Print this page
Print this page

Buying a car after leaving the Motability Scheme: new or used?

If you’re buying a car independently, you’ll need to decide whether to buy new or used. If you buy a used car, some simple checks can help make sure you get a fair deal.

Buying a new car

There are 4 main benefits to buying a new car:

  • You can choose exactly what you want
  • You don’t have to worry about the car’s past history
  • The car comes with a warranty
  • You won’t need to arrange an MOT for 3 years or 4 years if you live in Northern Ireland

The main downside to buying a new car is the cost. To make it more affordable, you could look into payment options that spread the cost.

Buying a used car

Buying a secondhand car can be a more cost-effective option. Check these things before you buy:

  • Log book: Whether you’re buying privately or from a dealership, you should always check the car’s log book or registration document to confirm the ownership, age and mileage
  • Mileage: The mileage on the car’s odometer on the dashboard should be consistent with the documentation
  • Has the car been involved in an accident? If so, it may have a lower value, depending on the repairs that were carried out. If the vehicle has had significant repairs in the past you might run in to unforeseen problems in the future – and they could be costly to fix
  • Condition: Does the condition of the car match what it says? For example, is the bodywork or paintwork damaged? Do the doors open and close smoothly? What is the tread on the tyres? Is there a spare wheel (with a wheel nut locking key, if applicable) or a puncture repair kit?
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): Check the VIN matches the documentation. It can usually be found on a metal strip at the base of the windscreen, under the bonnet or beneath the carpet on the driver’s side

Car data check

For added peace of mind, the RAC offers a Car Data Check, (often referred to as a HPI Check) which tells you a bit more about the history of the car.

Find out more about the Car Data CheckOpens in new window or contact the RAC on 0330 159 1111. Make sure you mention you’re a former Motability Scheme customer – you may be offered a discount.

Used car warranty

If you are buying a used car, you may want to consider investing in a used car warranty.

  • A warranty is a written guarantee (not an insurance policy). It usually covers mechanical and electrical parts and the labour involved to fit them.
  • If you decide to take out a warranty, always shop around. The cost and cover levels vary from company to company.
  • Make sure you know what you need to do to ensure the warranty remains valid – such as having your car serviced according to the manufacturer’s handbook.


Before you commit to a purchase, don’t forget to get an insurance quote. Find out more about insuring your own car .