Whether you choose to buy your used car from a private seller or a car dealership there are a number of considerations you should take into account.
Make sure you know how much money you have to spend, this will give you a price range from which to shortlist your choices. Take into account the cost of running the car, taxing, MOT and insurance costs as well, these can all quickly eat into your budget. There may also be some unforeseen mechanical problems that need fixing and you could find yourself spending extra money you had not accounted for.
Look into the value of the cars; the seller’s asking price might not necessarily be the actual value of the vehicle. People sometimes over estimate the actual worth of their car and forget that their values depreciate quickly. A publication like Parkers Guide Book or a simple check on an online auction site like Ebay will give you an idea of current market values.
Always check the documentation before buying. Ask to see the V5 registration papers; also known as the log-book, check to see if there is a valid MOT certificate and how much road tax is any is still left.
Always take the vehicle out for a test drive to see how it handles and listen out for any strange noises. Also give it a good look over in good daylight conditions to see what shape it’s in.
Never worry about haggling over the price, most sellers will expect this and will have accounted for it in their asking price so never accept the first price. Not negotiating may leave you paying more than necessary for the car.
Buying from dealers
Using a dealership when looking out for a used car can also be a good idea, reliable providers can give you added security and piece of mind, as well as having a lot of knowledge and many more cars to choose from.
When buying from a dealer you will have more legal protection than with a private sale. Warranties to guarantee the car for a particular time and regulations concerning financing are covered by the Consumer Credit Act.
Pick the right time of the month, when sales staff are looking to hit targets and make commission. This is when you will find them more willing to negotiate and give you a better deal than you would normally have got.
Look out for a trustworthy dealer; normally the more reliable dealers will be members of an official trade organisation.
Don’t feel pressured into buying a car, at any time you can walk away from the deal, better to leave a car than feel obliged in buying something you will regret in a week or two. There are many people out there who have brought something they were not totally satisfied with and immediately been sorry.