Article By My Car Journey Cardiff

9 tips for buying used cars: a comprehensive guide from a trusted family-owned business in Cardiff

Are you looking to buy a used car in South Wales? Buying a used car can be a smart financial move, but it requires careful consideration to ensure you make the right choice.

At My Car Journey, we are more widely known as Fordthorne Used Cars used cars, part of a trusted family-owned business who have kept Cardiff on the roads for over 100 years. We can provide unbiased and genuine advice as we are not tied to a single brand.

With many options available for you in the market, this can be extremely daunting if you don’t know where to start with such a high importance decision. To help you out, here are our 9 tips for buying used cars;

1. Set a budget: calculate how much you can spend on a vehicle

Before you start exploring, it’s important you set a clear budget that covers all costs that comes with a used car. It’s imperative that you calculate insurance, repair costs and taxes along with your monthly payments. Having this budget is a great starting point to finding the best car for you. You can use free online tools to help you with your budget planning.

2. Research thoroughly: know what models and brands you are interested in

You can look into which brands and models you are interested in and have a look around our showroom in Cardiff, South Wales. Whether you’re looking for a Ford , Volkswagen, Hondaor Volvo it’s best to do your research to make sure you’re getting the right used car for you. After all, a financial commitment is an important one to get right. You can look for common issues, recalls and read online reviews about a trusted dealer and on different brands and models to ensure the vehicle you’re looking at aligns with your expectations.

3. Check the vehicle history

Once you’ve done your research and decided on the car you’re getting, you should check the vehicle history. You can do this by looking on the government website. This report will give you an insight into the used cars past and any accidents that the vehicles been involved in. This information is extremely important during your research stage to make sure you protect yourself against any hidden issues. You can enquire about the vehicle history of a vehicle we have in stock by contacting us here.

4. Test drive!

Now for the fun part, the test drives.This is your chance to see for yourself how the car drives on the road, and get a feel of what it would be like to own that vehicle. You should test drive more than one vehicle to make a definite decision on the used car you’d like to buy. During the test drive, you should look out for how it handles, accelerates and brakes. Listen to how the vehicle sounds when you’re driving it, if there’s any unusual noises, you should mention these to the sales executive who’s dealing with you. At My Car Journey – Fordthorne used cars, we encourage you to take your time to really feel the vehicle during the test drive around Cardiff.

5. Check the service book – has the car been looked after by previous owners?

It’s important to review the vehicles service history, a vehicle that’s been looked after by the previous owners will be seen in the service history. A well maintenance vehicle is more likely to be reliable in the long term. A full or near full service history potentially can extend the lifespan of the car, meaning more trips around Cardiff. You can check the used cars MOT history on the government website to see if any major problems have occurred in the past. You should also ask the dealer for this information on the vehicle if there isn’t a service book in the glovebox as typically newer cars don’t include service books. If the vehicle has been serviced outside of the retailers service department, at places such as Cardiff Auto Electrics or HiQ Cardiff, don’t worry as the dealer will still have access to those records. At Fordthorne Used Cars, all of our vehicles come with a 60-point inspection check, 6-36 months warranty, 12 months MOT and 12 months roadside assistance on selected models.

6. Take your time to find the best used car for you

You should resist any urges to rush through the process to drive away as soon as possible. Especially when dealing with a family-owned business like Fordthorne Used Cars, you won’t feel rushed in any way. We are here to make sure you find the best used car for your requirements and needs. A used car is an investment and you don’t want to regret making the wrong choice later on. Take your time to compare multiple different options and make sure you have all the information.

7. Research the dealer you’re buying from

When you’re looking at used car dealers Cardiff, knowing who and where you’re buying from is crucial. Trust is a big part of buying a used car, you wouldn’t buy a car off anyone off the streets, so make sure you choose the right dealer. As you already know from reading this blog, My Car Journey is brought to you by Fordthorne Cardiff. If you are from Cardiff you would have definitely heard of Fordthorne – who have kept Cardiff on the roads for over 100 years. Purchasing from a reputable and trusted dealer is an important step of the buying process to make sure you make the right decision. You can research online via their website, online reviews or via social media channels.

8. Get relevant HPI checks before buying

Before you buy, you should make sure you’re getting the relevant HPI checks on the vehicle. These checks are usually done by used car dealers Cardiff, but you should make sure that they are carried out by asking for the information before buying the vehicle. An HPI check is an examination of a vehicles history. This check looks into past records to see if the used car is legally allowed to drive on Cardiff and UK roads. The HPI check looks at ownership history, legal standing, mileage authenticity and identifying information. This acts like a safeguard against any used car sales and fraud. Not only does an HPI check look for that of which is listed above, the HPI check also looks at if the cars ever been reported as stolen or clocked and can detect if the vehicle has ever been written off.

9. Research or ask for any additional products

Protect your vehicle even more by researching which additional products you can get, or ask the sales executive who is selling you the used car. These additional products include warranty & GAP insurance, as well as protective paint products – for us at My Car Journey Cardiff and Fordthorne Cardiff, we use DiamondBrite aftercare kit. This protects your vehicle from the environmental damages that can happen out of your control.

DiamondBrite can:

  • Keep the look and maintain the ‘showroom finish’
  • Save time and effort as your car will be easier and quicker to clean
  • Save money and make money – with DiamondBrite, you will in turn spend less on vehicle care and increase the resale value
  • Give you peace of mind as DiamondBrite is used and approved by leading motor manufacturers and traders across Cardiff and the UK.

You can ask one of our team about DiamondBrite or research on their website.


Overall, when it comes to buying used cars in Cardiff, following these 10 tips from My Car Journey, aka Fordthorne used cars, a reputable family-owned business can help you make the right decision and be confident about it. Make sure to set your budget, do your online and in person research, and most importantly, take your time to be confident in your decision on the vehicle you choose. If you need any further advise or you're looking for a car, contact us and we can help!