Buying a used car for beginners – tips you need to know

Making your first venture into vehicle ownership can be a daunting process.

You are faced with what seems like an endless list of dos and don’ts, things to look out for and questions to ask.

Don’t worry, at Motors we understand car buying like the back of our hands and so are here with the necessary advice to help you out.

Buying a second hand car

So, where should you start?

Firstly, do your research and decide whether you wish to buy your used car privately or from a dealer. Both have their benefits – from a dealer you may have the option of purchasing your vehicle on finance, but vehicles tend to be much cheaper privately.

However, don’t automatically expect a warranty if you buy your vehicle from a dealership. If the car’s manufacturer warranty has expired, it is the dealer’s prerogative as to whether they provide their own.

If you do buy a vehicle that isn’t covered by any form of warranty, fear not. You will still be protected by the Consumer Rights Act, which includes the 30-day right to reject clause, amongst others. Further investigation into this is advised when buying a warranty-free used car.

Chances are if you’re buying a car privately, then it won’t be covered by a warranty – unless it is still within the manufacturer’s term.

Making a used car checklist is an ideal way to begin, in order to ensure that you don’t miss a beat when it comes to buying your first motor. Read on to find out what this list should contain…

Used Car Checklist

First you have to ask yourself which type of car you want. Estate, SUV, hatchback, convertible, this can be a tricky question in itself.

Secondly, it’s time to choose the make and model. Set yourself a budget and see what is available within this price range before setting your heart on something far too expensive.
Next, you need to consider other costs. How much will insurance set you back? And is the model notoriously expensive to service or fix?

Finally it comes down to comparing cars in order to find a good condition, well-priced, low-mileage example from a reputable seller, which suits your requirements.

This latter part can be the most difficult, as it can be tough to tell whether you’re getting a good deal, or if the car isn’t as much of a steal as it appears.

So once you have settled on your ideal car, you are already significantly into the ownership process. 

However, don’t rest on your haunches there. While the car may appear to be in good condition, there could be underlying problems that aren’t immediately visible.
When was the car last MOT’d, you should ask the seller, and were there any advisories that haven’t been addressed? The same goes with servicing – when was the car last checked, and by who?
While the local garage may offer the same level of skill as a dealer, the car could hold a higher resale value if it boasts a full main dealer service history.

Enquire whether the seller has noticed anything amiss with the car, or experienced any problems recently.
Finally, it is always a good idea to research common issues with the model before looking at it, and checking for them, when you go to look at the car.

Once you have thoroughly checked the vehicle, take it for a test drive. While in the car, you should keep an eye out for warning signs that something may be wrong.

With the car stopped turn the steering wheel from one lock to the other to ensure there is no screeching, banging or knocking. Next, test the handbrake to ensure it holds the car in place. Drive with the radio off and listen carefully to noises from the engine. Finally, take a test route across varying road surfaces, and make sure to work your way through all the gears.

It is a good idea to check the vehicle’s history too, in order to determine whether it has previously been crashed, or has any finance outstanding on it.

This can be done either before you look at the car or once you have ascertained that it is mechanically sound and you are interested in buying it.

The DVLA provides a free vehicle information check service, for which you just need to enter the car’s registration and make. This returns information including the year of manufacturer, engine size, CO2 emissions and whether or not the car has previously been exported.
A more in-depth check can be purchased online for as little as £3, and this will reveal whether the car has previously been written off, reported as stolen to the police, been scrapped or had a colour change, and well as showing the number of previous owners.

Once you have made your way through all of these steps, you can relax knowing that the car isn’t a lemon.

Are you or someone you know looking for a used car? Share this article to give them a helping hand in the daunting process.


November 18, 2016

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