Whether you’re looking for your first car or you fancy an upgrade, for many of us buying a car straight off the forecourt is simply out of our price range. Second-hand cars are a great way to get on the road without breaking the bank but finding a quality used car can be a minefield!
When buying privately or from a dealer, it’s never easy to know if you’re being taken for a ride and quite often, you won’t know until a few days later when your nice new car grinds to an unpleasant and sudden halt. Unless you’re a mechanic you can’t know for certain that a car won’t have any hidden problems but there are a few things that you can do to give yourself the best chance of finding a gem:
Do Your Homework
Before you even start searching for a car, do your homework; that means research and lots of it! You need to have a good idea about what car you want depending on your requirements. You should also look at:
– Average price (dependent on age)
– Any common problems with your chosen car
– Average insurance price: you might be able to afford the car but can you afford the insurance?
Don’t go to view a car until you’re prepared and you know what to look for; you’ll be wasting your time or worse, you could end up paying over the odds for a car that won’t last the journey home!
Check the Car Thoroughly
Don’t take the quality of the car at face value; it might look perfect and shiny on the outside but scratch the surface and you might not like what you find!
– Always check the car in daylight; you can easily miss an obvious problem in poor light.
– If you’re not confident to check the car yourself, find someone more mechanically minded to accompany you.
– Don’t be afraid to ask for a mechanic to check it over before buying. If the seller is reputable then there shouldn’t be a problem and it may cost a little more to hire the mechanic but it could end up saving you a fortune in the long run.
There are a whole host of online guides that will give you useful tips about what to check and how to check it.
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Paperwork
It can’t be stressed enough that you should always see the paperwork before buying a car. The seller should be able to produce the vehicle’s full service history to show all records of full servicing carried out by an appropriate party.
– Newer cars that are still under the manufacturer’s warranty will only be covered if servicing has been carried out by the necessary dealers within the specified time frames.
– Older cars may have a less complete servicing history but you should be suspicious if the seller cannot provide any paperwork at all to show the car’s history
– You should always carry out an HPI check on a potential car. This will highlight any outstanding finance present on the vehicle and show if it has been written off or clocked.
Buying a used car as opposed to buying new is much more financially viable as long as you know what to look out for. Remember, do your research; don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t rush into buying without checking every aspect of the car thoroughly.
This article was written by Jennifer Griffiths on behalf of Insure 4 a Day. If you’re looking for short term insurance to make the process of buying your new car more convenient then Insure 4 a Day is the perfect place to go.