People assume buying a used car is simple, you simply pay the money and take the car. As anyone who has bought one will know it can be a stressful time and many things need to be sorted such as v5 documents and you need to make sure your not getting robbed or any used car parts are broken.
Here is several pieces of advice when buying a used car which is based on my own experiences:
Firstly, do your research on the car, this means do a HPI check, they cost around £4 and check to see if your car has been in a accident or stolen, well worth it since if you fork over £4, 000 for a car and the police find it is stolen then its tough, you lose it. The HPI checker wont provide information on any changes to the original or used car parts such as any repairs or modifications, however always ask for the documents on the vehicle since they should be recorded here and if the HPI says it has been in a accident then repairs will have been made.
Another good research tip is customer reviews are essential. Any hired professionals can say this vehicle is amazing but its the drivers who will know, however use them as a guideline and don’t let one bad review put you off. Its like anything, somewhere down the line one vehicle is going to go wrong.
Secondly check your getting a good deal. “What Car” Review website tells you roughly how much you should expect to pay for the car, how much its worth trade in and reviews and is a good place to start your research. Take the information with a pinch of salt since its not always correct and you should not storm into a garage and demand the trade in value mentioned, but use it as a guideline, for example a Renault Cleo dynamic 2004 1.2 16v with under 20000 miles should go for around £4500 if sold privately, so any less and its a good deal, but 5000, and it needs something else such as air conditioning before its worth the extra payout.
Thirdly if it looks too good to be true, it probably is so take care as the price might be masking larger damage to the used car parts, or it could be vehicle salvage (HPI checker provides this information).
Finally test drive it and analyze the the car and the used car parts. Check the car engine sounds good, the car parts are in good condition, it drives well and does not make funny noises. I took one of the guys from work since they know what to listen for and its a good tip to ensure the vehicle is in good working order.
Finally use your nugget (head) for common sense issues, if the seller is pushy it probably has something wrong with it, if
they wont let you test drive the car ask why not. Another tip is always make sure there is at least 6 months MOT left and some tax since this is one more thing to show you the vehicle is in good working order.