Second Hand Car Buying Guide

There are some people like me who will probably never be able to buy a brand new car, it doesn’t stop me dreaming though! Having bought more second hand cars than I care to remember.  Here is a  handy second hand car buyers guide.

Guide to buying a second hand car image.

There are various different avenues available to you when buying a second hand car. The main ones with their pros and cons are listed below.

No matter where you purchase your second hand car from there are some tips that apply.

  • Always take a test drive.
  • Test all switches, wipers, etc work
  • Set a budget and stick to it.
  • Don’t be rushed into making a purchase. If you aren’t sure walk away.
  • Research running and maintenance costs first!

Family or Friends

What may seem like a bargain buy could lead to the end of a friendship and cost you a lot more in repairs.

I never sell a car to family or friends, even neighbours as I wouldn’t want the possible repercussions if something went wrong.

To the same extent I wouldn’t buy from family or friends. The potential hassle if something serious goes wrong isn’t worth it.

From A Dealer

There are two types of dealer. An independent dealer or a franchised dealer.

Independent Dealer

You will probably pay slightly more when buying from a dealer. Chances are it’s a trade in you are buying so they need to make a profit.

The advantages though certainly make up for the extra you with pay.

  1. Waranty – Normally the age of the car will affect what is covered and for how long. Some dealers give an option to buy a longer, more inclusive warranty.
  2. There is legal recourse through the small claims court if you are sold a dud.
  3. The car should come with a fresh service.
  4. They will normally have purchased the Cartell report,stating if the car has been crashed or had finance outstanding etc
  5. Independent dealers are not linked to any one manufacturer so, depending on their size, could have a wider variety of makes and models to choose from.

Franchised Dealer

  1. Limited to one or two manufacturers. Although they may have a few cars from other marques depending on trade ins.
  2. There is a good chance you will be able to pick up a single owner vehicle with a full dealer history.
  3. The car will come with a full service and safety check.
  4. Again depending on the age of the car there will be a warranty.

Private Sale

This is perhaps the most risky. You will have no idea of the true service history. The person you are buying from may seem genuine but this might not be the case. You will generally get a cheaper car than going through a dealer. Here are some tips to help you if you go this route.

  1. Bring a mechanic with you to do a full check of the car. MotorCheck offer a full pre purchase inspection service.
  2. Always meet at the buyers home.
  3. Check the VIN matches on the NCT, MOT for UK buyers, Tax Disc and Chassis.

Hope you find these tips useful. Keep an eye out for a review of my new(ish) Renault Grand Scenic coming soon.

2 thoughts on “Second Hand Car Buying Guide”

    1. I’ve been trying to get into a newer car for ages. Finally bit the bullet and went into a 143. €190 for the year instead of €200 for a quarter. 😀

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