If you love driving and love cars even more, you’ve probably already had experience of buying a second hand vehicle. You can grab a real bargain if you choose carefully, but the market is an utter minefield that needs a lot of caution when buying a car. Because new cars will lose a huge percentage of their value within 6-12 months, the low resale value can be too much to resist. With a new car, you get the reassurance of an extended warranty and you know that the vehicle has never been abused. Not so for a second hand vehicle, so let’s have a look at some of the ways you can spare the agony of realization that you’ve paid a small fortune for an absolute lemon. We apologise in advance if you’ve already done this, but hopefully most of you will have dodged that somewhat painful bullet thus far.
Look at your finances and work out how much you can afford to spend on your secondhand car. You need to remember the insurance, tax and any other added expensein this figure. If you set a budget before you start shopping, you can look around with confidence, discounting those cars that don’t fit into your plans.
Check Up On The Market
If you have a specific model in mind, do some research on the internet to see what the correct price ranges for that exact car. You should also check out the common faults and get ready with that magnifying glass. If you see a car that is priced way too low, you are probably best advised to walk away, real bargains do exists, but they are few and far between.
Although that Jaguar or Audi Quattro may get your juices running, have a real good think about the car you really need. If you are a family man or perhaps are having a new addition really soon, don’t come back with a 2 door coupe. You should also consider the MPG figures and the costs of servicing and spare parts.
If you are buying privately, get ready with a whole bunch of relevant questions for the seller. Here is a small selection of the basic queries for you to start with:
- How long have they owned the vehicle?
- Any accidents?
- Do they have a full service history?
- Will it meet a RWC?
In The Flesh
When you view the car, always do this at the sellers address and never at a neutral spot. Ensure the address is the same as the registration certificate and use the service records to double check the mileage. Check the car for any scratches or dents and ask for a test drive. Never agree to view the car in the early morning or evening, otherwise you could easily miss a defect. The same goes for heavy rain, this will hide a world of sins.
Keep these tips in mind and ask a buddy to come along for another viewpoint. Pick one with some car related experience and see if they can help you to buy the car of your dreams – Good Luck!