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Wheeler Dealer Mike Brewer on the optional extras you shouldn’t buy a used car without

Time 1 year ago

Wheeler Dealer host Mike Brewer – and the man front and centre of the Car Dealer Used Car Awards – knows a thing or two about used cars.

Having bought and sold thousands in his years as a car dealer and TV star, he’s come to know what buyers want when they’re looking at the optional extras list.

Here he picks out the five he’d never be without on used cars.



When it comes to buying or selling used cars – if you play the used car market right, you could end up with a deal on an absolute gem.

However, the disadvantage of the used car market is you don’t get to pick the exact spec of your car like you do with new models. Whether you’re a car dealer or a punter, selecting the right used car is very tricky because they’re all so different.

That’s why I think it’s vital that you look out for used examples with a good selection of optional extras included.

When I’m looking for used models for my forecourts, these are the extras I can’t do without.


Sat nav

Top of my list of must-have optional extras for your used car is a sat nav. It’s never pleasant shouting out of the window ‘Oi, mate, any idea where King’s Road is?’

With a built-in sat nav, that’ll be a thing of the past. Granted, most smartphones have decent navigation apps these days, but a proper manufacturer-fit sat nav system will be far easier to use.

Plus, some will even warn you of those pesky fixed speed cameras, traffic jams and other potential hindrances. I think it’s worth navigating towards a car with one.

Having a built-in system is also advantageous to having plug-in unit because it will sync with the car’s other features. This means it can lower the volume of music when it gives an instruction, for example.

Climate control

The days of poverty-spec wind-up windows are long gone – now if you want cool air, you don’t have to open a window, you simply press a button instead.

The vast majority of cars, except for a handful of very basic-spec models, feature air conditioning as standard now. However, the more advanced option of climate control is even better.

Instead of just blowing hot or cold air in your face, climate control uses a computer with sensors to maintain a stable temperature inside the cabin. Far nicer, in my opinion.

Simply select the exact temperature in degrees that you want and the system will change the climate accordingly. This is perfect for achieving a cool, breezy atmosphere in the summer or a cocoon of warmth in the winter.

Upgraded sound system

I love my tunes as much as the next man and these days you’ll be hard-pressed to find a car that’s like listening to the Top 40 through a wall.

Even budget cars have half-decent basic sound systems and speakers, but music junkies like me should hunt down a used vehicle with upgraded kit.

Manufacturers do cater for this, and some models out there on the used market have improved sound systems fitted to them, often designed by big music industry names such as Sony, Harman Kardon or Bang & Olufsen.

Opt for a used car with such a system and you’ll be treated to aural ecstasy.

Autonomous driver aids

Although autonomous features are still at the cutting edge of in-car tech and are only usually on the latest high-spec models, there are used cars out there that have them fitted.

Such features are usually aimed at enhancing safety.


Autonomous emergency braking can help you avoid a collision, lane keep assist prevents you from straying across the lines, and adaptive cruise control not only lets you keep a constant speed without having your foot on the accelerator, but it also uses radar technology to detect vehicles ahead and adjust your speed accordingly. I love them all, and so will you.

These aren’t features you’re going to find on the majority of used cars, but if they are available on some of the examples you’re looking at, they’re definitely worth considering.

Connectivity pack

With the range of connectivity features in cars having dramatically increased over the years, there are now so many useful bits of kit that you may want on your next purchase.

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Fortunately, a lot of manufacturers offer a selection of these in connectivity packs, which can be added to a new car.

These include features such as Bluetooth, digital radio (DAB) and Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Bluetooth lets you connect your phone to your car, meaning you can wirelessly play music, as well as take calls. I especially like CarPlay, which puts a Siri assistant in your car that you can tell what to do!

More Mike Brewer columns can be found here

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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