Safety and tech we take for granted

But imagine a time where parking sensors didn’t exist and the biggest development in terms of safety was seat belts.

It’s the past developments of features like the seat belt and even starter motors that without those discoveries, wouldn’t have led on us to modern day advances like stop/start, cruise control and even starting the engine from your own home.

Let’s have a look at the motoring inventions that have paved the way.

Starter Motors

Before the starter motor, most cars would need to be hand cranked. Not always as easy as it sounds. Get it wrong and a broken wrist or even a broken arm could be the result.

It was Clyde J. Coleman who invented and patented the first electric starter in America in 1903. In 2018, remote starters are proving more and more popular, so that you can start you car from inside your house to warm everything up or get the air-con working. Just remember that you need to get in and actually drive it.

More standard engine features include start/stop technology which allows the car to come to complete stop, saving fuel when stationary.


We take a smooth ride for granted today, but wooden spoked wheels with metal rims were what the first cars rode on.

It was John Dunlop in 1887 who first developed practical tyres for his son’s bicycle. In 1890 he was manufacturing car tyres from a factory in Belfast and it was in 1946 that Michelin invented the radial tyre. Today the tyre choice is enormous with run-flat tyres and nitrogen gas filled tyres becoming more common place, along with tyres specifically for summer and winter, improving handling and stopping distance all year round.

With the developments of tyres, new safety features like Brake Assist Systems can rely not only on cameras and radar technology but the reliance on the tyres themselves.

Seat Belts

It was following World War II that a greater focus on car safety began. Car design slowly changed, and during the 1950s seat belts became an optional extra with more and more manufacturers. It was after the Saab GT 750, displayed at the 1958 New York Motor Show featuring seat belts as standard that the practice became commonplace.

In the UK advertising encouraged drivers and passengers to use them on every journey, and in 1983, it became law for drivers and front seat passengers to belt up. Today, all passengers need to wear seat belts with many coming with ISOFIX points making fitting child seats much easier.

But there is a down side to all this new technology. A recent survey revealed that it is evolving faster than the typical driver’s understanding.

It highlights the importance of a good dealer, who’s willing to spend the time with you when you buy the car (and perhaps at a later date), to take you through all that amazing tech.

But as we’ve seen, this new technology can help make driving easier and safer, and is definitely here to stay.

Dates that changed the motor industry


Before car dealerships and motor supermarkets became the norm, if you wanted to view all the latest new models you needed to visit the British International Motor Show. First held at Crystal Palace, London. The same year that the speed limit was raised from 14 miles per hour to 20 miles per hour.

This was also the year that driving licences were first introduced at a cost of 5 shillings, 25p in today’s money.


One of Britain’s most iconic car manufacturers, Rolls-Royce Limited, was formed by Charles Stewart Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce.


With 25,000 black cabs in London, it’s easy to forget a time when they weren’t around. This was the year that cabs with meters first began operating in London.


Jumping ahead a few years, Motor Vehicle Excise Duty, otherwise known as car tax, began for the 1 million drivers that were on the road in Britain. Small numbers compared to the 31.3 million cars licensed for use in the UK in March 2018.

1925 – 1935

Considering the number of drivers on the road, it wasn’t until this 10 year period that 3 important aspects of road safety were introduced. Firstly in 1925, the first three-colour traffic signal was installed in London, in 1931 the Highway Code was launched and in 1935 the compulsory driving test was introduced.


Travelling the length and breadth of the UK may be time consuming but compared to 1958 when the first motorway opened, it’s pretty simple.


The MOT test was introduced for cars 10 years old.


The Road Safety Act of 1967 introduced the first maximum legal blood alcohol or drink driving limit but it wasn’t until 16 years later in 83 that it became law for drivers and front passengers to wear seatbelts.


61 years after the driving test, the theory driving test was introduced.


An electric driverless car was tested in public for the first time in Milton Keynes.

The future looks very exciting for the world of cars and we’re looking forward to being a part of it.

Car DIY jobs you can do at home

Clean Everything Meticulously

Cleaning a car is more than just washing and waxing its exterior. Sadly, most people do not clean their car thoroughly enough which can cause rust and various mechanical issues. However, it isn’t just the mechanics you need to consider when you’re cleaning your car. Just like beauty, it’s what’s inside that counts, especially under the bonnet. The longer that you spend cleaning your car, the longer that you effectively spend inspecting it and finding issues that you can resolve cheaply and effectively, without the need for a mechanic.

