Home Auto Second-Hand, Not Second Best – Tips for Buying a Used Car

Second-Hand, Not Second Best – Tips for Buying a Used Car


Buying a second-hand car makes sound financial sense. New cars depreciate rapidly in value over the first year. Once you’ve made the decision to buy a used vehicle, take some time to consider all your options.


Whilst bargains on the internet and in small ads may seem very attractive, taking this route can be fraught with difficulty. The old adage that ‘if something seems too good to be true, it generally is’ is often all too accurate when buying in this way. Although you may save money upfront, your legal rights will depend entirely on the contract you sign when you buy and these can be less than comprehensive at best and not worth the paper they’re written on at worst.

Private Sale

Private sales can work well if you are car-savvy and know exactly what you are looking for and what questions to ask. Be wary of anyone that you suspect might be a dealer. Dealers may pose as private sellers to offload sub-standard cars outside of the legal framework that governs an official sale. If you notice that mobile numbers are replicated across a number adverts for different cars, this is likely to be a moonlighting dealer at work and you should avoid at all costs. If you find a car you like the look of privately, always arrange to view it at the seller’s home. If they are not happy to do this, regard it as another danger signal. Make sure you view in daylight during fine weather and always take a friend with you — ideally, someone who knows about cars. Check the seller’s address against the car’s V5, as they should match.


If you want to buy a Ford Inverness is a good place to look for a reputable dealer who will give you more peace of mind. Ask around friends and family for recommendations. Check online for reviews and customer testimonials. If you have a specific car in mind, click through relevant forums to see which dealers in your area are highly rated. Dealers will often offer you a package that includes extras such as warranties and finance. Make sure you compare the market to ensure you are getting a good deal before signing up for these.

Under the Hammer

Car auctions can be a great way to pick up a bargain, but if you pick a dud you will be stuck with it unless you can prove that you were deliberately misled by the auction house.


Set your budget before you start your search. If you need to borrow funds, shop around for the best deal and don’t sign up for dealer finance until you have taken time to go over the small print.


Extended warranties can offer valuable protection, but it’s important to check exactly what is covered before committing.

Donald McEwen is a freelance motor journalist who contributes extensively to trade publications, both in print media and online. He lives and works just outside the city and knows that when it comes to buying a Ford Inverness is a good place to look.