What do you need to check out before buying a used car? In this simple guide, we give the best tips and advice to get the best deal.
The main advantage of buying a used car is very obvious: you get it a lot cheaper. On average, cars depreciate 20% of their value per year during the first 3 years. In other words, if you buy a £25000 car, it will be worth £20000 after the first year and just £10000 after 3 years of driving. Even just after leaving the dealership your car will lose 11% of its value as soon as you get on the road.
However, buying a used car may have its drawbacks, if you don’t do the necessary checks. Technical issues are commonly missed, and our excitement can lead us to buy a damaged car that will incur more future costs.
The following useful tips will guide you to make sure you buy a used car that is as good as new, and you get the best deal in the market.
Which Kind Of Car Should I Get?
Which car best suits you? Your decision will be made based on your needs and preferences, however there are some steps you can follow to get the right car for you.
The size determines the number of seats, doors and boot space. How many people will you regularly get in the car? Will you be carrying any luggage? There are multiple options to meet your requirements, from city cars to minivans. Think about what you are going to use your car for in a daily basis and choose the size that better fits these needs. (try to find a link with car body styles)
Diesel or petrol, that is the question. When deciding between engine types, you should consider the kind of journeys you will be doing with your car. Generally, if you drive less than 12000 miles a year, it is recommended to choose a petrol engine. Diesel cars are more expensive, and you would need to cover a lot more miles to balance the difference in fuel savings you would have made with a petrol engine throughout the year. Hybrid cars are becoming more popular and can save you a lot of money in fuel, especially if you do a lot of urban driving.
Choosing a brand is also one of the biggest dilemmas when buying a car. Premium brands can offer you not just the prestige of driving one or another brand, but also interiors made with better materials, high level finishing and better performance. On the other hand, there are other brands that can offer you better value for money without compromising quality. Some people may think that these could give a worse reliability in the long term, but this will – to a larger extent – depend on the different technical aspects and condition of the vehicle as explained below.
How Can I Look For Faults On A Used Car?
The age and mileage of the car will give you a brief idea about how much the car has been used. Generally, those cars with a lower mileage and less years on the road have a lower probability of having serious technical issues. Be aware that some cars have their mileage modified. If you spot a car with a suspicious low mileage, examining titles, inspection stickers and maintenance records may reveal if the odometer has been tampered. Checking different individual aspects of the car will also give us a better understanding of how the car has been driven and its general condition.
Tyres – Look for any signs of damage like cracks, punctures or excessive wear. If the car has new tyres it will save you from changing them just after buying it.
Engine – Take a look under the bonnet and check if there are any leaks or signs of poor maintenance. Check the oil level and watch out for any burnt oil smell. Now, turn the engine on and check the sound. If the car has any serious issues you will probably hear irregular noises coming out the engine or excessive smoke from the exhaust.
Body – Examine the exterior of the car looking for scratches or dents on bumpers and doors. Any differences in colour between bumpers and doors will tell you if these parts have been replaced after an accident, the same if the panels do not fit perfectly. Signs of rust will determine if the car has been parked outside. Check also if the windscreen is chipped or cracked, and if the lights are in good condition.
Interior – The cleanness and condition of the seats are a good hint to find out how they have treated the car. If the seatbelts slide irregularly it could be the result of any accidents.
Brakes, Suspension and Steering – Take the car for a test drive and check if these parts make any noises, or if the steering and brake pedal are too hard or loose.
Documentation – You should ask to see the car’s service history, records of any technical work done and MOT certificates. This will let you check if the mileage is genuine and a history of technical issues. It is also recommended to carry out a HPI check. This will provide you with a detailed report with different details such as the car’s finance history, registration date, the original colour or a list of previous owners.
How Do I Know If I Am Paying The Right Price When Buying A Used Car ?
Buying a used car from a private seller might seem like a good idea as you could be in a good position to negotiate the price. However, that does not guarantee any quality or warranty as it would do buying from a used car dealer. Used car dealerships have teams of professionals making sure they get the cars in the best condition, allowing you to forget about checking these aspects in detail if you buy from a trustable dealer.
Furthermore, due to the size of their operations, big used car dealers can help you getting the best deal when buying your car. Some of them offer very competitive prices compared to private sellers, and even commit themselves to beat the rest of the market. From my own experience, I can say that made buying my car a lot easier.
Being the UK`s leading automotive retailer, they have more than 25000 cars available in the UK, and no matter where the car you want is, they will move it to your nearest dealer thanks to their Move Me Closer service.