Scrubbing Up the Insides

You may love the way that your car looks on the outside, but don’t forget that you’ll spend the majority of your time inside it. Small, simple changes can make the world of difference, and even a cheap new trim can vastly improve the interior if it is fitted well.

The dashboard in particular will suffer from wear and tear over a lengthy period of time and, as a result, it could hinder your ability to drive properly. If the dashboard pad is faded, consider repainting or dyeing it. After all, you’re going to spend a lot of time staring at it. 

Finally, consider the seat fabrics as well as any mats or flooring fabrics. As you get in and out of the car constantly, the fabric or leather will rip and strain, wearing away over time. Simply changing the floor mats and even shampooing the seats could make all the difference.


Seal, Waterproof and Safeguard

On a rainy day, your car is a safe haven that protects you from the horrors of the outside world. However, over time the seal that surrounds your doors can wear away. In the short term, this will only cause limited problems and you may only notice a little bit of wind when you drive. But, as time passes by, these gaps will only grow, and rain will soon start to get in.

The rubber strips that you need for this task are incredibly cheap but, admittedly, the task of replacing them is time consuming and somewhat frustrating. It is, however, well worth it in the long run.

Repair Damaged Paintwork

When it comes to making your car look as beautiful as the day that it first left the production line, touch-up paint is your best friend. Scratches, scrapes and chips are all commonplace, no matter how careful your driving is.

But be wary of touching up the paint too often as your paintwork will become uneven and patchy (especially if you do not have an exact colour match). Use it sparingly and only when a scratch is noticeable. As a general rule of thumb, it is never as bad as it looks anyway.


Wheels and Tyres

Getting a higher level of performance from your tyres can be as easy as making sure that they’re correctly inflated. This may sound simple, but it is something many car owners forget, and their vehicles suffer as a result.

Your car’s tyres are central to its success, improving the handling, stopping distance and performance. Tyre maintenance is simple and constantly monitoring their tread and checking for punctures is the best way to prevent any accidents.

So, there we have it, simple ways that you can maintain your classic at home; all without the need for an expensive mechanic. 

Best cars for summer in the UK

Beach days

There’s nothing better than clocking off work early, gathering up your friends, grabbing a couple of disposable BBQs and heading off to the nearest beach. To get there you’ll need a car small enough to fit in any tight car parking space, enough space to pack a beach ball and full of fun! How about getting the top down too and enjoying the cool sea breeze?

MINI Cooper Convertible

An icon of British motoring, the MINI Cooper not only looks good but is great fun to drive, especially with the top down. There’s not a whole lot of room in the boot but it’s big enough for the essentials, like sun tan lotion and a few beers! For a used model you could expect to pay just under £3,000 but if you fancy a brand-new model you could drive away with one from around £19,795.

Happy campers

If you feel like disconnecting from the modern world for a few days, switching off the wi-fi and getting back to basics, a camping holiday can be fun for all the family. Picture toasting marshmallows by the fire, long walks, fishing and even scary ghost stories. But you’re going to need a big car to pack all that fun into.

Hyundai i40 Estate

This car is perfect if you need plenty of luggage space but somewhere comfortable, and safe, for your passengers. There’s space for tents, chairs, blow-up mattresses, and the kitchen sink! It’s ideal for attaching bike racks and roof boxes for even more storage space. Prices for a used model can start around £6,000, so lots of car for your money, but start from £21,610 for a brand-new model.

Family stay-cay

Are you swapping Lanzarote for the Lake District this year? Then make sure you’ve got the perfect car to not only get you from A to B, but from work mode to holiday mode. If your destination is a long drive away, you’re going to need a car that’s comfortable, safe and has plenty of leg room for the whole family.

Vauxhall Zafira 7-seater

You don’t need to choose between the dog and granny anymore, no one gets left behind with a 7-seater Vauxhall Zafira. Don’t need all the seats? Just fold down the rear two and enjoy the extra boot space – shopping trip anyone? Sadly, production finished in 2018, but you can get an absolute bargain on a used Zafira from the early 2000s for under £1,000, all the way up to £25,000 for an 18-plate. Just don’t forget to stow away your tray tables!

