Helpful Tips When Buying A Second-Hand Car

If you’re looking to buy a car then there’s plenty of helpful tips and vital checklists worth considering.

Well done on choosing a second-hand vehicle because the moment you drive a shiny brand-new model off the forecourt you’ll lose almost half of its value in the first three years.

Buying a used car can save you lots of cash but with uncertain histories and dodgy salesmen, it can be a minefield.

Here are 10 helpful tips to drive you forward with your purchase:

  1. Running Costs
    Compare running costs of different cars on Moneyworks Wales. Simply put in the registration number of the car you’re considering an this handy tool will let you know your annual running costs:
  2. Consider the timing
    Dealers have targets to meet, with bonuses up for grabs on quarterly sales, making the end of March, June, September and December a good time to buy.
  3. Need to flog yours?
    It you part exchange at a garage there’s a lot less hassle but you won’t get as much as selling it privately. The dealer will pay less than your car’s value but you are likely to get better protection. If it’s a private sale, then always go to a seller’s home. Take someone with you as another precaution, and for a useful second opinion. The Vehicle Safe Trading Advisory Group (Vstag) has useful buying safety tips.
  4. How much will it cost me?
    You can check out every model online. What Car?, Honest John and Parkers are among the best sites for research purposes. Consider any upfront costs or how much the repayments are if you take out a finance deal. Remember to check the tax, insurance, annual servicing and average petrol consumption.
  5. Always haggle!
    Haggling is a dealer’s classic skill – and it’s expected of you, too. You should NEVER pay the list price of the car.
  6. What to look for?
    Check the car’s mileage because the average is around 10,000 miles a year, so if the odometer’s figure appears wildly out for its age, ask why. Consider the condition of the bodywork and check for signs of poor repairs. Check the tyres and oil level and look at the engine for signs of oil or water leaks.
  7. Take it for a test drive
    How comfortable are you behind the wheel? Check the brakes and clutch and take notice whether it veers to one side, has strange noises and doesn’t feel balanced. Does the suspension feel right?
  8. Pay something on a credit card
    Pay even a penny toward your car on a credit card, and you get extra protection if something goes wrong down the line. This is because you’re then covered by Section 75.
  9. Car insurance
    Make sure you sort out your car insurance before you take ownership of the car – even if you’re not driving it just yet.
  10. Know your rights
    If you paid a fair price, and the car goes breaks down once you get home, you usually have rights – even if it’s a new problem. See the full How To Complain guide to see which is best for you, or the Small Claims Court guide on how to take legal action for claims of up to £10,000.

Remember that if you need to borrow money for your car, then contact your nearest credit union for details of their ethical, affordable and manageable loans.

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