Tips for Buying a Used Car

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Parking lot at HAA Kobe.jpg
Parking lot at HAA Kobe” by Laitr Keiows – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons.

When it comes to buying a used car, you must be sure that you do all you can to prevent yourself from overpaying, or purchasing a car that is no longer in good condition. In order to do this you must first know what to look for when browsing for a new vehicle, and how you can take advantage of the motor industry to find yourself a better deal. Follow these four tips to gain the best possible advantage when purchasing your car.

Buying a year-old car could save you over 25%

You can make huge savings by purchasing a car that is a year old. The AA predicts that a car can lose up to 40% of its value after a year of being on the road. When you take into account selling fees and other administration costs, this means that a buyer could save around 25% on the asking price from one year to the next. Depreciation from here on out will decrease so, while the value of the car will lower over time, it won’t be reduced by a figure anywhere near 25% going forward. When you buy a used car, weigh up whether you are getting the best value for money based on this depreciation curve, and consider what the resale value would be.

Sell to a car dealer for convenience, sell privately for better value

Selling a car can prove to be very difficult, and you will likely have to advertise it on Gumtree or Auto Trader to find a buyer. While private selling usually does produce a higher fee overall, it can take time and be frustrating to organise. Negotiating the sale with a car dealer will allow you to recoup a large portion of its value, as well as the option to trade that for a new car, if you wish. Auto dealerships such as We Buy Cars For More take care of all the advertising and administrative duties attached to selling your vehicle, and can arrange for you to be sitting on a pile of money or driving your new car in a matter of hours, as opposed to weeks. It is a balancing act between convenience and a better fee, and you can decide which would be the better option for you based on your experience of advertising and selling property.

Inspect the car thoroughly

While you may intend on inspecting your new car before you buy it, you must be sure that you know what you’re looking for. Check the car’s mileage and see how well-travelled it is. The average distance covered within a year is 10,000 miles, so compare this with how old the seller says the car is to determine whether something isn’t right. As well as checking the oil level, the engine (look for oil or water leaks), and the electronics, check if there have been any repairs on the car and whether these were done well.

Check the car’s identity and MOT history

While cosmetic flaws can be papered over, the car’s key components and details are held on public record which you can access for yourself. Visit the DVLA website to check what is officially listed as your car’s year of manufacture, colour and tax information. You should also check your vehicle’s MOT history, as this will tell you the date of all the tests and readings that have been conducted on your new car.

The important thing to remember when buying a used car is to know what you’re looking for and how you’re financing your purchase. Make an informed decision based on both your financial position and your realistic ability to sell your old car. Be stringent when checking the components of your new car and its servicing history, and always err on the side of caution as opposed to making a doubtful purchase — bear in mind how much the car will have depreciated by the time you come to sell it again!