Many people in the UK opt for buying a used car for many reasons. They are typically more affordable to buy than a brand new one, they avoid excessive depreciation which is usually associated with new cars, and if a mint example is picked, all of the major mechanical work will have been covered by the previous owners.
But sadly not all used cars out there have been well looked after, and some dont even have a bona fide history! So to help you lessen the risk of ending up with a lemon, here are some top tips to help you buy your next used car as painlessly as possible.
Create a shortlist of cars you are interested
Before you go and seek out a used car to buy, you should ensure that you have a shortlist of specific models that you are interested in.
Not only does this help you to narrow down your search, but its also good for research purposes as you will be able to find out what sorts of problems you are likely to come across with specific models.
Sometimes a highly desirable model might be advertised for sale at a price that is both significantly less than the market value, and is designed to generate the most amount of interest.
Although some sellers might have genuine reasons for selling their cars at such a price (for example, they might be moving abroad and need to sell their car fast), there are many occasions where unscrupulous sellers are selling cars with a less than genuine reason.
Check the cars history
This is perhaps one of the most important things that you should be doing when you are looking to buy a used car. Here is a list of things that you must check:
Log book – the log book, or the V5C document to give it its official name, should be available with the car. If it is not present, err on the side of caution as it may be an indication that you are looking at a dodgy motor. All log books should be red in colour as of September 2011, there is no reason why the seller should offer a blue one with the car as everyone will have received new ones, even if the car that have a SORN;
MOT history – even if the seller doesnt provide previous MOT certificates, you can check MOT history online for free if they supply you the MOT test number from an MOT certificate, or the document reference number from the V5C;
Car status – for only a few quid you could get whats known as an HPI check done on the car. This process involves supplying the cars registration number to a service provider that offers HPI checks online or via a mobile device, and they then tell you whether the car has been reported stolen, if it is written off, if there is any outstanding finance, and other details such as number plate changes;
Service history – not every car comes with a fully documented service history, but the benefit of having service history is that you can see what repairs and maintenance work have been done to the car during its history.
Buy from a reputable dealer
When you buy a used car from a private seller, you have no comeback if things go wrong – such as the engine blowing as soon as you drive the car down the road!
But when you buy from a car dealer, especially one that is reputable such as Junction 17 Cars Peterborough, you can be sure that have to put things right when things go wrong. It is worth getting personal recommendations, and going with your gut instinct if you go to a dealer and things dont feel right.