So you’ve decided to look for a car and like most people,Â you’re on a budget. This can be very daunting becauseÂ there areÂ plentyÂ ofÂ options available for finding that perfectÂ cheap vehicle. Many questions arise, likeÂ what fuel type do you go for? Here, we’re going to break down some of the most commonly asked questions and offer some great answers and resources.
What is the car going to be used for?Â Are you driving within the city/town you live in? If you don’t need to travel more than 5-10 miles out of where you live then maybe a standard petrol car will do the job. There’s more petrol cars available in second hand dealerships than diesel ones, so you will have access to a larger selection, and the price difference between diesel and petrol won’t be that large either.
But if you are intending to commute every day for more than 10 miles, I would definitely recommend a diesel engine. With long distance driving diesels really do pay off.
Once you’ve decided on the fuel type, set a budget. There are a few resources for seeking out cars, I’ve listed some of the best ones below:
The benefit of using local papers is that you could find a great deal that’s local too. Dealerships advertise in the paper as well as private sellers, so if you get a good dealership that’s close by,Â you won’t have to worry about driving a significant distance to resolve any issues.
There are many local dealers that have their cars listed on their website, or they will be able to tell you what kinds of petrol/diesel cars they have available over the phone. If you get a good idea of their stock then why not pop down and get your questions answered face-to-face and even take a look at the car personally.
This is a website covering the whole UK, combining private and trade listings. Your local dealers willÂ more than likely be on here too, as this is the industry standard for listing vehicles. Here’s an example of how to use this site: I was recently looking at VW Mark 5 Diesel Golfs, with under 80,000 miles on the clock, and I wanted to find out what I should expect to be paying for that mileage. I did a nation-wide search and noted down the general prices people were looking at. Then I set a budget based on what people expected, and what kind of condition I should realistically expect for that budget. In the end I managed to get aÂ Golf for $4,500 at 80,000 miles. So I would recommend at least having a look atÂ autotrader.
This is another online resource which has less listings than autotrader but delivers the same type of user experience when searching for cars. There are a range of options to fill out on the left side of the page, plus more options than AutoTrader, like a unique price range bar that you can drag instead of typing, and you can format how you view your search results.
These are auctions where dealers and private sellers bring in their cars and are looking for a sale right then and there. A couple of examples of auction sites areÂ British Car Auctions (http://www.british-car-auctions.co.uk/) and SMA Vehicle Marketing (http://www.sma-group.co.uk/). These companies hold daily auctions. You can look up a vehicle on their website that comes in, put a reserve bid on it and hope you get the car, similar to a bid for any other product on e-bay.
The problem with this approach is that you have to be very careful to check out everything on the car first, which I will go into onÂ the next point. You can get some great deals from an auction if you look carefully and make allÂ of the proper checks. The downside is the effort it takes, so if you have no patience or don’t want to risk getting a dud then I suggest the more traditional routesÂ likeÂ using dealerships and sites like AutoTrader.
Its very, very important that wherever you get your car from (especially car auctions) to perform a few checks on it before you commit to aÂ purchase.
Certain makes and models have common issues that you need to check the status of before viewing. For example, back to the VW Golf, ordinarily the cam belt tends to pack in at around 80,000 miles.Â It’s aÂ good ideato ask whether these have been replaced, just so you know how much you potentially have to spend after you purchase the car.
Research the Car’s Registration Number
You can visit a website like www.hpicheck.com, enter the registration of the car in question, then for a fee (usually between $10-$20) it will tell you if the car is stolen or written off, the number plate has been transferred, mileage issues, outstanding finance to pay, or give you a C02 emissions certificate. Before doing anything, if you have a registration number to work with I highly recommend doing this as it will save you a ton of time if there’s a serious issue with the vehicle.
When viewing the car it is best to walk around and look carefully at the paint work, rims, tyres, and windows for any serious scuffs orÂ marks. There’s bound to be a few minor marks due to it’sÂ second hand nature, but if there are any serious scuffs on paint, Â the tyres are worn or the windows are chipped, you should try to demand that they pay for these or reduce theÂ askingÂ price.
You should look to see if any doors or panels have been replaced and look for changesÂ in paint tone anywhere. Another way to check this is to get down and look at the front of the car, lining up the front left/right side of the car through to the back, and see if the lines are smooth going all the way down. If a door has been replaced you will see a slight protrusion and break in the line.
Most people don’t tend to go to the official dealerships after they first buy the car, so expect a few garage receipts for MOT’s and the services/jobs done.
This will give you an idea of how much the car has been used and how worn it might be.
Always worth asking as you can then determine how much you can negotiate with them. For example if they say they’ve bought a new car then they are lookingÂ to get rid of it as soon as possible.
Once you are happy with everything, try and haggle! Pick out things that might lower the price such as paint marks, general wear and tear or how much people generally pay for the model you’re looking at. If you need to seek finance for a purchase there are a few companies online that can lend money, but I would recommend going to your bank first (starting with your credit card) as a lot of them can rip you of on interest.
That’sÂ it really. These are the main things to consider when buying a used car, and I’m sure if you follow these steps you will find the perfect car. Good luck!