Now that January is over and most of us are getting our finances back on track after the Christmas overspend, we tend to start looking at what changes we can make to get us through the year ahead.

Whether it’s home improvements to your living space, upgrading decor or furniture, buying new upholstery or appliances, or planning the perfect summer in the garden with a spot of landscaping or adding decking or a patio - now is the time to plan for that big spend.

And if it’s a new set of wheels you’re keen to invest in, there are plenty of things to consider reports Hull Live.

Don't get caught out when buying a used car

Size, running and insurance costs, mileage and price are all top of the agenda - but a small bit of industry code could help you to avoid making a potentially dangerous and expensive mistake.

All used cars for sale come with an insurance category rating that can tell used car buyers if the car has been in an accident or needs to be repaired before it is fit to drive.

If your car is listed as a Category A or Category B then it means it is not legally allowed to be on the road and could potentially be dangerous to drivers.

Classified advertising magazine Auto Trader states on their website: "Category A and Category B cars are so badly damaged, Auto Trader will not allow them to be advertised for sale, and strongly advise you not to buy one."

Category A cars are so badly damaged they should be crushed and never reappear on the road, while Category B cars mean there is extensive damage and only undamaged reclaimed parts should be allowed to be used in other road-going vehicles.

However, while both categories are banned from the road, buyers should also be aware of two other categories of car to look out for.

Before you reach for the keys, reach for the keyboard and check the car history using an HPI check

Category S and Category N cars (formerly C and D respectively) could leave buyers with big repair bills.

Category S cars are those that have suffered structural damage in a crash and will need to be repaired before you can drive it. The cost of the repair could be more than the price of the car, meaning it’s officially an insurance write-off.

A Category N car is also a damaged car and while that may just be cosmetic, it could also mean damage to brakes or steering, which could render the vehicle unsafe.

Not only could you face big repair bills, your insurance is also likely to be higher.

Writing about these categories, Auto Trader said: "Before you buy it, ask to see documentary evidence of what happened to the car and what repairs it has had.

“Consider having a third-party inspection done to give it the all-clear. Also, check how much it will cost to insure, as some insurance companies will charge more for Cat S/N cars, and others won’t cover them at all."

To ensure you are not caught out when buying a new car all potential buyers should get an HPI check, which can tell you if the car has been a write-off, if there is any outstanding finance on the vehicle and its full MOT history.