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Buying A Used Car Dealer or Private Sale?

How to select a used car to buy

The selection of cars for sale is vast. Choosing the right car to suit your needs can be a daunting prospect. Make sure you do your homework and think clearly about what you want the car for and how it’ll be used.

  • What will the car be used for?
  • How many passengers do you need to regularly transport?
  • What size of boot do you need?
  • What 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

Ensure you complete a viewing of the car in question during daylight hours and avoid rainy days. There are some important checks which need to be completed before you consider purchasing a used car.

  • Check to see whether the car has a service history. This is a fairly good indication that the vehicle has been looked after and has been looked after by 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.
  • Check the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) at the base of the windscreen, under the bonnet and stamped into the chassis under the carpet beside the driver’s seat for signs of tampering, and make sure they match the VIN recorded in the logbook.
  • Look for rust, mismatched paint and uneven gaps between body panels – these may be indications of accident damage.
  • Make sure all of the car’s buttons and functions work as meant.

Employing the services of a reputable car inspection company could be a sensible option. Offering varying levels of inspection, they provide detailed reports on the condition of the car, but be careful they don’t alarm you unnecessarily as they will be fairly ruthless.

What to look for when test driving a used car

The test drive is your chance to asses every aspect of the car, from how it feels on the road, to making sure all its functionality works correctly.

  • 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.

More details on inspecting a used car Negotiating the price