There are an almost limitless number of reasons why buying a used car is a worthwhile venture, but first and foremost it is because of cost. The AA has stated that used cars lose as much as 40% of their value in as little as a year. Now for the most part it may seem like a no brainer, many people leap at the opportunity to purchase a car at a fraction of the price. However, there are many things that you should take into consideration, here is my advice for first time used car buyers…
Choose the right car dealer
Right off the bat it helps to narrow down your search. I normally use the AA’s car dealer search bar, as it allows you to select your budget, location, desired mileage – as well as many other integral little details. Once you have found an appropriate dealer, it helps to look at testimonials and reviews to establish whether previous customers have been happy with their purchases.
Simply for peace of mind, it is important to go with a trusted and established company. I went for Livery Dole who has a very extensive range of used Mitsubishi cars, and did so based on their testimonials – they all highlighted that dealings were straightforward and comfortable. Looking into this factor has certainly paid off in my experience.
Finding the right dealer is simply the beginning though, what you do when you get there is just as important as the getting there itself.
How much does it really cost?
Sometimes, what on the surface looks like a fantastic offer, is riddled with additional costs. My first recommendation is that you establish a realistic budget and then stick to it. Do not allow any dealer to pressure you into a purchase that you are not 100% committed to. It often helps, once you have spotted a car you like, to request the following:
- An insurance quote
- The car tax rate
- Previous MOT records or details of anything that may be in need of repair
Unfortunately, as cynical a comment it may seem, if a deal seems too good to be true then it often is. Often dealers are on commission so they are incentivised to push for a sale. You don’t want to be paying for repairs that may amount to what you would have paid for a new car, or paying insurance that extends above and beyond your budget.
I have found that it helps to start with this information, it just saves time. It is after weighing up all the actual costs that you should decide whether it is a deal worth pursuing. Alongside asking the previous questions I often check for any superficial damage myself and also request a test drive.
Request a Test Drive
It is very easy to sell a car that looks aesthetically pleasing, but the real weight of the decision should lie in how it feels to drive. Without intending to sound condescending, it is useful to create a mental list composed of what your vehicle will be used for – and what should take priority. For example, if you have a family, is there enough room? If you are a long distance commuter, is the car comfortable? I am sure you get the point.
Take your time
I rarely decide to buy immediately, I go home and mull over my possible choices – often using sites such as wisebuyers (specifically their prices and specs guide) in order to look at how much certain models used to cost, what their actual specs are and other facts. Doing research like this will either help you feel more confident about your investment, or prevent you from doing something rather impulsive. Impulse buying is the most frequent mistake I see people make, by taking your time you’re not only saving yourself a great deal of stress but you are also buying intelligently.
I know there are many other factors I have failed to mention so should anyone else have any ideas, please mention them in the comments below. I am about to buy my third second hand car, so I could actually make use of any further snippets of advice you may have…