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Buying a Used Car From a Dealership or Private Sale

Whether you’re buying a used car from a dealership or through a private sale, our flexible finance deals can get you on the road sooner.

As the UK's trusted car finance broker, we are able to compare the best finance options available to you so you can get on the road.

The UK’s Trusted Broker

When it comes to purchasing your next vehicle, buying a used car has any number of benefits – and if you’re looking for used car finance, the Car Loan Warehouse can help. Thanks to our extensive motor industry connections, we’re in the enviable position of being able to offer car finance for private sales and customers buying through dealerships. We’ve put together some simple steps to eliminate any potential pitfalls and put you on the path towards a competitive used car finance deal.

Setting Your Budget

Think about;

How much is your current car worth?

Are you willing to sell privately or would you prefer to trade it in with a dealer?

Do you have outstanding finance on your current vehicle?

Running costs – fuel, servicing, road fund licence and insurance are all relative costs you need to consider and budget for

If you’re looking to obtain car finance, our online car finance calculator will give you an indication of monthly repayments. Bear in mind that these should be used as an indication only, as a definite quote will only be provided once you have completed an application

Taking all of these factors into consideration, you will arrive at a figure you can afford to spend on a used car.

Buying from a dealer or private sale

Whether you’re looking at buying from a car dealership or going down the private seller route, there are pros and cons to both.

Dealership Pros & Cons

As well as the security of being covered by the Sale of Goods Act 1979, you may also receive a warranty with the car when you buy from a dealership. The Sale of Goods Act is in place to ensure that the car you’re buying is of merchantable quality – something you can’t always be sure of when buying privately. The dealer should also be able to complete a HPI check on the vehicle to ensure there is no outstanding finance on the car, or any dubious history – such as an accident write-off. Purchase prices can often be higher when you buy from a dealership, so be sure to shop around before you settle on a deal.

Private Sale Pros & Cons

When buying privately, you can often negotiate a lower sale price. You will have the opportunity to speak to the previous owner and, therefore, get a clearer picture of how the car has been looked after and how it was previously used. You won’t receive a warranty or protection under the Sale of Goods Act if you buy privately. Normally, you would (and should) have to complete your own HPI check – and this can easily be done online for a small fee. But with the Car Loan Warehouse, our comprehensive 5-star checks mean the car you choose will be given a free HPI check from the experts.

Questions? CALL 0800 066 2888

Our experts are always ready to help

Selecting the right car to buy

When it comes to buying a used car, there are any number of vehicles on the market. Choosing the right car to suit your needs can be a daunting prospect, so make sure you do your homework and think clearly about what you want the car for and how it’ll be used. Here are some things to consider:

  • What will the car be used for?
  • How many passengers do you need to regularly transport?
  • What size of boot do you need?
  • Which tax bracket is the car in?
  • How fuel efficient is the car?
  • How much will insurance be for the car?
  • Find out about the running costs and service charges associated with the car

Inspecting a used car to buy

If you decide to buy a used car, here are a few things to consider:

Ensure you view the vehicle during daylight hours and avoid rainy days

Check to see whether the car has a service history – this can be a fairly good indication that the vehicle has been properly maintained and has regularly visited a professional garage

Complete an HPI check online. For a small charge, you can receive a detailed report on the history of the vehicle, ensuring there is no outstanding finance on the vehicle or other dubious background history – and with our 5-star checks, you shouldn’t need to pay for this service

Check the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for signs of tampering and make sure it matches the VIN recorded in the log book. The VIN can be found at the base of the windscreen, under the bonnet and stamped into the chassis under the carpet beside the driver’s seat

Look for rust, mismatched paint and uneven gaps between body panels – these may be indications of previous damage

Check that all of the car’s buttons and functions work as they should

If you’re nervous or unsure of what you should be looking for when it comes to inspecting a used car, employing the services of a reputable car inspection company could be a sensible option. Offering varying levels of detail, a professional inspection can provide a thorough report on the condition of the car.

What to look for during a test drive

The test drive is your chance to assess every aspect of the car – from how it feels on the road to ensuring full functionality – so don’t miss out on the opportunity to try before you buy. Here are some things to consider:

  • Always take a test drive of at least 15 minutes, and on different types of road
  • Make sure you have suitable insurance cover before you drive the car
  • Start the car when the engine is cold and check for excessive smoke and unusual noises
  • Check the gears, brakes, steering and suspension work as they should, with no unusual noises or vibration

Negotiating the sale price

When it comes to agreeing on a sale price for a used car, don’t be afraid to haggle. Most sellers will be happy to negotiate the price – and making sure you’re clued up on facts and figures before you inspect the vehicle will help you settle on a price that suits you. Here are some things to consider:

  • Be aware of the market value and what you’re willing to pay
  • Start your bidding low and let the seller work the price up from there
  • Make reference to any faults with the car and the associated cost of repair
  • Asking for a tank of fuel or service can be a good way to negotiate some extras
  • If you can’t agree on a price, remember there are plenty of other cars available

Completing the paper work

A car’s history should all be in the paperwork and, therefore, this must be checked thoroughly:

  • Check all paperwork looks and feels genuine – photocopies and printouts could be fake
  • Ensure the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) recorded in the logbook matches the ones displayed in the car, and the address and recorded keeper’s information tallies with the person selling the car
  • Examine the service history to make sure the recorded mileage is in line with the mileage displayed in the car, and that regular maintenance has been carried out

Spread The Cost

Spread The Cost

Monthly Payment £0
Total Repayable £0
(7.9% APR illustration)
Apply Now
Rates may vary depending on loan amount and individual circumstances. Subject to status.

