Wednesday, July 26, 2023

What Should You Check When Buying A Used Car?


Used cars are very popular amongst drivers. Don’t get us wrong, there’s nothing better than the smell of a brand-new car but for many drivers, new cars are unrealistic to purchase outright, and they depreciate at a much faster rate than used cars. Second-hand cars can be really easy to come by and there’s a huge amount of choice for your money! But for many drivers, they can be sceptical about buying a used car and may need a little help along the way. This guide looks at the most common things you should check when buying a used car.

How to fund your second-hand car:

You can choose to either buy a car with cash or through car finance. The most cost-effective way to get a car is with cash as there’s no interest to pay, no monthly payments and you will be the legal owner of the car outright. However, even used cars can now cost thousands of pounds to buy outright and drivers may struggle to save up for a lump sum payment. A used car payment calculator can help you assess how much you could borrow to finance a car and spread the cost into payments that suit you. Car finance can be a great way for drivers to get a better car than they would with cash and pay for it over a term that suits them.

Should you buy from a dealer or private seller?

If you’re going down the finance route, you will only be able to buy a car from a reputable car dealer as they can offer finance or you can use your finance deal, sorted through a broker, at a participating dealership. You can’t buy from a private seller when financing a car as you don’t have the same level of protection as you do with dealerships. When paying in cash, you have the freedom to buy the car from anywhere you like, including privately and car dealers. When you buy a used car from a private seller, you have the right to reject the car within 30 days if the vehicle is faulty.

Used car buying checklist:

When you’re searching for the second-hand car that’s right for you, its strongly recommended that you view as many cars as you like in person and where possible, take any cars within your budget for a test drive. Once on your test drive, it gives you an opportunity to insect the vehicle without the watchful eye of the dealer or seller.

Paintwork. As easy way to spot if the car you are buying has previously been in an accident is through its paintwork. You may be able to see visible signs that the paintwork on the exterior does not match that of the interior such as under the bonnet, inside the doors or the boot. Any scrapes and scratches will be expected on used cars too, but it can also give you a little bit of wiggle room when it comes to negotiating the price.

Tyres. Your tyres are really important when driving and they should be in good condition when buying a second-hand car. Tyres should have decent tread depth and should have more than 3mm and no less than 1.6mm on them. If not, you will have to replace them soon or anything less than 1.6mm and they are illegal. You should also make sure the car you are buying comes with the spare wheel or puncture repair kit and also the locking wheel nut.

Brakes and suspension. Whilst you’re out on a test drive, it’s important to see if the car performs as expected. Take some time to check the brakes are working and don’t feel spongy or soft as this could indicate the early signs of brake problems. You can also check the suspension by pressing down on each of the four corners of the vehicle and it should return smoothly to its original position. If you feel like something is wrong, talk to the seller about your concerns or it may not be the right car for you.

Dashboard warning lights. One simple check to take note of is any warming symbols on the dashboard. When you get in and start the car, check the dashboard for any lights indicating that there are issues with the vehicle. Dashboard lights can warn you about issues such as engine temperature, airbag faults, low brake fluid, power steering fault and security system issues.

Documents and paperwork. When you buy a used car, you will need a few documents to be supplied with the sale. You will need to get the logbook (V5C) of the car you are buying, the details of the seller including name and address and check they are on the supplied V5C. You should also ask to see the car’s service history; MOT status and record of any work being carried out previously. Once the sale has been complete, you should also ask for proof of purchase such as a receipt to verify the sale in the even that something should go wrong.

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