Buying a new car is relatively easy, once you’ve figured out your budget and your brand preference the rest just falls into place. Buying a used car, on the other hand, is a far more complex purchase. With global lockdowns and their subsequent layoffs and furlough, buying a used car is a reality that a lot of people have to face these days. Although there are several extra things that you have to be aware of, buying a used car doesn’t have to be an impossible task – it just requires more research, more effort, and more careful consideration beforehand. Here are 8 important things that you need to be aware of about buying a used car.
- Research The Make and Model
Ask anyone and everyone you know and they will likely all give you a ton of different answers when you ask them what the best make and model of car is. Every car brand has its own set of pros and cons associated with that brand, all you need to do is make a list of your unique requirements and then use that as a good starting point. Some brands are focused on safety, others on fuel economy and cheaper maintenance costs, whilst some are only concerned about their looks. Cars are a lot like people in that they each have unique personalities so you need to figure out which car personality suits your personality.
- Work Out Your Finances
Buying a used car is significantly easier when you have a decent budget to work with. The general rule of thumb is that the less you spend on the car initially, the more you will pay in the long run. If the car you are interested in seems too cheap then chances are it either has a lot of problems that will require a lot of money to fix a lot sooner than you may think, or it’s a scam. Many trustworthy used car retailers will give you a great deal on a used car and it doesn’t have to be a small car either – you can check out a great Kia Sportage review and add this great vehicle to your list of potential cars to consider. The ideal used car rule is 20/4/10; 20% down payment, a car no more than 4 years old, and your monthly repayment should not exceed 10% of your annual gross income.
- Maintenance Costs
Buying a premium brand used car can seem like you’re getting a great deal, and sometimes that will work out for you. The biggest downfall to buying a used luxury vehicle is the exorbitant cost of maintaining that vehicle. That being said, luxury brands often give you a lot of mileage before they start to fall apart, which means that if you can replace your used vehicle every few years then you can skip these steep costs. You will need to do maintenance on your chosen used vehicle if you want to be able to sell it for a decent amount of money when you’re done with it.
As you know, it is illegal to drive a car in the U.K without at least having 3rd party insurance, which means that even if the vehicle is insured you will still get penalised if you get caught and you don’t have more comprehensive cover. “E” model cars have the lowest rating when it comes to insuring them so make sure you check the rating for the used car you are interested in.
- Know The Car’s History
Buying a used car means you need extra info on that particular car, the reason for this is because the condition of the car will largely depend on the previous owner and how well they maintained it. Try and find out as much info as you can on a car before you decide to buy it – a car with lower mileage is a great starting point. The reason to look for a car with lower mileage is that you can safely assume that it will have more life in it before things start to break down.
- Check The Service History
Ideally, you need to find a car with a full service history, which means that the car has been well looked after since it was bought. Cars need to be serviced regularly and have major services every other year, if they don’t then things tend to go spectacularly wrong. Ask about the service history of the car you are interested in, if it doesn’t have a documented history then you should be reluctant to buy it. That doesn’t mean the car will have issues but it means that you won’t know if it does or not until it’s too late.
- Test Drive It First
Never, ever buy a used car without taking it for a test drive first. It’s pretty easy to polish a turd when it comes to used cars so you shouldn’t be swayed by a clean and shiny exterior or a plush interior. You need to test the car in various situations and see how it responds and how it handles on the open road. Be sure to listen out for any unusual knocking sounds or anything that seems out of place. Check and make sure that all the levers work and control the things they’re meant to. You also need to check the car for rust spots, scratches, and dents.
- Mechanical Check
Have a trusted mechanic go with you to inspect your chosen used car. They will be able to give you a better idea of what overall condition the vehicle is in. Test drive the car with the windows open and closed, both will help you and your mechanic identify problems. While the windows are open, listen for any overly repetitive whirring sounds or anything else that sounds out of the ordinary. With the windows closed, you will be able to hear any out-of-place noises coming from the engine bay. This will give you a better idea of whether or not the vehicle is mechanically sound.