Buying A Used Car: The Essentials You Need To Know

Posted on Mar 31 2016 - 2:20pm by Editor

The benefits of buying a used car over a new one are clear; a more desirable price, more options and, of course, more for your money. Did you know that after a new car is driven out of the showroom, its value decreases by around 40 percent? That’s why when it comes to buying a vehicle, opting for a nearly-new one, instead of brand new one, can save you a lot of money. Often, nearly new cars are just as good as new ones, only they’re cheaper. There’s nothing wrong with buying second-hand, it’s just a case of being smart about it.

Car showroomOf course, when it comes to buying a used car, the benefits of buying second-hand aren’t the only thing that need to be taken into account. With pushy salespeople and hidden vehicle histories, when it comes to buying a second-hand car, there’s a lot that needs to be thought about. The good news is that working out if a used car is worth the cost is much easier than you would think. By taking a few simple steps, you can ensure that the next car your invest in is not only worth the cost but is also safe. Remember, when buying a car, safety should always be a priority.

Before you buy a used car, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re getting a good deal and a good vehicle. To help you do that, here are a few useful tips. For all the ins and outs to buying a used car that’s worth the cost, keep reading.

Do your research

If you don’t want to be ripped off, this is the most important step you can take. Don’t make the mistake of simply selecting the first car that is within your price range, take your time doing research. It’s not about choosing any old model just because it looks smart and is affordable. You need to take the vehicle specifications into account. Running costs, insurance prices and safety are all important things to take into account.

Spend some time researching the best car models to buy second-hand. Use car forums to find out whether certain models are prone to certain problems and which ones are safest to drive. For each model that appeals to you, find out about its service schedule – when things like the cam belt should be changed. That way when you view cars, you’ll be able to see from the documents that come with each vehicle, whether it’s been looked after properly.

Putting in research time before you even start viewing cars will help to make the buying process much more straightforward. As when it comes to buying a vehicle, you’ll know what questions to asks and things to look for.

Choose a reputable seller

Second-hand car sales person, have somewhat of a reputation for being sneaky when it comes to making sales. However, not all car dealers are like that, if you choose a reputable one you shouldn’t have any problems. Ask around and see who people would recommend – local Facebook groups are great for this.

While not the only option – we’ll get to the others later, buying from a second-hand car dealership comes with a range of benefits. Compared to buying from a private seller, when you buy second-hand, if something goes wrong with the car you can contact the company. If you buy from a private seller, this can sometimes be more tricky.

Compared to private sellers, used car dealerships often charge a higher price. That’s because they need to make money off of the vehicle as well as the original seller.  However, when you think of the peace of mind buying from a dealership gives you, it makes it worth the extra cost. Buying from a company means that if there’s a problem with the car, you can easily get back in touch with the seller.

If you don’t want to buy from a used car dealership, your other option is to buy privately. The primary benefit of buying private is that the cost of vehicles is often much cheaper. However, there are also downsides to buying privately. If something goes wrong with the car after you buy it, there’s no guarantee that the old owner will be willing to help you. If they’re not, and you believe they’re at fault, your only option is to take them to court. This can be a lengthy and expensive process that often, isn’t even worth considering.

Compare models

It’s all well and good researching the best models, but before you start car shopping it’s also worth comparing them. Sit down and look at the suitable models you could consider investing in and compare them to one another. Look at their features – from the amount of doors they have to how safe to drive they are, and go from there. By comparing models, including the prices they cost, you can work out which models tend to offer the best value for money.

By comparing vehicle models, you can also make sure that wherever you choose to buy from, that you get a good deal. It’s important to know what to expect when it comes to vehicle prices so that you can ensure that you aren’t getting ripped off.

Check the vehicle’s history

One of the most common causes of fatal car accidents is driving a vehicle that’s previously been involved in one. That’s why before even considering making an offer, it’s crucial that you do a thorough background check on the car. Even if you know that the dealer you’re buying from is reputable, it doesn’t hurt to double check things. When it comes to road safety, you can never be too careful.

The best way to find out all the essentials about a car’s history is by doing an HPI vehicle history check online. Running a check on a vehicle won’t only tell you about its accident history but also how many owners it’s had, its mileage, and a range of other things. Sometimes after write-off car accidents, two damaged cars are welded together. These are commonly known as cut and shuts and are very dangerous. Doing a check on a vehicle will show up if it’s been involved in a write-off crash, suggesting that it’s been welded back together. It might cost you but doing a check on a vehicle before you buy is definitely worth doing.

Don’t view the car alone

When viewing cars, it’s always worth having a second pair of eyes. When you’ve got a million different things on your mind, it’s easy to miss things. That’s why taking a friend or relative with you is a good idea. While one of you checks the car over, the other can chat to the seller.

If you don’t know about cars, then it’s crucial to take someone with you who does. When it comes to getting a good deal on a car, asking the right questions is crucial. If you don’t have a friend who knows about cars, it’s worth calling out your roadside recovery service to come and have a look. Most roadside recovery services are happy to come out and check over a vehicle – you may need to pay for this, but it’s definitely worth the cost.

A test drive is crucial

You can tell a lot about a vehicle from how it drives; that’s why taking it for a test drive is so important. Aim to drive the car for at least 20 minutes at a range of speeds, to get an idea of how it feels to drive. While you’re testing the vehicle, it’s also worth checking that the brakes are okay. In a car park, test the brakes by doing a couple of emergency stops.

Before you start driving the vehicle, make sure that it’s covered under your insurance, else should you crash, you won’t be covered. As well as that it has road tax and can be legally driven. Even when you’re test driving a car, you still need to adhere to the law.

Haggle on price

When it comes to the price of the vehicle, don’t be afraid to haggle. Sellers often set the price higher to ensure that should a buyer haggle, they still get a good price. Your best bargaining tool is cash – most sellers will be happy to drop the price if you’re able to pay with cash.

It’s also worth having your smartphone on hand to show the seller the current asking price for the same model that they’re selling. When it comes to haggling and comparing car prices, having a smartphone on hand can be incredibly useful.

There you have it, everything that you need to know about buying a used vehicle. Be smart about where you buy from, ask the right questions and always check out the history. Used cars can be a great option to a new vehicle, as long as you’re willing to do the necessary research. Don’t take anything at face value, investigate to ensure that the car is what it seems. Compare models and prices and don’t be afraid to haggle, and you can get a great deal.