The world of used car sales is a notoriously murky one. Everybody has a tale to tell about a shady car salesman or a car that is bought in good faith that turns out to have a catalogue of errors. Maybe you are buying a car for the first time, or perhaps you are considering upgrading or even downgrading. Whatever your reason for dipping your toe in the shark-infested waters of the second-hand car trade, it needn’t be as scary as you think.
Buying a second hand car doesn’t have to be the gamble that you think it might be – you’ll just have to prepare yourself with all the questions you need to ask before you jump in, and do your research before you even bother with a viewing. Don’t waste valuable time going to see a car that is just too far out of your price range – a bit of haggling is always acceptable but don’t expect to get more than 10% off a car’s advertised price.
There are some other tips that you should bear in mind when considering buying a used car – we’ve done the research so you don’t have to!
Establish Your Budget
Decide exactly on a maximum and realistic amount you are prepared to spend, and stick to it. Before you go and view a car check which insurance bracket it falls into, and what the tax bill will be on it each year. Look up the vehicle’s specification and pay particular attention to the miles per gallon – you will soon fall out of love with a car that is so thirsty you can’t afford to take it anywhere. If you are thinking of getting a loan make sure it is going to be approved before you waste the seller’s time.
View The Car In Broad Daylight
There is absolutely no point going to see a car in the pitch dark. You won’t see any paintwork scuffs or small dents that would be immediately apparent in daylight. Of course in daylight you might not think to check the headlights but it really is worth going around the car to make sure all the bulbs and lights work properly.
Ask About The Car’s Service History
You’ll want to buy a car that has been properly cared for so the more information the seller can give you about the service history the better. Be very suspicious of a car that comes with no history whatsoever. Insist on seeing the car’s V5 certificate (log book) to make sure it’s genuine.
A Bargain Is Very Rarely A Bargain
With used cars, you get what you pay for. A vehicle that is being advertised at a substantially lower price than it is worth more than likely has some serious things wrong with it.
Don’t fall into the trap of ending up with a used car that is immediately worth a lot less than you paid for it. Do your homework and take an expert to see it with you if you can.
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Laura Ginn is no ordinary car blogger. She is passionate about saving you money on your car insurance too. She writes from a female perspective and thoroughly believes that there are more savings to be had in the world of cars than just a big no claims bonus!