Buying a used car doesn’t have to be such a headache. If you do your homework, follow the steps listed below and be diligent, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to successfully by a car without problem.
Set a Budget
Set yourself a budget – This is where many people fall by the wayside when buying a used car. If you have a budget in mind, stick to it and haggle to try and match the ideal car with the amount of cash you have. Also, make sure you can afford the insurance, tax and will be able to put up with the fuel consumption. And remember, if the seller simply won’t budge on price, find another car.
Search Many Places
There are always cars for sale and sellers have different ways of advertising them. Check the noticeboards in supermarkets, in the local and national newspapers, online at classified sites and auction sites such as eBay, and keep an eye out for signs in the windows of cars. If you look around more, you’ll have more of an idea what the true value of the car you want is worth and this can helping your bargaining power.
Check for Signs of Clocking
This was easier to spot with older cars but even modern cars with digital odometers can suffer from clocking by using a laptop. As with all cars, check the condition of the steering wheel, gearknob and seat bolsters against the amount of miles. Shininess on the gearknob and torn or ripped bolsters indicate heavy use but if the mileage is low then it could be clocked. Every few thousand miles taken off the total mileage affects the price, so walk away if you think these points don’t match up. You can also check the MOT certificates online for the mileage.
Examine Everything Thoroughly
Never go to see a car in the dark, the rain or at a mutual meeting point and if possible don’t take the cash with you. Make sure you know what to look for, whether the car has a good service history, whether it looks like it’s been looked after, and what documentation is available to see. Make sure all of the keys work and are original, and check for overspray on the window rubbers. Also, check the VIN number matches up with the log book. If possible start the car from cold and check for blue or white smoke from the exhaust, and take it for a lengthy test drive.
Stay Safe and Vigilant
Don’t hand over the cash unless you’re sure it’s the right car for you and won’t be a moneypit in a few weeks. Get a receipt for the car and ensure that you have written details of the seller. If there are any extras included in the sale price, make sure they are documented.
By using the tips above, your common sense and knowing your rights (see Citizens Advice), you should find yourself with a great car on the driveway that will last many years and will be a viable purchase.