When buying a car, most of us opt for a used one rather than a brand new car from a dealership in order to save some money. However finding the perfect second-hand car for you is no easy task; price, condition and even colour is something that you will need to think about. There are some simple ways that you can ensure you don’t get ripped off when buying your car second hand.
1. Make a list of things you are looking for in a car, as well as the price range that you would like to stick to. So think about what kind of mileage you would like your car to have, engine size (think about how much petrol or diesel is going to cost), the brand of car – is there a specific make or brand that you want to buy? Remember to be willing to be flexible with these things, you might find something you prefer in the end if you keep an open mind.
2. Consider trading in your old car with the salesman. This can be an advantage in a couple of ways; it saves you from having to sell the car yourself, and it can knock some money off the car you are buying. The only disadvantage is that you may not get as much money for it as you would do if you sold it privately.
Don’t tell the salesman straight away that you want to trade your car in. Find a car you are interested in first and slip it into the conversation, for example, “what kind of deals do you have for trading in old cars, out of interest?”. This ensures you don’t look too keen, salesmen can be sly and eager to rip you off. Not all of them are like this though, it’s about researching the good ones in your area.
3. Check the car over. Check the tires are even and consistent, that the oil and the fluid are ok. If you don’t feel confident doing this take a friend or family member with you who has some knowledge about cars. If there are any significant scrapes or dents, which is to be expected, to some extent when buying a second-hand car, then enquire about how they got there. You need to make sure the car has never been written off, as this can be a problem when trying to insure it.
4. Take a test drive. Make sure the engine doesn’t overheat by driving it for about 15 minutes. Put the engine on and check it doesn’t emit any strange colour smoke, blue smoke is a bad sign. Check it doesn’t leak any fluids and that the water is circulating properly. Don’t forget to check how well the breaks work by driving carefully and slowly on a quiet road.
Although it is fine to buy privately, buying from a dealer ensures that you have more chance of getting your money back if something should go horribly wrong. If you do buy from a private seller, make sure that you get a receipt from them with all of their information on.