Everything You Need To Know About Buying A Used Car

Buying a used car from a dealer or from a private seller can be a stressful task. There's a lot of things to consider and things that could go wrong but, if you do your research you can save a substantial amount of time and money and prevent any nasty surprises post purchase. 

Before you start - get your finances in offer

Before you start your research it's important to get your finances in order so you know how much you can afford. Any car, no matter the age or condition, is a big investment. First things first, calculate exactly how much you have to work with, and when we say this we don't just mean to buy the car. You will need to consider how much will need to be spent on the running costs which will include fuel, maintenance, repairs and upkeep. 

Find the best way to pay for the car in the first place, whether that's via dealership finance, a personal loan​ or a straightforward cash purchase. Work out the amount you need for a deposit and then calculate how much you can afford each month. 

Keep On Top Of The Market Prices

If you're in the market for a used car then looking at numerous websites is a great way to see what's around. Auto Trader seems to be the best place to start to see the different models, variants, mileage, condition and price. Once you know the car you want then you can widen your search to different dealers and private sellers. Remember you don't need to buy the first car you see with a good deal, if you don't think its quite right then keep your money until you're 100% certain it's the car for you.

​Check All Paperwork Thoroughly

There's no point buying a used car if you're not going to read through the paperwork. If you're buying from a private seller the first thing to do is check they are selling the vehicle from the address stated on the V5C Logbook, then check the logbook registration and chassis numbers against the vehicle you're buying. If this all lines up you can start looking for any discrepancies in the service record and check sales receipts that prove ownership and the end of any finance agreements. An HPI check will also help uncover any hidden history or outstanding payments on the vehicle.

​Inspect The Car In Daylight & Good Weather

Bad weather can hide imperfections and multiple sins, as will street lamps or torchlight, so try inspect cars in bright natural light and good weather. Obviously older cars will have the odd scuff on but check and double check all the systems and accessories work, for example; Do the electric windows all open the same speed, does the air-conditioning blow cold, do all the lights on the dash turn off when the engine has started and driving, does the car make any funny noises or steer incorrectly.

Thorough Test Drive

It's a necessity to test drive the car you're interested in and it is vital the car drives, feels and handles correctly. Does the car start without fault? Does the engine sound healthy? Does the steering pull to one side? Is there unusual smoke coming from the exhaust? Remember to have insurance in place before setting off on a test drive.

Is Everything Accounted For​?

Check under the boot floor for the spare wheel, repair kit, locking alloy wheel nut, original jack and tools. Check the cars glovebox for the handbook and make sure you have all spare keys. If the car has a sat nav discs or SD cars for the navigation make sure all these are present, if not it can cause a large amount of hassle and they are expensive to replace.

There You Have It

Now you know the things to looks for when buying a used car. If you follow all of the above your next used car will be a good one. If you have any other questions please get in touch with your local Colin Appleyard Dealership