Setting your budget

Things to think about;
  • How much is your current car worth?
  • Are you willing to sell privately or would you prefer to trade it in with a dealer?
  • Do you have outstanding finance on your current vehicle?
  • Running costs - fuel, servicing, road fund licence and insurance are all relative costs you need to consider and budget for
  • If you’re looking to obtain car finance, our online car finance calculator will give you an indication of monthly repayments. Bear in mind that these should be used as an indication only, as a definite quote will only be provided once you have completed an application
Taking all of these factors into consideration, you will arrive at a figure you can afford to spend on a used car.

Buying a car from a dealer or private sale

Whether you’re looking at buying from a car dealership or going down the private seller route, there are pros and cons to both.

Dealership pros and cons

As well as the security of being covered by the Sale of Goods Act 1979, you may also receive a warranty with the car when you buy from a dealership. The Sale of Goods Act is in place to ensure that the car you’re buying is of merchantable quality - something you can’t always be sure of when buying privately.The dealer should also be able to complete a HPI check on the vehicle to ensure there is no outstanding finance on the car, or any dubious history - such as an accident write-off.Purchase prices can often be higher when you buy from a dealership, so be sure to shop around before you settle on a deal.

Private sale pros and cons

When buying privately, you can often negotiate a lower sale price. You will have the opportunity to speak to the previous owner and, therefore, get a clearer picture of how the car has been looked after and how it was previously used.You won’t receive a warranty or protection under the Sale of Goods Act if you buy privately. Normally, you would (and should) have to complete your own HPI check - and this can easily be done online for a small fee. But with The Car Loan Warehouse, our comprehensive 5-star checks mean the car you choose will be given a free HPI check from the experts. Buying a Used Car

How to select a used car to buy

When it comes to buying a used car, there are any number of vehicles on the market. Choosing the right car to suit your needs can be a daunting prospect, so make sure you do your homework and think clearly about what you want the car for and how it’ll be used.Here are some things to consider:
  • What will the car be used for?
  • How many passengers do you need to regularly transport?
  • What size of boot do you need?
  • Which tax bracket is the car in?
  • How fuel efficient is the car?
  • How much will insurance be for the car?
  • Find out about the running costs and service charges associated with the car

Inspecting a used car to buy

If you decide to buy a used car, here are a few things to consider:
  • Ensure you view the vehicle during daylight hours and avoid rainy days
  • Check to see whether the car has a service history - this can be a fairly good indication that the vehicle has been properly maintained and has regularly visited a professional garage
  • Complete an HPI check online. For a small charge, you can receive a detailed report on the history of the vehicle, ensuring there is no outstanding finance on the vehicle or other dubious background history - and with our 5-star checks, you shouldn’t need to pay for this service
  • Check the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for signs of tampering and make sure it matches the VIN recorded in the log book. The VIN can be found at the base of the windscreen, under the bonnet and stamped into the chassis under the carpet beside the driver’s seat
  • Look for rust, mismatched paint and uneven gaps between body panels - these may be indications of previous damage
  • Check that all of the car’s buttons and functions work as they should
If you’re nervous or unsure of what you should be looking for when it comes to inspecting a used car, employing the services of a reputable car inspection company could be a sensible option. Offering varying levels of detail, a professional inspection can provide a thorough report on the condition of the car.

What to look for when test driving a used car

The test drive is your chance to assess every aspect of the car - from how it feels on the road to ensuring full functionality - so don’t miss out on the opportunity to try before you buy.Here are some things to consider:
  • Always take a test drive of at least 15 minutes, and on different types of road
  • Make sure you have suitable insurance cover before you drive the car
  • Start the car when the engine is cold and check for excessive smoke and unusual noises
  • Check the gears, brakes, steering and suspension work as they should, with no unusual noises or vibration

How to negotiate the sale price when buying a car

When it comes to agreeing on a sale price for a used car, don’t be afraid to haggle. Most sellers will be happy to negotiate the price - and making sure you’re clued up on facts and figures before you inspect the vehicle will help you settle on a price that suits you.Here are some things to consider:
  • Be aware of the market value and what you’re willing to pay
  • Start your bidding low and let the seller work the price up from there
  • Make reference to any faults with the car and the associated cost of repair
  • Asking for a tank of fuel or service can be a good way to negotiate some extras
  • If you can’t agree on a price, remember there are plenty of other cars available
Buying a Used Car

Completing the paperwork

A car’s history should all be in the paperwork and, therefore, this must be checked thoroughly:
  • Check all paperwork looks and feels genuine - photocopies and printouts could be fake
  • Ensure the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) recorded in the logbook matches the ones displayed in the car, and the address and recorded keeper’s information tallies with the person selling the car
  • Examine the service history to make sure the recorded mileage is in line with the mileage displayed in the car, and that regular maintenance has been carried out
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