So, you’ve sold your old car (if you’re smart, with thecarbuyinggroup.co.uk) and it’s time to look for a replacement. Before you part with your cash, make sure you consider The Car Buying Group’s top 10 tips when buying a used car:
1) Make sure it all works – This might sound simple & obvious, but you do need to make sure that you thoroughly check that everything you expect is present & working. Electric windows in the rear? Lights? Wipers?
2) Check for mismatched paint, rust and unusual panels – Take a careful look around the outside of the vehicle to see if you can see any damage which looks as though it might’ve been poorly repaired. Keep an eye out for rust on the underside of panels, sills, wheel arches etc.
3) Test drive – Where possible, try before you buy. Before you take a vehicle for a test drive, you’ll want to make sure that you are insured & legal to drive the vehicle. If you can, drive the car for 10-20 minutes at different speeds and on different road types. You’ll want to see if you can notice any strange noises from the suspension, engine, brakes etc.
4) On a dry sunny day – It’s always best to view a car in the daylight and when it’s dry. This way it will be far easier to see any scratches, dings & dents.
5) Barter – Don’t be scared to negotiate. Do your homework before purchasing a vehicle and try to get a good idea of what it’s really worth. If you can’t reach an agreement, you can always walk away – there are plenty of cars out there.
6) Ask questions – If the seller has nothing to hide, they won’t mind answering questions about the vehicle. Before you arrange to see the vehicle, it’s a good idea to ask about the condition of the vehicle and it’s past so that you can judge whether it is likely to meet your expectations
7) Check the vehicle history – Make sure that you get a car history check before you buy a used car. You don’t want to purchase a stolen vehicle or one that has outstanding finance.
8) The paperwork – Ensure that the car’s paperwork all corresponds with the vehicle that you’re viewing. The registration number & VIN numbers should definitely match up across all of the paperwork and on the vehicle itself. It’s also a good idea to look at the recorded mileage in the service history and make sure that it is in line with the vehicle mileage. If you have any doubts about the paperwork, it’s best to contact the authority which issues the document before making your purchase.
9) Under the bonnet – Ideally, you’ll want to be able to start the car when it has a cold engine – look out for excessive smoke & unusual noises. Pop the bonnet and take a look for any obvious fluid leaks (oil, water.. ). Have a look at the underside of the engine fuel cap – make sure it doesn’t have a white, waxy residue as this is a tell-tale sign of a damaged head-gasket and potential engine damage.
10) Unsure? Get a second opinion – If you’re not sure about a car, ask someone else who is more confident and has more knowledge/experience with vehicles to help. If you’re concerned about the condition or safety of a car, then it’s a good idea to have a garage/mechanic look at it before you agree to purchase.