Festival with friends

If one thing screams summer in the UK it’s a festival. Whether it’s Glastonbury, Wireless, TRNSMT or even a gig in your local park – music never sounded so good than when the sun is shining. But if you’re going full festival and heading away for the weekend, you’ll need a ride that’s reliable, easy to park, packed with all the latest tech and superb sound system.

Abarth 595

Fancy a Fiat 500 with an edge? Be the envy of all your mates with a festival-ready 595. Your mates will be bribing you for a lift when you rock up in this nifty number. It’s guaranteed to have you standing out from the crowd and is pretty handy in those tight parking spaces. If you’re looking for a used model be prepared for prices to start around £6,000. Prices for a brand-new model depend on the level of spec and extras you choose, but can start from around £20,000.

Carry on caravanning

With the number of people spending their summer holidays in the UK rising, caravan holidays are becoming more popular every year. Whether it’s hiring out a static caravan or investing in your own motorhome, it can be the perfect British summer holiday. If you like touring around the UK, visiting different locations each day, then a motorhome could be your perfect ride.

We’re not just about cars, you can also search a huge range of caravans, motorhomes and campervans from local dealers and private sellers throughout the UK.

Tips for selling your car

1. Tidy car means tidy profit

It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at the amount of car adverts we’ve seen that feature untidy or dirty cars. This can give off the impression that the car hasn’t been cared for or is unloved by its current owner. Even if the car isn’t being used at the time of selling it, give it a good clean and tidy before taking any photos and especially before viewings. A viewer wants to know that the car has been taken care of and it was valued by its current owner. Plus, giving the car a nice clean can make it look newer and possibly help you get the price you’re looking for.

2. Get the right balance of photos

Once you’ve given the car a good clean, it’s time for the photos. A good set of photos can convince someone to call for a viewing so getting the right balance is key. One photo could mean you’re trying to hide something, whereas putting too many on can mean the buyer scrolling for too long and becoming disinterested. Make sure you take a few external shots, from the front, back and sides. If it’s a convertible, take some with the roof up and down. Use the photos to highlight any good features like alloy wheels and body kits. Don’t forget the interior, highlighting features like leather seats, entertainment systems and even the boot size. Aim for 5-6 photos, a mix of inside and out.

3. Be honest

There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve found the car for you and turning up for a viewing to find its not what was advertised. When selling a used car, it’s common for the car to have wear and tear so don’t shy away from being honest. If you’re upfront with the car’s flaws and a buyer still wants to view it, you’ll have a better chance of selling it due to the trust you’ve built with the buyer. Provide as much information about its history as possible and never lie, most buyers will run their own checks anyway. If the car is right for them, they’ll buy it, warts and all.

4. Avoid overpricing

We understand that you want to get the best price for your car, but this can lead to overpricing and can put buyers off even before they’ve had a proper look. Remember you’re selling a used car and that comes with a used price. Just because you value it at a certain price, doesn’t mean someone is willing to pay that. Do some research to see what the going rate for your model is. Is your car in better or worse condition? Is there any additional features that your car has? If you’re willing to negotiate, let buyers know. It’s also important that you don’t sell for too little, decide on a price you’d be happy with yourself and try to not go below that. If a buyer knows you’re keen to sell quickly, they might take advantage. It’s all about coming to an agreement that you’re both happy with.

5. Make sure your advert is seen

There are many options when it comes to the best place to sell your car, but the smart choice is with Exchange and Mart and s1cars. Setting up your advert is quick, simple and can cost as little as £5 for 2 weeks. Even better, if you’re selling a classic car that is more than 25 years old, it’s free! There’s a reason why buyers and sellers have been relying on us for over 150 years, so if you’re looking to sell your car then place your ad today.

Selling your car and looking to upgrade? Whether it’s something newer, smaller or bigger – search thousands of cars in stock today.

When is the best time to buy a new car

It’s all about timing

Most people probably know that every March and September is ‘new reg’ time. Predictably, these are big sales times for dealers, who want to make the most of people who just have to have their brand new car with their brand new reg plate sitting on the drive on day one.

