Navigating the second-hand car market can be a stressful headache. If we consider what we want to get and plan accordingly, we can significantly reduce the difficulty of finding our perfect vehicle. Here are five things to consider when buying a second-hand car.
What do You Need?
Knowing what you are after is the first way to reduce the field of options. If we simply check a car sales website, we will be faced with thousands of options. If we are looking for a large vehicle for a big family of more than five, we can instantly cut out many available cars and only view the ones relevant to our search. How much we can afford to spend is another consideration? Another factor in our decision might simply be the type and style we are after; what we drive can say much about our personality.
MOT & Service History
It’s not just how the car’s condition appears today; the history of the vehicle can say much about whether it’s a good deal or not? You can quickly check the MOT history of a car online via the DVLA website. Unfortunately, there is no equivalent register of vehicle servicing since this is not a legal requirement. You should ask the seller to show you service records, and if they cannot provide them, it will mean you will have a decision to make; you can proceed, but it would be wise to make a lower offer in these circumstances.
Mileage & Age
An age-old debate in the auto industry is whether low age or low mileage is the most desirable factor in a second-hand car? In our situation, it is what is worth more to us as a buyer. You can play around with these stats to find out how much your car is worth either way? I would always cite lower age over low mileage, as you never know what type of mileage the vehicle has done or how it’s been treated. But an assumption that is often true is low mileage on an older car usually means more in-town miles, and they are more wearing on gears and brakes.
Private or Dealer?
Should we buy from a private seller or a garage? There is no right answer to this question. You will always find lower prices on the private market, but then you are dealing with sellers who may not be as accountable. With a garage, you can always leave a bad review or know where to find them, and you will often be offered certain guarantees and warranties.
The physical condition of a car can be a telling sign of how it’s been treated in general. A bumped and scratched vehicle gives the impression of a careless previous owner. Although a well-presented vehicle is not always a sign of the opposite, there is a greater chance of getting a car that has been mechanically looked after as well.