Buying a used car in autumn

As the clocks go back, and daylight hours shorten, buying a car can be a challenge, from struggling to view potential vehicles in daylight, to test drives in poor weather. But it doesn’t have to be stressful.

Whether you’re looking at 4×4 vehicles ahead of worsening winter weather conditions or are simply ready to upgrade your car, follow our guide and get yourself a great new motor.

Viewing your next car

You don’t want to view your potential next car in the dark as you could easily miss damage, dents, scrapes and bumps. Try and see the vehicle at the weekend, or if you have to visit in the dark, after work, make sure the car can be seen and inspected somewhere with strong artificial light.

If you can’t see clearly, use the torch on your smartphone to check the tread on the tyres, look under the bonnet and inside the car for signs of serious wear and tear. Our used car checklist has everything you need to know when you’re buying a used vehicle.

Testing conditions

Autumn and winter present different challenges when you test drive your next car.

You’re more likely to encounter wet or slippery conditions at this time of year, so take extra care if you’re testing the brakes to check that the car pulls up in a straight line. Colder weather will give you a good opportunity to check that the heater and screen demisters work effectively, and don’t forget to take the car out on different types of road – aim to be out for around half an hour minimum.


Throughout autumn and winter, commuters are faced with getting to and from work in the dark. When you’re looking for your next used car, it’s worth searching out higher spec models with automatic headlights, or even auto high beam assistance to make life on the road a little bit easier.

Models like the Ford Fiesta Titanium have automatic lights as standard. Once they’re set to ‘Auto’ they’ll turn on and off according to the light levels outside, but bear in mind they may not come on in heavy rain or fog during the day.


If you’re selling your car, make sure you clean it regularly and always ahead of viewings. Keep your lights clean, especially in wet conditions when dirt can collect impacting the brightness of your lamps.

If you’re thinking of changing your car, why not take a look at our selection of history-checked used cars from our range of approved dealers across the country? They even come with 12-months of AA basic breakdown cover for peace of mind.

Image courtesy of iStock.


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