6 tips for buying a used car

Everyone has a dream car they long to sit behind the wheel of. What they don’t have is a desire to pay through the nose for it.

Visiting a new car showroom is the easiest way to drive up the cost of achieving our motoring dreams but surely there is a better way?

Whether you’re after a cute Citroen in Cardiff, a vibrant Volkswagen in Vauxhall or a feisty Ferrari in London used car dealers have it all. Follow these tips to make sure you don’t get lumbered with a lemon and enjoy driving the car of your dreams, for less!

buying a used cars

  1. Check the bodywork

It can be surprisingly easy to hide damage on a car if you know what you’re doing so give the bodywork a good going over. Check for dents, scratches and marks which could indicate bigger problems and try to avoid viewing the car in the rain – water droplets can distort the car’s appearance and hide damage.

Check the bodywork

  1. Look under the bonnet

You should always pop the bonnet when viewing a used car but just what are you looking for once you’re in there? Checking the oil is always recommended as it allows you to see just how well the car has been maintained. Scanning the engine, radiator, fan and battery to assess the general condition will also help identify any immediate concerns.

Look under the bonnet

  1. Look for leaks

Check the engine to ensure there are no leaks. Oil will leave a brown mark whilst water will leave a white, chalky residue – so keep your eyes peeled and look for signs or recent attempts to clear any leaks up.

Look for leaks

  1. Mind the mileage

If a car’s mileage looks too good to be true then it may well be. Mileages are recorded at the time of MOTs so check official certificates for evidence that it hasn’t been tampered with. You should also look at the condition of foot-wells and seats as excessive wear in these areas suggests frequent use and higher mileage.

Mind the mileage

  1. Check the records

More than just a way to detect clocking, your car’s history also provides vital information about its safety. Check ownership to ensure your purchase is legal and enquire about whether a valid MOT is held. Remember that changes introduced to Road Tax on 01 October 2014 mean this is no longer transferred with a vehicle at the time of purchase so you will need to sort this yourself.

Check the records

  1. Buy from someone your trust

The easiest way to avoid being caught out with a used car is to buy from someone you trust. If you find the idea of private sellers too risky, then try dealerships instead. You’ll get improved security that protects your money and some places may even let you trade your own vehicle in to get the cost of your dream car down even lower.

used car

Follow these tips and you’ll get the car your want for a price you can afford. Good luck and happy driving!