2 section you were given upon sale.

Young Couple Being Handed Keys From Salesman For New Car - Victoria Motor Company


If your vehicle doesn’t have a V5C, you can download a V62 ‘application for a vehicle registration certificate’ form or pick one up from a Post Office. Complete all the relevant sections on the form and send it to the DVLA along with the V5C/2 (if you have it), otherwise you will be charged £25. You should receive a replacement within six weeks.

Alternatively, if you’re the registered keeper, you can apply for a new log book by calling the DVLA on 0300 790 6802. Obviously, you won’t be able to send the V5C/2 using this method, so it should only be used to replace lost or damaged V5C documents. The turnaround is much quicker with replacement log books taking up to five working days to arrive in the post.