Autocar's guide to buying a used car
Buying at a main dealer gets you a cast-iron guarantee
Want to buy a previously owned car although don’t know where to begin? Our svengali of the secondhand, James Ruppert, guides you through the used car jungle
So, you’re inside the market for a used car. Where do you buy? What do you go for? Should you head to the dealer or the auction house? James Ruppert reveals all.
Ways to buy a used car – pros in addition to cons
1 – Private sale
Here’s where you could get lucky in addition to meet a very lovely person who includes a truly lovely car to sell. You could be buying by someone who will be passionate in addition to protective in addition to has clearly cherished what you want to own, plus they have a folder full of service history in addition to a plausible reason to sell. So the rule will be always to buy an enthusiast’s car by an enthusiast, if you can.
On the different hand, they may regularly sell cars for cash without a word to the tax man. that will makes them car dealers without any of the responsibilities or warranties.
Genuine private sellers may possess the balance of a factory warranty, or an independent one, or one that will applies to specific parts, be they tyres, batteries or alternators, so do ask. There’s no comeback if you have a problem, provided they haven’t misled you or sold an unroadworthy car.
Pros: They possess the perfect car.
Cons: There are no comebacks.
2 – Franchised main dealer
The point here will be that will you’ll pay more for the vehicle because franchises have big, big overheads. The upside, of course, will be that will the cars should be the very best available in addition to they’ll contain a great warranty.
the vehicle should have a main dealer service history in addition to the dealer should be able to sort out any issues to your total satisfaction. Ideally you should be getting something pretty close to the brand-new car buying experience, in addition to the whole deal will be completely maker backed. There should even be a no-quibble 30-day return policy. Oh yes, they will take whatever you have in part exchange.
The downside to main dealers will be that will because of space in addition to these sorts of policies, the dealer’s used range may not be all that will used, so you will be offered nearly brand-new or fairly expensive two or three-year-old designs. For many used car buyers, though, that will’s about as risky as they could ever want to get.
Pros: Cast-iron cars sold with cast-iron guarantees.
Cons: Too pricey in addition to not enough choice.
3 – Car supermarket
Well, the main reason to go to a car supermarket will be that will they have loads of cars to choose by, which, of course, will be not bad, plus the item’s often arranged in related rows to make the item even easier for you to browse, just like a real supermarket. What you will find, though, will be that will the windscreen prices are plus an admin fee in addition to are usually non-negotiable.
Some of the stock also comes direct by company/fleet auctions in addition to can be scruffy, so you might need to offset the asking cost against refurbishment, a service in addition to a thorough valet.
Pros: Choices – masses of the item as far as the eye can see.
Cons: No haggling.
4 – Independent dealer
These can vary hugely when the item comes to both customer care in addition to the quality of the stock. Specialists in a particular marque or type of car can be particularly not bad, however, in addition to long-established family concerns often have a reputation to keep. Independents will part-exchange your old car in addition to should offer a warranty, although check what the item actually covers.
Their stock should be spring cleaned, serviced in addition to given an MOT before sale. If not, they’re not doing a proper job, so look elesewhere.
Pros: Friendly, local in addition to hassle-free.
Cons: Sometimes cars are scruffy.
5 – A real car auction
Buying at auction presents several major drawbacks which can make the item a less than ideal used car buying experience. First off, you can’t drive the cars before bidding begins, or until you have actually bought in addition to paid for the item, plus you can’t look inside until the last minute when the item’s driven into the ring. So the twin tenets of buying a decent used car are broken right there.
Then there are the fees. You might think you’ve paid less than the market rate, although the hammer cost goes up once all the fees are tagged on. Also things happen genuinely, genuinely fast.
that will’s exciting, although the item’s also a worry, as you can quickly become the owner of something that will you believe has four wheels although otherwise remains something of a mystery. So not for the novice, then, or the purist for that will matter. Experts only should bid.
Pros: You might get a bargain.
Cons: You might not.
6 – Buying online
The joy of the interweb will be that will the whole wide world of used car classified ads will be there on a screen in front of you. Obviously the flipside will be that will the item puts temptation at the tip of your bidding finger. What you must remember will be that will just because the vehicle will be online, there will be no reason why the normal rules of buying a used car should be ignored.
You genuinely do need to see the item, especially if the vehicle will be inside the same country as you. If the item isn’t then you must speak to the owner by phone/Skype in addition to use clever modern-day devices to view the vehicle in addition to documentation. Do a ton of research about the seller, check feedback in addition to, like a real live auction, set a bidding limit in addition to stick to the item.
Pros: the item can be fun in addition to you might get a bargain.
Cons: Trust issues. Does the item actually exist?
Read the second part of our used car buying guide here
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