But if you’re not so fussed, February and August are good times to buy. Sales are often slow as buyers wait for the new number plates to come along, so there is likely to be a deal to be had. Worth bearing in mind, though, as silly as it seems, that having an ‘old’ plate on your car, even if you buy it on, for example, August 31, could mean faster depreciation.

There are other times of year to watch out for as well. At the end of each quarter, especially the end of June and December, dealers are looking to hit their quarterly sales targets and you could play that to your advantage.

Keep an eye out for new model releases

If you’re not overly fussed about having the latest version of a model, keep an eye out for the release dates of new or ‘facelifted’ cars and do a deal on the outgoing one a few weeks before it leaves the showroom to make way for the new model. Dealers will want to get rid of old stock and are more likely to offer you a tempting deal. Again, though, think about the fact that the outgoing version will depreciate more quickly than the updated car, even if it’s basically the same age.

If you do want the new model, wait a few months after its launch before going for it. That gives time for the new car buzz to die down and for a better deal to be on the table.

Don’t visit at weekends OK, this isn’t always easy if you work during the week, but showrooms are predictably busier on a weekend. So go during the week if you can, ideally a Friday. The reason? Again, it’s the targets salespeople have to meet. Dealers will be keen to meet their weekly targets, so a Friday visit could yield a good deal for the buyer – you can even actively use it as a bargaining tool.

There are good and bad times of year to buy certain cars

Looking for that top-down motor for the summer sun? Buy it in the winter. Demand for convertibles will be lower during the cold months, so there could well be bargains on offer. Likewise, demand for SUVs and four-wheel-drive vehicles tends to peak during the autumn and winter months because of bad weather, so you might get a better deal on one if you buy in the summer.

Good luck

Do your homework and you should never have to pay full ‘book price’ for a new car. There are always ways to get yourself a deal and salespeople always have room to manoeuvre.

Money Matters: How Much Is Your Classic Car Worth

The first thing to bear in mind is that there is no right answer; cars, like any other commodity, are worth what someone is prepared to pay for them. If you’ve owned a car for some time, its value will have changed since you bought it, for better or worse. There are various ways to check your car’s value. The best places to start are:


·         Price guides carried in classic car magazines

·         Online price guides

·         Checking out the prices advertised for similar cars in classified adverts

·         Getting a valuation from a classic car specialist

·         Classic car auction activity

·         Reviews of estimated values from the most popular classic car websites


The guide below will give you a little more information on the factors affecting car prices, and this material, combined with the information you can gather from the above sources, should allow you to realistically assess the value of your vehicle in the context of your market.


Learning how to correctly estimate used car values is a crucial skill for those who are looking to sell their vehicles or trade them in as a down payment for a new car purchase. If you’re willing to spend a little time doing your research, then it’s easy to conduct a car valuation assessment yourself using online car valuation tools and guides to determine the value of your motor. The rules and processes outlined below help to provide an accurate valuation model for all types of used vehicles, including classic  and antique automobiles. 

The mileage of your vehicle is very important when you’re estimating its value. The average consumer puts 2,000 miles per year on his or her vehicle, so this is the scale used to determine the mechanical age of the car. That means that if your 1960 Chevrolet Corvair has 100,000 miles on the clock, it’s going to be worth significantly less than the same model with a reading of 56,000 on the odometer. For many motor enthusiasts, 100,000 miles is a bridge too far when purchasing a vehicle. The more miles a used car has, the lower the price it will command. Conversely, selling a classic with lower than average mileage can be a very lucrative affair.

Other factors which influence the value of a car are:


·         The area a consumer lives in

·         Interior damage

·         Exterior damage such as scratches, nicks and dents

·         Past mechanical problems

·         Poor-quality upgrades/replacement pieces

To command a higher value, you should always keep receipts proving that your classic has received regular maintenance, as a car with an evidential provenance of quality care is likely to be much more reliable long-term.

Selling to a Classic Car Dealer vs. Retail Value

If you carefully calculate a value using the sources above, only to receive a significantly lower quote when you contact a classic car dealer, this is to be expected. There is always a marked difference between your car’s trade in value and retail value, as dealers have to factor in making a profit for themselves when they pass the car on.

The retail value that you’ve calculated is likely to be closer to the actual worth of your car, and is probably around the amount that a buyer would expect to pay if they purchased the car directly from the dealer. The dealer’s offer, on the other hand, is what the dealer is willing to pay you for an immediate sale, factoring in the amount they can sell for and the profit they will make, so it will always be less.

