It doesn’t matter whether someone buys a used car that is only four years old or got manufactured several decades ago. The sad truth about used car buying in the UK is that many motorists fail to do their due diligence.
As a result, they end up with cars that are more like restoration projects instead of daily drivers. And what’s also shocking is that some buyers could potentially be buying a stolen car on false number plates and documentation!
Are you unsure whether you’ve made any mistakes when buying a used car? Or perhaps you’re on the hunt for a replacement car but don’t want to waste your money? Take a look at the following things you need to remember doing when buying a pre-owned vehicle:
1. Conduct a vehicle history check
Often referred to as an HPI check, you need to conduct a full history check on the car that you want to buy. Doing so will flag up any issues like mismatched VIN information and tell you if the car was reported stolen.
Vehicle history checks also tell you if there is any outstanding finance, or whether an insurance company has written off the car in the past. It only costs a few pounds and you can even get the check done via a smartphone app when you’re viewing a vehicle.
2. Get a comprehensive mechanical inspection
A disadvantage of buying a used car is you don’t know whether you’re being sold a lemon or a vehicle that has been meticulously maintained. Some car-savvy buyers might do a quick check for things like rust or evidence of body repair in the past.
But, what they won’t do is carry out a thorough mechanical inspection before they hand over any money. The good news is you can click here for vehicle inspection options and have a professional look over the car you’re thinking of buying.
3. Go with your gut feeling
Some people call it intuition, others call it a gut feeling. Whatever you label it, you should listen to your inner voice and not get carried away in the moment. Sometimes you might have a feeling that something isn’t quite right about a sale.
In those situations, it’s best to thank the seller for their time and walk away. It can often prove a costly mistake when buyers ignore their inner voice and spend thousands on a car that is only fit for the scrapyard.
4. Spend less on your car finance
Most car buyers want a relatively modern vehicle that is reliable, comfortable, and meets their vehicular requirements. If you can’t afford to buy a car with cash, you’ll likely borrow the money from somewhere and finance your purchase.
If you decide to do that, make sure you spend some time researching the best finance options for your needs. For example, don’t just take out a loan from your bank because you’ve been pre-approved. You might find lower interest loans elsewhere that you can get.
5. Buy a car with full service history
Whether you’re spending £200 or £20,000 on a used car, one thing you must always do is buy a vehicle with a comprehensive service history. Doing so will give you an insight into how the car was maintained in the past.
What’s more, you’ll know whether you need to factor in immediate maintenance costs like having the timing belt, water pump and tensioners replaced.
A sad fact of the car-selling world is you can never trust what a seller tells you, especially when talking about service history. That’s because they can tell you they’ve had work done to it when in reality they’ve never spent a penny on maintenance.
If you have paper evidence of a car’s service history, you can rely on that information rather than the word of the seller.
6. Check sills and inner wings for rust
When you view a car for sale, you might give the exterior a cursory glance for body damage and rust. But, do you ever conduct a more comprehensive check of the bodywork? If not, one thing you must always do is check the sills and inner wings for rust damage.
The problem with rust is that once it appears in an area, it can spread to surrounding metal. If a car has rusty sills, it could end up being an MOT failure. And rusty wings could also mean rust on the chassis underneath if it’s spread far enough.