Top Tips for Buying a Used Car
We all get excited at the prospect of purchasing a new car, after all if you have a long commute to work or regularly go on long road trips then it’s where you will often spend a large chunk of your day.
Buying a used car is often the easiest way to find your dream car plus it’s great for your finances too. Most new cars lose around 40% of their value in their first year of being on the road making used cars a great option if your budget is tight.
Whilst there are risks to purchasing a used car if you follow our top tips and guidelines you should minimize the risks and drive away with the car of your dreams.
It’s an obvious one but make sure you thoroughly research the type of car you want. Take lifestyle factors into consideration too. Whether you need your vehicle for your daily commute, require a large boot for equipment or shopping, or have a family to fit in will all impact on the model of car you need. Think about the types of journeys you typically do and if you have another vehicle to use then consider how it will differ from your current car.
Once you’ve established your needs then you’re ready to pick the make and model of your new vehicle. Research which makes have the best reputation and remember to consider the running costs of your vehicle; fuel, tax and insurance will all vary from car to car.
Private Seller VS Dealer
Choosing between a private seller and car dealer can be a tricky one, with both having positives and negatives.
If you choose to buy from a private seller then you will often find you can get a cheaper deal sourced through online traders such as Auto Trader, auctions or media adverts. Private sellers can prove risky if you have issues with the car after you’ve made your purchase. No protection is offered under the Sale of Goods Act, however the car still needs to be described.
Purchasing through a car dealer is often more expensive however it does offer much more protection. Car dealers may also be able to offer you options to finance your car rather than paying the full amount upfront. Dealers will also have stricter regulations and policies in place which will guard you far better in the long run should something go wrong, especially if you are under warranty.
If you have questions related to the vehicle you’re interested in then make sure you ask questions and get responses in writing in case you need these as evidence at a later date.
Taking the car for a test drive before you purchase is essential before you hand over any payments. It’s your chance to see how the car operates and check everything is as it seems.
Firstly, make sure the car is comfortable for you and your passengers and ensure you are able to reach all the controls and pedals easily. Ensure the car has the space you require, if you need buggy space or room for bulky equipment then check to see if it fits.
Before you take it for a spin make sure you check the bodywork of the car for any damages and scratches which could indicate the car has been in an accident. If you spot any damages then bodywork is often repairable, at Peterborough Body Work we can remove dents, scratches, bumper scuffs and complete alloy wheel refurbishments. You should also check the oil levels and look for any leaks to see how well the car has been maintained.
When you take it out listen out for any untoward noises and check the car runs smoothly. Make sure that the gearbox, brakes and clutch are trouble free and take it for a thorough drive through all the gears to ensure you are happy.
If you have any questions on how it drives or any suspicions then make sure to ask the seller and challenge them if you are unsure of the condition of the car.
Know your Documents
Before you confirm your purchase make sure the car has the correct documentation and the car’s identity matches its records. You can verify the car’s details on the DVLA’s website and confirm the year of manufacture, date the car was registered, engine capacity, color and tax rate. Take a look at the current and previous MOT certificates and confirm the cars history and check reasons for any failures.
If your budget allows then you can pay for a private history check to be conducted. This will confirm if the car has any outstanding finance, been reported stolen, had an accident and confirm the mileage.
Trade In Old Car
If you are purchasing from a car dealer then you may have the option to trade in your current car to reduce the cost of your purchase. If you choose to do this then make sure you know the value of your car beforehand to ensure you get the current market value for it. You can check the current value of your car online at sites such as We Buy Any Car, who will also purchase your car from you if you wish.
Be Prepared to Haggle
Used cars are ready to be haggled and the majority of dealers will often quote higher as they are used to being challenged on price. When haggling consider the condition of the car and whether you picked up on anything you weren’t happy with during the test drive. Once you’ve finalised the price then make sure you confirm what will be included in the cost and ensure you have written confirmation of this.
The safest way to purchase a car is with a credit card as you are then protected under the Consumer Credit Act. If you are purchasing from a dealer via the internet then the Distance Selling Regulations entitle you to a 7 day cooling off period if you change your mind.
However you purchase, make sure you get a signed and dated receipt with yours and the sellers name and address, vehicle details and price.
By following our simple tips and knowing your legal rights when purchasing a used vehicle you should be able to purchase your dream car hassle free.