Buying a pre-owned car is always a risky business, and the last thing you want is to make an expensive purchase only to realise you’re really not getting as good a deal as was advertised!
It’s always important to take a step back and really think things through before purchasing a used car, so we’re going to take a look at some of the things which you should be bearing in mind to make the whole process a little bit easier.
Do your research
First things first, make sure that you go in armed with as much information as possible. If you have a good idea of the type of vehicle that you’re after, be sure to look online for as much information as you can.
Finding out technical information about the vehicle is a good starting point, but you’ll also want to see if you can find any forums where owners have shared their own experiences with the vehicle to get an idea of how reliable it is.
Autotrader can be a good place to research general prices and reviews of certain vehicles.
Bar perhaps your house, buying a new car is one of the most expensive purchases that you’ll ever make in your life, so it stands to reason that you should take some time to make sure you’re clued up!
Carry out some checks
While there are certain things which you’ll remember straight away, there are others which might slip under your radar on first viewing.
For example, while you’ll probably definitely check the tread on the tyres, but will you check the spare tyre?
According to Cox Motor Parts, many people also forget to check if the air con and heating are both in good working order, and get a nasty surprise when winter or summer rolls around!
Another one to look out for is the locking system if it works using an immobiliser, and you should make sure that this isn’t temperamental and that the key actually works in the door as well as remotely.
Make the most of a test drive
When it comes to the test drive, you should make sure that you take the car out on a clear day without any rain.
Driving in the dark or in the rain will make it harder to get a true gauge for the quality of the vehicle.
This being said, if possible it could be a good idea to test drive the car a couple of times in different conditions, as rain could be good for helping to test the windscreen wipers, seals and grip of the car.
Make sure that whenever you do take the car out for a test drive that you put it through its paces and drive over a couple of uneven roads to make sure that everything is ok underneath the vehicle.
For more information check out this post from the AA looking at some tips on how to get the most out of a test drive.
Take someone with you
If at all possible, you should have someone else come with you when browsing second-hand vehicles.
As well as offering a valuable second opinion, someone else can help you do some checks on the car.
For example, you should put on all the lights and indicators and have them walk around the car to make sure that they work, and rev the engine to see if there’s any blue or black smoke coming from the exhaust.