The value dealers will offer you for your classic is not however set in stone, and if you’re looking for a quick sale, contacting a few specialist classic dealers will probably be beneficial. This is because the price you’re offered is affected by how in demand the car is. If a dealer already has a buyer on his books who is looking for that particular model so he knows that he can sell the car quickly, he might be willing to up his price. Similarly, a dealer who already has a classic of the same make and model in his showroom will probably offer less than one who doesn’t, as he knows that he can already meet his consumers’ needs in that area.

If you’re not desperate for a sale, it is always better to wait for a private buyer so that you get top dollar for your classic. You’re much better off selling to other consumers through local newspapers or online than turning to a businessman who’s looking to make a profit.      

Car Valuation Guides Online and in Print

Make sure parts are legitimate and priced correctly so you can maintain your classic vehicle well

There are multiple online websites which offer value calculators to assist consumers in accurately estimating a classic car’s retail price, and a quick Google search will turn up the best of them. Use these sites, of course, but bear in mind that the values obtained will be estimates. The true value of your car will be dependent on a number of factors, from condition to mileage to provenance. Make sure that you don’t use standard car valuation tools, but instead look for special classic car value calculators which list estimates for specific makes and models. Whether you’re driven by curiosity or a desire to sell, you hopefully be pleasantly surprised by what you find. 

Best car games for kids (and adults!)

1. I Spy

Our top spot goes to the classic I Spy. A game that can be played pretty much anywhere and doesn’t require any pre-planning, equipment or age restrictions. It’s great for involving the whole car, even the driver can have a go – as long as they don’t get too distracted. One person takes a turn to ‘spy’ something, it can be in the car or outside. They then recite the line ‘I spy with my little eye, something beginning with (letter)’. Everyone then takes a turn to guess what it is. The winner is the next person to ‘spy’ something, and so on.

2. Road trip bingo

This game takes a bit of pre-planning but is a good way to keep everyone occupied over a longer period of time. It involves each person being given a bingo card, or a sheet of paper, with certain objects you expect to see on your journey. This can be things like cars, a certain colour, landmarks, animals – anything really. Each time someone spots one, they mark it off on their sheet. The first one to get all of them wins a prize!

3. 21 questions

This is another simple game that doesn’t need any pre-planning, just your imagination! One person thinks of a person, it can be a celebrity, sports person etc. You can either play it in pairs, with one person being the thinker and the other the guesser, or the whole car can join in. Either way, you have up to 21 questions to ask and the responses can only be Yes or No. You can’t repeat the same question and the winner starts the next round.

4. A to Z

This game is great for people that enjoy some competition. The game is simple, someone picks a topic like ‘Animals’ and everyone takes a turn to name an Animal that begins with a letter in the alphabet from A to Z. So, the first person starts with A, next person is B and so on. You can make it as easy as you want with the categories but the harder the better, especially when you get to X,Y and Z!

5. The Name Game

This one is may be more for older kids and adults and you can find yourself getting a bit flustered! Again, the rules are simple. Someone picks a famous person like ‘Michael Jackson’ and then next person needs to say the name of another famous person whose first name begins with the first letter of that person’s last name, for example: 

Player 1: Michael Jackson

Player 2: Jennifer Lopez

Player 3: Lady Gaga

And so on!

To make it even more competitive, why not try setting a timer for each person. If they get flustered and can’t find a name, then they’re out! Or, if they get it wrong, try some forfeits for when you arrive at your destination.

Why not try making up your own car game and making it a road trip tradition for you and your travel companions?

Nothing makes a road trip more memorable that the car you’re travelling in. If you’re searching for the perfect car, then search thousands of cars local to you.

Road trip essentials

We know the thought of travelling longer journeys in a hot car, especially with kids or pets, can put anyone off. But, with our road trip checklist, the holiday feeling can start as soon as you get in the car.

Snacks, snacks and more snacks

One of the best parts of any road trip is stocking up on your favourite snacks for the journey. Not only is it essential to keep everyone hydrated in the heat, it’s a good way to get in the holiday spirit with your favourite treats. Make sure you pack plenty of water, juice and try and snacks – healthy ones where possible. Watch out for anything that can melt quickly! Handy tip: Pack some wet wipes to clean any sticky fingers or spills! If you’re travelling with pets, make sure you pack them some tasty treats too and plenty of water.

