When you’re looking to buy a used vehicle there are many things you need to consider. It can be quite overwhelming. So to help you on your way I’ve put together the top ten things to think about before buying a used car. I hope they’ll help you feel more confident in making your next purchase.
Be sure you’ve done your research
I can’t stress this enough. You have to ensure you’re buying the vehicle that’s right for you and that you’re getting the best possible value for your hard earned cash. Use the internet to look at reviews, both of the make and model of the car you’re looking at and of the used car seller you’re looking to buy from. You want to make sure you know as much as you can about the car before you book a test drive. You’ll also want to know that you’re potentially buying from a recommended and reputable used car dealer.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
When you’re looking at the car you want to buy, feel free to ask as many questions as you like about it. You won’t know if it’s the car for you if you don’t ask questions? You should already know basic details about the car from the seller’s listing or advertisement, such as the make, model, year of registration, length of MOT and mileage. But you might like to ask about previous owners to get a sense of how well the car has been looked after. You could also ask whether the car has ever been in an accident.
Look at the service history
Make sure that you’ve seen a fully documented history of the car’s maintenance and service. Accidents can have a big impact on the overall value of a used car and having this knowledge will make it easier for you to pick up any problems on a test drive.
Go for a test drive
This is essential, you’ve got to know how this car handles. You need to know whether you like the way it feels and moves. It can be quite hard to really get to grips with a car just on a thirty minute test drive, so some garages are now offering rent to buy schemes. So you can rent the car for a much longer period to really discover if it is right for you. The price of the rental is then deducted from the original buying price if you decide to make the purchase.
Carry out a vehicle check
A thorough vehicle check report offers you a much greater understanding of a used vehicle. It will help protect you from potential pitfalls, like any hidden finance that you would be responsible for.
Definitely check the tyres and bodywork
This is a must. Tyres should be evenly worn out across the tread. Uneven wearing on one side of the tyre indicates that the tracking of the vehicle is out, and that it might soon need a lot of work to put that right. Give the bodywork a really good look. Some minor dents and scratches can be quick, cheap and easy to have repaired, but anything major and you might want to consult with a specialist car body repair shop to inquire about cost.
Look at the VSC Registration document
This basically shows you who has owned the car previously, so that you have people to contact should you have any further questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for this, any used car dealer worth their salt will hand it over happily.
Check the exhaust
It sounds odd, but honestly – checking the smoke that comes out of a car’s exhaust can tell you an awful lot about it. A healthy car will emit water vapour when it is first started and then stop. If the used car continues to pump out vapour or smoke for a long time then you need to get another look at the interior.
Check the transmission
In doing this you can see how the used car has been treated previously. If the car is manual, the running of gears should be quick and smooth. The clutch should engage with ease. A worn clutch shows that the used car hasn’t been properly driven, and is one that should be avoided.
Making the purchase
Make sure that everything is in order before you agree to hand over any money. If you have any last minute niggles, questions or suggestions that you need to work out then they should be agreed and documented before you make a payment. Basically, think about your safety and that you won’t be liable for anything that you don’t deserve.