Whilst buying a used car is a sensible way to pick up a great motoring deal, for anyone without a mechanics qualification it can be a scary thought. How can you be sure you’re not buying a complete wreck and how should you go about negotiating for a better price?
However, with a bit of research and a glance through the following guide, you could soon be on your way to acquiring a fantastic new set of wheels to take you through the New Year and beyond.
Do your research
First things first – make sure you know your stuff. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What make/model of car are you looking for?
- What is your budget?
- How many passengers will the vehicle be carrying?
- What is the vehicles main purpose?
- Do you need to organise car finance or a loan?
- Do you have young children?
- What is your monthly budget for fuel?
The answers to these questions (and any others you can think of) will help establish your priorities and should make it clear what type of car you want/need to suit your circumstances.
The final piece of research you need to do before moving on to the fun stuff is to check out insurance costs, which should be a major factor in your decision making process. There would be little point investing hundreds or thousands of pounds into the car of your dreams, only to find you cannot afford to pay the insurance premiums! Check out
quotes across a number of providers by using online car insurance comparison websites.
Check the vehicles history
Once you have completed your research and have found a car the meets your needs and wants, try not to get too excited until you have taken some time to check there are no unwanted skeletons hanging around the vehicle.
Obtain a complete background check on the vehicle before making any financial commitments. Carry out a Personal Properties Security (PPS) check to make sure there is no outstanding, unpaid finance. If the vehicle is registered as ‘encumbered’ this means there could be money still owing on the vehicle, or the owner may not own the vehicle outright.
You can also check the vehicle hasn’t previously been written off by an insurer and subsequently repaired for sale.
Thoroughly inspect the vehicle
When buying a used vehicle you should thoroughly inspect it. You may choose to pay an independent professional to do this for you, although most faults and issues are easy to spot yourself. You may consider making a ‘condition of sale’ on any purchase contract through a dealership.
Check the exterior for signs of previous damage or rust issues and make sure the vehicle identification number hasn’t been tampered with and matches the number in the logbook.
Check the interior, make sure the seat belts are undamaged and all in working order and that the carpets and upholstery are clean and undamaged. Try the doors and boot to make sure they open and close smoothly. Also, check the engine for fluid leaks, rusty connections and fumes.
After that, all that’s left to do is enjoy your new toy!