The Essential Guide to Buying a Used Car – Part 2

Last week we looked at budgeting, payment options, and what to do with your current car. In our essential guide to buying a used car this week we look at how to choose the right type of car, and the pros and cons of the various places that you can buy them.

What Type Of Car Do You Need?

Here are some questions you should ask yourself when deciding on the type of used car you want to start looking for.

  • What is your budget – this will determine everything from the brand to year to mileage
  • Do you need a large car or small – this largely comes down to what you want to use the car for
  • What type of car do you want – car, estate, people carrier, MPV, SUV etc
  • Do you want petrol or diesel – in general diesel cars are more expensive to buy but they can cost less to run if you drive a lot of miles
  • What size of engine do you need – if you mostly drive short distances a car with a small engine will suit, although they are not as good if you drive long distances, particularly on motorways and dual carriageways with high speed limits
  • What size of boot do you need – if you need to carry things like a pram or sporting equipment you have to make sure you get a boot that is big enough
  • What car brands do you like – it is important to get something you will be comfortable with
  • What style of car do you want – for example, do you want something sporty, rugged, luxurious, environmentally friendly, family orientated, or quirky

Cheap Cars

Do you want to find the cheapest car possible? Mileage, year and brand all impact on price, but most cheap cars also have these three characteristics:

  1. Small engines
  2. Petrol rather than diesel
  3. Manual rather than automatic

Where Should You Look?

You will have to find a selection of used cars for sale once you decide on the type you want and have a few brands or models in mind. Here are the most common places to look:

  • Dealer websites – this includes used car dealers, new car dealers, and franchise dealers (the latter usually sells manufacturer approved used cars)
  • Carzone, Autotrader and other car classified websites – here you will find listings from dealers and private sellers
  • eBay – some people claim to get good deals on used cars from eBay, although there is hardly any protection for buyers so it is quite risky
  • Auctions – usually prices are low at auctions, but cars are usually bought as seen. This option is only recommended for people who know cars and have auction room experience
  • Listings in newspapers – here you will find mostly dealer listings, but some private sellers still advertise their cars in newspapers

Benefits Of Buying From A Dealer

You will get the highest level of protection when you buy a used car from a dealership with an official franchise. In addition, all used cars sold at a franchised dealer go through rigorous checks. In most cases the dealer also knows the car and has serviced it from new. With a franchise dealer you are likely to get the longest warranty, plus you have the added protection of reputation – dealers protect their reputation vigorously by offering very high levels of customer service.

Cars depreciate faster in their first year on the road than at any other time, so used is an excellent option. So long as you make the right choices about the type of car and where to buy it from you can make a considerable saving when buying used instead of new.

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