We all know there is an element of risk involved when buying a used vehicle, yet not everyone can afford a new car and there are a few things that you can do to minimise the risk of being scammed. The main issue with buying a used car is that you have no idea how the vehicle has been maintained by previous owners, and with that in mind, here are a few tips to help ensure that you get the best deal when looking to buy a used car.
- Full service history – Known in the trade as FSH, if a used car comes with a full-service history, then at least you know it has been maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Where would you find records of servicing? The rear section of the owner’s manual should contain all maintenance details, along with information about major repairs.
- Private sellers – We don’t recommend that you buy a used car from a private seller, as the vehicle is typically ‘sold as seen’, which means you have no warranty. If you approach an established used car dealer, they usually offer used car finance at competitive rates of interest, plus they will give you some form of warranty. A dealer has a reputation to uphold and would never knowingly sell a sub-standard vehicle.
- Check trade prices – Regardless of the make and model, every car would have price listings, ranging from very good condition to poor condition, which takes into account the mileage and overall condition of the car. If you search online, you can quickly find out the current market value of any car, which should be a benchmark.
- Take a mechanic with you – When you go to view a second-hand car, you should ask an experienced mechanic to accompany you and let the expert give you a professional opinion. For the little it costs, this is the best way to have peace of mind and if the mechanic gives a thumbs-up, you can go ahead with some confidence.
- Negotiate – If you make note of any minor issues, this can put you in a position to negotiate a better price; indeed, most car dealers are happy to accept your old car as part payment and they usually offer a good deal with part exchange vehicles.
We hope that the above information helps you to navigate your way through what can be a complex process and you end up with the car you want at an affordable price.