Thinking of buying a used car? Well, you’re not the only one – there are around 40 million used cars exchanged each year. With so many options, it can be challenging for you to find the right one, so here are our top tips to ensure you get the best deal.
Tips for Shopping Around
- Set a strict budget and make sure you stick to it. Remember that as well as the purchase price, you will have additional costs which could have a huge impact. Insurance is the most important factor to consider.
- Do your research and narrow down your list to around six cars. Find out what particular cars should be worth and pay attention to the cars that look too cheap. If the price is too good to be true, there is usually a reason why – owners looking for a quick sale might be hiding some nasty issues.
- Time it right. The best time to buy a used car from a dealership is at the end of a sales quarter (March, June, September and December). Since dealers have to meet their targets, they may be more flexible on pricing. During the rest of the year avoiding weekends or the start of the month can help.
- Start with a low price. When you’re ready for negotiation, make an opening offer lower than your maximum budget. Create a list of any faults you discover and negotiate based on the cost of repairing these problems.
- Think local. If you want to save some time, source cars located in your area. This way, you can inspect more cars more easily, giving you maximum flexibility.
- Visit in the day. Always organise any inspections during daylight, to make sure you spot any rust, marks and other defects. If you don’t have too much technical experience, you can ask a friend who has or even hire a specialist to help you.
- Investigate the car’s past. Another important aspect that should be taken in consideration is checking the car’s history. Even though most sellers seem honest, it’s better to make sure that the car is not stolen or illegal.
- Ensure all paperwork is in order. Before the final payment, make sure you have the original version of all papers (not photocopies) and that the seller transfers the title and registration to you.
- Test-drive. This is the best way to convince yourself that the model suits you, as well as giving you time to check the car’s condition.
- Service records. Ask the seller to let you check the service records. It is important to see these as you want to make sure that the car has been maintained properly.
If you are looking to save money, here are some factors you should take in consideration:
- Smaller engines are cheaper as, predictably, they burn less fuel than a larger one.
- Manual cars are cheaper than automatic.
- Petrol cars tend to be cheaper than diesel.
- Smaller cars are far cheaper to insure.
Buying from a car dealer might be more expensive, but gives you more protection and peace of mind about the car. If something goes wrong with the car, you should be able to get a refund, repair or replacement.
Once your research, negotiation and due diligence is complete, go ahead and buy your dream car – you deserve it!