■ Transmission: On early manuals, listen for the clutch ‘squawking’ during low-speed manoeuvres. It’s a fault of the pad material. On Touchtronic autos, check that the selection buttons work positively. Early cars can mis-select, triggering a warning light that a system reset will fix temporarily. Aston can reflash the electronics of affected cars to cure it.
■ Brakes: Check the 12 bolts securing the discs to the carrier. They can shear off due to overheating, allowing the disc to ‘wobble’ slightly. It is possible to source new bolts through a Brembo agent. Otherwise, it’s £12,000 for new front discs and pads. If the car isn’t used on track days, a set should last at least 70,000 miles.
■ Suspension: The Bilstein shock absorbers can leak. It’s caused by dirt working past the top seal. Later cars have a double seal.
■ Body: Check for paint blistering around the door handles caused by water getting underneath. If not treated, it’ll spread. On the Volante, water can cripple the motorised hood latches (very expensive) so check they work. Look for water behind the fuel filler flap that can drain into the boot or into the tank. Also worth knowing Aston Martin’s Timeless approved used scheme covers cars up to 10 years old with a 12-month warranty. At the time of writing, the cheapest DBS on its books was a 2010-reg auto coupé with 95,000 miles, advertised for £58,500.
How much to spend
£55,000-£74,999: Launch to 2010 autos, many with about 40,000 miles and mainly coupés.
£75,000-£79,999: Lower-mileage cars (around 30,000 miles), mostly coupés of 2011 vintage. Includes a rare manual – a 2008 coupé with 60,000 miles for £79,995.
£80,000-£89,999: Premium-spec cars in the best colours and a smattering of manuals among the automatics. Mainly 2011-12 coupés.
£90,000-£99,995: Some more late-plate convertibles plus a rare 2+2 manual coupé – a 2009-reg with 40,000 miles for £99,995.
One we found