Want some quick tips on buying a used car? Our quick-guide gives you a simple list of some of the more important things you should know.
So, youíve found a car that you really like and youíre ready to go and see it. Before you grab your keys you need to make sure youíre fully prepared. What you need to do first is carry out the following simple steps.
Step 1: History check
Itís critical that you get history check carried out on the vehicle before you go and view it. It will help to identify things about the vehicle such as whether it has a hidden history, if thereís any outstanding finance on the car or even if itís been reported as stolen. You should also confirm that the used car youíre going to look at is taxed and, if itís more than three years old, has a valid MoT certificate.
Step 2: Car valuation
Once youíre happy that the car has no dirty secrets hidden in its past then you really need to find out exactly how much itís worth. There are a couple of ways you can do this. You can look obtain a professional market valuation of the car with an organisation such as Parkes.co.uk. Alternatively, you can look at similar used cars for sale on the market and see what they are being sold for. Once youíve found out how much the car is worth then ensure that it fits within your budget. Heading to the seller confident of the carís value will help when it comes time for negotiating.
Step 3: Insurance
If youíre intending to take the car for a test drive, which we highly recommend, then you need to make sure that you arrange temporary insurance cover beforehand.
Now that youíve carried out steps 1 to 3 itís time to arrange to view the car. To ensure that the seller is genuine always insist on meeting at the sellerís place of work or ideally their home address. Once youíre there then follow the next steps to make sure you get the best outcome.
Step 4: Documents
One of the first things you need to do is ask to see the carís VC5, also known as the logbook, and service history. You should ask if you can view them in the comfort of the sellerís house or workplace. This will help to confirm if they really do live or work there and also help prove that they are genuine.
Step 5: Inspection
When youíre looking at the car make sure you pay close attention to the overall condition of the car. You need to check that the carís condition matches how it was described in the advert. For example, make sure that the tyres have got plenty of tread left on them and that they are from a reputable brand. Also check under the sills for any signs of rust and keep an eye out for a hasty or botched repair job. Itís also a good idea to check the fluid levels. If theyíre not topped up correctly then itís another sign that the car has been mistreated.
Step 6: Test drive
The final step before taking the plunge is to take the car for a test drive. You should only take a car out for a test drive if you are insured to do so. Make sure that you get plenty of time behind the wheel and test it out fully. This means pressing all of the various buttons and within reason trying out every feature that the car has to offer. In particular, watch out for slipping clutches, a rough sounding gearbox and any knocking or clunking sound from the suspension. Also, check that the car doesnít pull to one side on a straight piece of road.
Step 7: Your offer
If youíre happy with everything and you really want the car then itís time to start negotiating on the price. You must be firm but fair when it comes to haggling and always have your budget in mind. If the deal doesnít work for you then donít be afraid to walk away. Once you agree on a price then make sure you get a receipt which is signed and dated by both you and the car seller.
Still not found the right car? We have thousands of used cars for sale on DesperateSeller.co.uk.