Top Tips For Buying a Used Car

Whether you are buying a used car from a dealer or a private seller there are things that you should consider before departing with your money. We’ve considered some of the most important tips for buying a used car to assist throughout the buying process.

Consider the Costs

Before arranging to view or test drive a vehicle, determine your budget. If you know what you are willing to spend before you start shopping around, you’ll be less inclined to view vehicles that are outside of your price-range. When budgeting, remember to consider the cost of; the deposit, insurance, fuel, general maintenance, as well MOT’s and servicing. If buying through a dealership it is worth checking to see if they offer any vehicle health checks or service plans for used cars.

Understand the Market

Researching the market will allow you to utilise your budget effectively, while getting the most for your money. You can either look into car brands you like such as a used Audi or a used Volkswagen or if the make isn’t a limiting factor, you can view a broader selection of cars based on specification.

Car Requirements

If you want to choose your next car based on the spec, it is imperative to decide on what you want during the research phase, to reduce the risk of settling for a model that doesn’t tick enough of the boxes. For instance, if you’re a large family and require a reliable car with enough boot space, choosing a SMART car wouldn’t work. Likewise, if you need a vehicle suitable for long-distance then fuel economy is vital.

Compare, Compare, Compare

Comparing the cars you like online will allow you to save time when visiting a dealership. Most dealerships, like us, will list their used cars online with a full spec and history available at your finger tips, as well as the ability to inquire through the site to save time.

Vehicles you like can be saved for later by bookmarking the page and comparing against other cars you have found. This is really handy when you have found very similar models that you want to compare based on price, mileage, age or other factors.

Get the Most Out of Your Old Car

To get the most out of selling your old vehicle, there are a few things to consider. If you are selling it privately, ensure you clean the exterior and interior thoroughly, sift through old paperwork to find all relevant documents and list it across multiple channels to maximise its exposure. Likewise, you can also sell on or part exchange your car with a dealership.

Test Drive

Test driving the car is a must when buying any car. It is important to take the car out to ensure there aren’t any obvious niggles, also using this time to check the boot space, overall comfort and interior space. Most dealerships will allow you to book a test drive beforehand to save time.

Please note – When buying from a private seller, you won’t be able to test drive the vehicle unless both insurance policies allow you to do so. Contact your insurer ahead of time to confirm your policy.

Pay with Plastic

Using a credit card when buying a used car will give you more protection. Although you may be considering utilising the different finance options for used cars, if you can make the first payment or deposit on a credit card you will receive extra protection on your purchase. Large purchases like cars are covered by Section 75, which means credit card providers must protect purchases over £100 for free.

Paperwork and Spares

Check all paperwork thoroughly. Wherever possible ensure you have a full MOT and service history. Whether you are buying the car from a dealer or privately, this is key. It is also worth checking to see if the car has a spare tyre, or any other additional spare parts that should be included. If the car is missing any of these, you may be able to reduce the cost to cover replacing the item, especially if buying from a private seller.

Making your mind up

For more steps on buying your first car, read our car buying checklist here, or if you are thinking of buying a loved one a used car as a gift, read our helpful How to Gift a Car Guide.

If you would like to talk to us about any further queiries on buying a used car we’d be happy to help – get in touch or contact your closest Jardine Motors dealership for assistance.