Don’t have a fright: Making good choices with second hand cars
Buying a car can be an expensive but necessary investment. Many people rely heavily on their transport, so when it comes to buying a new one, a lot of thought must be put into it.
Have a read through our used car guide here before setting out and looking for yourself!
Why buy second-hand?
Most people choose a second-hand car over a new one for one simple reason – saving money. While a brand new car, straight out of the showroom, may be a dream for some people, they are also dramatically more expensive than used motors. If you do have your heart set on a new car, consider looking at one-year-old vehicles, as car prices drop between 15%-35% in the first 12 months of their life.
What do you want from your car?
When you start your car search, the first thing you need to do is to work out what you want from your new vehicle. Creating a checklist of requirements can really help when narrowing down the thousands of options available to you. Do you want a large family car or a small and speedy convertible? Is boot space important to you, or are you going to manage with less storage space? Will you be driving long distances in the car, or just using it for quick trips? When you have your list, ensure that you stick to it, no matter what fancy and attractive distractions you may see.
Next, you’re going to need a budget. Car shopping is a dangerous business without a set price in mind, as it can be very easy to get carried away and commit to something you just can’t afford. Whether you’ll be using savings or buying on finance, work out what you can comfortably afford and stick to this price.
Dealership or private?
Buying through a dealership and privately both have pros and cons. Purchasing through a dealership is much easier, as they will have a range of cars available to see at one time. However, they are a business trying to make money, so the costs will be higher as opposed to buying non-commercially. Buying privately may mean getting a bargain, but be prepared to have to travel around more and visit lots of people individually to view the motors.
Tips when buying from a dealership
When buying from a dealership, make sure you check as many stores as possible to compare the costs. If you have a basic idea of what is on the market, you will be more able to get a better cost. Don’t be afraid to haggle, as most dealerships allow some leeway for discounts if asked. If they won’t budge on the price, consider walking away. The company will almost always call you later and offer you a better deal to tempt you back.
When purchasing privately, do not feel pressured into making a decision straight away. It can be awkward dealing with a previous owner, but make sure you are completely happy with the vehicle before committing to anything. If you are not satisfied with the price, you can always make a lower offer.
What to look for when viewing
Ensure that you view cars in dry weather and good light, to check the whole vehicle over properly. Look at the car’s mileage, and inspect the whole body for any scratches and marks. Ask about recent repairs and give the tyres a once over too. Always test drive before a purchase, allowing you to get a good feel of how well the car runs. It is normally pretty obvious to judge how safe and reliable the car is, once you’ve got it moving.
All the extras
Once you’ve found your car, there are still a few things to do before handing over the money and taking it home. You must have insurance and the car must be fully taxed before taking it over, so make sure these are all covered. Ask for the logbook or V5C, as these will show proof that you are the keeper of the car, and check you have the servicing booklet and manuals. If you have any suspicions, always check the car’s history with a HPI check before committing to the sale.
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