Something beginning with…G!

Games! Everybody loves a good car game, whether it’s a classic like eye spy or the licence plate game. Most road trip games don’t involve much planning, or equipment, just a good sense of fun and some imagination! Games are a good way of keeping kids, and adults, occupied during long journeys and can help with travel sickness by keeping their minds off the road. It’s also a good idea to pack some playing cards or even iPads if you want some quiet time.

Time for a time out

Speaking of quiet time, it’s a good idea to schedule in some nap times for kids during long journeys especially when they start to get restless. Some children can find it hard to sleep in the car so packing some pillows and even their favourite blanket can help them feel more comfortable and drift off to the land of nod. It’s also important to give the driver a rest so make sure you schedule in stops along the way or even an overnight stay for cross-country trips.


Arguably the best part of a road trip is the playlist! Whether it’s some chill out tunes or a fun family sing-a-long, there’s nothing better than getting everyone together to create your own playlist. Start planning in advance of the trip and get everyone to select a handful of songs to feature. This way there’ll be a nice mix of songs and with something to keep everyone happy. You never know, you might reveal some guilty pleasures. It also means you’re not having to constantly re-tune the radio every couple of hours.

It’s all about the ride

Last but not least, the perfect item for a great road trip is the ride! It could be a sporty, convertible to get the top down and the wind in your hair, or a 7-seater big enough for kids, dogs and the kitchen sink – packed with in-car entertainment. If you’re searching for that perfect car, then check out the thousands of cars we have in stock.

Hazards of summer driving


This can be a serious problem not just for the car, but for the driver too! Driving in hot weather can cause the engine to overheat and can cause issues with the coolant system. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge in your car and check your coolant levels before heading out. It’s also handy to keep some extra coolant in the car or some water as a backup. Air conditioning can put some added strain on your engine, so if you suspect the engine is overheating turn this off. It may make the next few miles unbearable but can be the difference between a breakdown and getting somewhere safe to call for help. If you’re the driver, make sure you keep hydrated in the car, especially during longer journeys. Make sure you take plenty of breaks and keep a water bottle with you.


For some reason, there always seems to be an increase in roadworks during the summer. Road conditions can be affected by the change in temperatures from winter in to summer, so keep an eye on any cracks and potholes that may appear on your daily route. For any major roadworks, there is usually plenty of notice given, so keep this in mind to allow extra time to get to your destination.

Increased traffic

Along with increased roadworks, traffic levels are also higher during the summer with school holidays meaning more people are on the road than usual. Public transport use can increase during the holidays too, so expect traffic and a lot of it. If you get stressed in these situations why not try a different route? It may add a few minutes on to your journey, but it could help avoid any road rage situations.


During the warmer weather, many drivers decide to swap the fast lane for the cycle lane, which can increase the number of cyclists on the road. Many people are taking advantage of the nice weather or simply trying to get that summer body ready. It’s not only adults cycling to work, many schools are encouraging children to cycle now, reducing congestion and pollution around school areas. Always be aware of cyclists on the road, slow down when you’re near and keep as much distance as possible.


The sun can be pretty rare in the UK, which is why it can often catch us off guard, especially when we’re behind the wheel. Glare from the sun can seriously affect your sight and can be a serious distraction leading to accidents. The best way to stay prepared is to keep your windscreen nice and clean, replace any worn out windscreen wipers, keep your screen wash topped up and keep a clean pair of sunglasses in the car. Sun visors are there to help, but if you’re not so blessed in the height department, it may be time to invest in extendable visors.


If you suffer badly from hayfever the best option, if you can, is to have someone else drive. Hayfever, when particularly bad, can affect your eyesight, cause drowsiness if you’re taking medication and can make driving very uncomfortable. If you do need to drive, keep windows and air vents closed to keep out any pollens, keep your car clean of any dust, keep tissues in your car and wear sunglasses to block out the light.

Driving in the summer can mean long journeys with children and even pets, so make sure you check out our blog for tips on driving with kids and pets.

Are you thinking of a new car for summer? Maybe a sporty convertible? Then search our thousands of deals, from local, trusted dealers.