Thinking about buying a used car? This can be a much cheaper option than buying new, but may be a much more time consuming process. There are so many different factors to consider, from the mileage to type of fuel the vehicle runs on. To help you get started, we’ve explored five questions to ask yourself when purchasing a secondhand vehicle below!
1. What are Your Requirements?
Perhaps the first thing you should consider when buying any type of vehicle is your requirements. What do you need the car for? Are you driving a lot for work, do you need a lot of boot space, or are you looking to tow a trailer or caravan? Is the number of seats important, or perhaps the running costs are your biggest concern.
No matter what your top priorities are, it’s a good idea to make a list of what you’re hoping to get in your next set of wheels, so that you can ensure all your main requirements are met.
2. Which Option is Cheaper?
The cost of a vehicle isn’t just about the initial outlay. You also need to consider things like fuel costs, as well as the amount you’d be paying in road tax. The easiest way to do this is to use an online tool, such as the one on the government website.
Car insurance, the price of MOTs and servicing, as well as general maintenance costs are also something to bear in mind when budgeting for a vehicle. Breakdown cover might be something you want to consider. Second-hand vehicles don’t tend to be quite as reliable as new models, so it can be handy to get this sort of cover!
Another thing to think about is how the size of the engine impacts the running costs of a vehicle. Smaller, less powerful vehicles, while may not seem as appealing as a beast with phenomenal horsepower, will be more fuel efficient. Of course if you drive a lot for work or pleasure, a tiny engine may not suit your needs, but for most people, a relatively small engine should work fine.
3. Should You Use a Dealership?
People often believe that buying from a dealership will cost you far more, but this isn’t always the case. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t buy privately – it’s best to shop around until you find the right vehicle, with a great price to match. And if you do find a good deal, check to see if any other dealer is willing to beat it!
It’s also worth bearing in mind that dealers will typically expect you to haggle. So don’t just agree to pay the asking price – make sure you negotiate a little. Not everyone is comfortable with haggling, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re prepared. The most important thing is to do your research beforehand, so that you know roughly how much the vehicle is worth. Another good trick is to look for any flaws on the vehicle, such as dents or scratches, so you can cite them when asking for a price reduction.
4. What Condition is the Vehicle In?
Before committing to buy a second-hand vehicle, ensure that you carefully consider what sort of condition it’s in. Have there been any obvious repairs, what state is the engine in, and how worn are the tyres? These things can be expensive to repair or replace, so try to get a feel for the overall condition of the car. And if you don’t know too much about cars, try to bring someone along who does!
Another thing you should do when inspecting the car is to take it for a test drive. That way you’ll know how it handles, how loud the engine is, and whether the suspension is up to scratch. People often know whether it’s the right vehicle for them the moment they get behind the wheel.
5. What Type of Fuel Should You Opt For?
Not sure what type of fuel to go for? There are pros and cons to each type of vehicle. Petrol cars are usually cheaper to buy, but can be more expensive to run, while diesel vehicles come with a higher initial cost, but have better fuel economy.
Hybrids are generally cheaper to run, both in terms of fuel prices and other outlays like road tax, but like diesel cars, are expensive to buy. The same goes for electric vehicles, though these do come with the additional advantage of being emission free. There are a number of benefits to petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric vehicles, it’s simply a matter of which one suits you best!
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