There’s no getting around the fact that cars are expensive: expensive to run, expensive to repair and – of course – expensive to buy in the first place. One way to knock a chunk off that initial cost is to buy your car second hand, and if your follow our set of tips you should be able to find yourself a great deal.
Be confident and assertive
You need to be sure of what kind of car you want and how much you’re willing to spend. With these two things clear in your mind, you can avoid getting swayed by a shiny vehicle that just isn’t right for you. Being assertive doesn’t mean being rude our abrupt when you speak to the sales team – just be clear about what you’re looking for and what your budget is upfront, to avoid wasting anybody’s time.
Look for reliable manufacturers
Some cars are flashy and other cars are reliable – when you’re buying used, you need to be looking in the latter camp. Of course, plenty of cars look good and run well, so if you can find something that fits both descriptions then we say go for it. Most important, though, is buying a car from a manufacturer that you trust. For instance, Ford used cars are great value and can often provide you with a steady and reliable motor.
Do your research
There are two important things to find out about a used car before you buy it: the market rate for a second-hand vehicle of that model and age, and any particular faults that those cars are prone to. It’s pretty difficult to know whether you’re getting a good deal or not if you don’t know what other sellers are listing the same car for.
You also need to know how much wear and tear is acceptable. This includes looking at the mileage – the average annual mileage for a car will vary depending on where you live, but it’s easy enough to find online. This will give you a good steer on how well used the car is, while knowing any common faults to look for with that specific model is a great way to avoid issues.
Visit the car while it’s light outside
Don’t be tempted to pop by for a test drive after work unless the sun is still up – problems like rust are a lot more visible in the daylight. If you can’t make it, consider asking someone else to take a look for you and report back. If you do decide to send someone you trust out to take a first look, you’ll still need to make time for a test drive before buying.
Make sure you understand what the ongoing costs will be
A cheap car isn’t cheap if it breaks your budget every month. There’s really no excuse for buying any car, used or new, without checking the tax and insurance first. For used cars, you also need to check how much you’ll need to spend on any required maintenance. Weigh these costs against the purchase price – in some cases, it’s worth paying slightly more upfront if it means you save on your monthly outgoings.