Used cars are becoming ever more popular. Yesterday the SMMT revealed that 2 million used cars were sold in the first quarter of this year.
Our Britain Under the Bonnet report revealed that economic uncertainty has caused a spike of 2.4m drivers shifting their focus to used cars rather than new. Purchasing a used car can be stressful, and doing your research is critical to getting a good buy.
Seán Kemple, Director of Sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance, offers his top tips to secure the best purchase.
Buying a car is a big decision, and everyone has their priorities. A lot of the time we care about the way the car looks, but it’s important to consider a vehicle’s practicality to fit with your own lifestyle too. Be realistic and make a list of the most important features you’ll need, whether that’s space for your family or the right fuel type for the type of driving you do.
Working out your budget is a crucial first step. Do your homework and plan your finances. Three in ten drivers used motor finance products to buy their last car – get the dealer you’re buying from to explain the different options available to suit your situation.
- Test drive
Buying the wrong car can be a costly mistake. Speak to your dealer and take it out for a test drive to ensure it’s the right car for you. Make sure you spend enough time on a test drive to be comfortable it handles the way you expect it to in a variety of different situations, on the motorway for example.
- Vehicle Checks
Online vehicle checks can be done quickly and easily before purchasing the car to minimise risk to ensure that you are buying the exact vehicle you expect it to be. You can check it’s history, whether it has any outstanding finance or whether it’s ever been in an accident for example. There are a number of websites that can do this. Spending around £20 now may save you hundreds of pounds in the long run, so it’s worth it for the peace in mind.
Buying the car isn’t the end of the journey – get an insurance quote before signing on the dotted line as they vary for used cars and different drivers. Use comparison sites to compare insurance quotes and see what you can save.
- Running and maintenance costs
Spend some time researching the potential running costs and future repair work that is likely for the make, model and age of the car you are considering. When planning your finances, be mindful of the cost implications for the full life-cycle of the vehicle for the length of time you intend to keep the car for.
- Check the paperwork
Before you purchase the car make sure the paperwork stacks up and that you’re clear of its service history, whether it’s still under manufacturer warranty and when its next MOT is due.