Most people choose a used car over the new model because it’s a cheaper option. You’ll often find a three-year-old Ford Focus, for example, at half the price of the new model. Choosing the second-hand market is a fantastic option for car buyers on a budget. But, how do you know you’re getting a bargain, and not a banger? There’s a fine line when choosing your second-hand motor, and it’s your job to stay on the right side!
Image credit: Laura Cummings
Today, we’re here to help you. In fact, we’ve bought plenty of used cars in our time. So, we’ve gathered a few handy tips over the years. More importantly, we know how to work with sales people to get the best deal. It’s important to remember that salespeople aren’t out to con you. They want the sale just as much as you, so there’s always a deal to be struck! In this post, we’ll show you how.
- Do your research – First of all, you need to walk into the showroom with knowledge and confidence. That all starts with plenty of research and understanding. Take the time to prioritise your motoring needs and narrow down a list of potential cars. You need to walk in with a strong sense of what you’re looking for. Once you’ve narrowed down your list, get a sense of the average price. Learn the various specifications and engine sizes available. You need to know how to spot a bargain.
- Choose the right market – The used car market is a lot wider than it once was. Second-hand cars are no longer limited to dodgy dealers! There are plenty of reputable showrooms out there and you can start your search online. Most major dealers now have websites. You can use these sites to get a sense of what’s on the market. If you’re feeling confident, you can also look at the private market.
- Do a thorough check – Once you’ve found a car for a great price, it’s time to perform a variety of checks. Here, don’t be afraid to take a long, hard look at every part of the car. Be suspicious! Look under the hood and hunt out signs of damage. Look for fluid leaks and the smell of burning. Take a look at the tyres, and note down any uneven tyre wear (this could spell trouble in the alignment). Take it for a test drive and feel how it responds on the road. Listen for any suspicious sounds Finally, make sure the car comes with a full service history detailing any repairs and services.
- Haggle! – Negotiating prices still scares many prospective buyers. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but it’s always worth asking. Start your offer around 10% below the asking price. When it comes to second-hand dealers, there’s almost always some wiggle room. Stand your ground, and ultimately, you’ll meet somewhere in the middle!
Congratulations! If you follow these simple steps, you’ll find a fantastic used car at a bargain price.