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Monday 14 August 2017

Twelve Top Tips for Buying a Used Car

Image: Thanks to Sandown Motors

I think we've got to the point where we will definitely need to get a new family car. We have a seven seater Toyota and it has served us well but frankly our family has out-grown it and now we need something with more leg and boot room I'm not quite sure if we will go for another seven seater or just a much more spacious five seater. Whatever it is, I will ensure it has enough space that I don't have to constantly listen to my three children squabbling as they feel too camped together. Honestly, who'd have kids, I ask you?

As I've been looking for a new used car, I thought I could share some of my wisdom with you and here's twelve top tips for buying a second-hand car -

1.   Why buy new when you can nearly always pick a year old car up for around 25% less than list price (in fact the AA state it can be up to 40%)? And lets face it, it probably won't have done much more than about 10,000 miles in that first year. Of course luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz hold their value better as the cars are such high quality and specification but you only have to take a look on the Sandown Group Used Car site to see there are some bargains to be had.

2.   Buy from a reputable dealership, you might be able to find a car cheaper from Bobs garage down the road or via Auto Trader but how will you know that the car really is what it says it is? By buying from a good dealership you have the peace of mind to know you can head back there if anything is looking amiss.

3.   Try to be savvy with the time of year you buy. Dealerships will have targets to meet, as do all sales environment and it would be pretty safe to assume these will be the end of the quarters finishing in March, June, September and December. Find the car you are interested in then and be prepared to negotiate with your sales person.

4.  Do your homework. Write down your exact requirements for your new car and indicate which factors are non-negotiable. Make sure you have worked out realistically how much you can afford to pay, either outright or via finance/ a loan. Then have a look online and see what is available and at what sort of price. Check out websites like Parkers, What Car? and CarBuyer and you'll be much better prepared when you arrive at the garage to negotiate.

5.  If you do choose to buy from a small independent garage or private seller then ensure you have a checklist to hand when you visit, so that you can check out factors like when the last MOT was, when were the tyres replaced, whether there is a full service history, have they got the V5C, are spare keys available, is the master key being sold with the car and whether the locking wheel nut adaptor is with the car?

6.   Make sure you look at the car you are considering buying in good weather and good light. Rain and dull weather can mask the condition of a car and you want to know exactly what it is you are committing to.

7.   If you are buying from a dealership you should be OK but if not do a Car Data Check to see if there is any outstanding finance left on the car. If there is the financier could potentially recover the car and you'll be left out of pocket.

8.   Make sure you test drive the car when you find one you like. Don't be tempted to just buy it because you consider yourself a novice and how will you know if anything is wrong? Gut instinct goes a long way and you'll be able to see if the car is a comfortable drive for you.

9.   If you need to sell on your old car, chances are you will get more for it if you sell it privately. Why not advertise it on your FaceBook page or in a local group?

10.   If a car deal seems to good to be true then chances are it is. Be wary of crazy good prices and also of a seller giving you a sob story or pressuring you into buying. This is a big purchase and you'll be spending a lot of money so make sure you feel really comfortable with the purchase and if you don't, they don't go ahead - there will always be another car!

11.   Try and pay at least something towards the cost of the car on your credit card. If the car costs between £100 and £30,000 and something goes wrong, you'll be covered under Section 75, which means you can make a claim for the whole cost.

12.   Did you know that car tax cannot transfer between owners? So if you see a car being advertised as 11 months tax left, it doesn't matter as you can't use it. Also, you must have insurance in place at the point of becoming the owner of the vehicle, even if you are not yet driving it.

I hope you've found this useful, please do leave any other tips that you have below and I'll add them in!

Thanks, Mich x


  1. Some handy tips here! We'll need a new car in about 5 years I think. Good luck on your car hunt! We have a VW Golf estate and the boot is huge ang leg room generous!

  2. These are all great tips- we are actually in the market for a new car as my 2008 Volvo SUV seems to be on its last leg (I have to drive a lot for work, so there's a ton of mileage). Will keep your tips in mind.

  3. This is so helpful! We've only ever bought second hand but from a dealership we trust. We're on our 3rd car from them so they're definitely trustworthy!

    1. Ahh good to hear, yes I'm a dealership girl too!

  4. Some fab tips we have always bought used and doing your homework is a must!

    1. Yes, much better to spend some time before spending out all that money


Thanks for your comment, I will respond real soon. Mich x