Top Tips for Buying a Used Car

February 9, 2015 | By | In Buying Guides
Top Tips for Buying a Used Car

When it comes to buying a used car, the process can appear to be an endless list of checks to make, paperwork to assess and negotiations to be made. 

At Motors.co.uk, we want to help make your car buying journey as fluid and transparent as possible so that, when the time comes, you can actually enjoy the experience. So we've asked the experts for their insight into buying a used vehicle. Take a look at the highlights below: 

You can get to grips with everything further in our ‘How to Buy a Used Car ’ guide.  

Research, research, research

It’s essential to get as much research in as possible before you buy a car. With resources like blogs, review websites and forums available online, whether you’re buying a new or used car, the internet is a great place to start. 

The internet is a fabulous place to find out variants, models, pricing structures, values of part exchanges; Research is the best advice I could give.” – Jason Pritchard, Wessex Garages

Create a shortlist 

Narrow your results down to a top two or three cars so you can really hone in on your early favourites. Added extras can affect the value of a car, so take a look at your shortlist and consider which features are essential to you.  

Know your retailer 

If you have a handful of car dealers in mind, then take some time to research their background to make sure they’re reputable, knowledgeable and will aim to get you the best deal. Dealers should have all the information you need; whether it’s documents, the car’s history or knowledge on the model itself. If at any point something doesn’t add up, it may be time to reconsider. 

Be clear on your specification  

Knowing what you want can make your search a lot easier. Think about which type of car would suit your wants and needs, then research further in this area. Phase out those vehicles which don’t fit the bill exactly to help you from feeling overwhelmed.  

Pay the right price

Getting ‘the right price’ for a car is essentially paying what you think it’s worth. Compare nationally and locally using a car search tool such as Motors.co.uk's Smart Search to get at least a ‘ballpark’ figure on what you should expect to pay. There is always a small window open for negotiation, but prices are normally well informed and relatively transparent, so there will only be a small percentage of the price which can be negotiated as discount. 

Take your time

Be sure of your choice of car, and if needs be, ask someone for advice or a second opinion. This is one of the biggest purchases you’ll make, next to buying a house, so you need to be confident in your decision.

If you have any doubts, take time to rethink things. It's important to sit back and recollect your thoughts before you make that final decision.” – Jonathan Allbones, The Car People.

Know when to walk away

A dealer should be confident in what they’re selling you – be open and honest about what you’d like in a car and what your budget is when talking with your vehicle dealer – this should help make the process more straightforward. Remember that the retailer should be looking to accommodate all your needs when it comes to you buying a car, so if at any point you feel pressured into buying something which isn’t quite right, or don’t feel comfortable with a negotiation, then have the confidence to walk away. 

Finally, make sure you’ve got as much knowledge as you can prior to browsing in person. This will give you a feel for what your budget can get you, and give you confidence in your negotiations. 

Don’t feel like we’ve answered your car buying questions? 

Head over to our Ask an Expert page where you can find our jargon buster, read our buying guide and watch the interviews with the experts.

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