How to Buy a Used Car

Your guide to buying a used car

Buying a used car requires careful consideration and research, not only to ensure you’re choosing the right model for your needs, but to ensure you’re buying from a reputable source. Here at Blackpole Trade n Save in Worcester, we’ve got some key tips to help you make a smart decision.

How to buy a used car

First things first: buying your used car from a reputable source has many advantages over buying privately. For instance, a dealership has often already carried out mechanical and background checks before putting their vehicles on sale, so you don’t need to worry about faults or outstanding finance. Many also provide a warranty with the car, so that should any issue arise, you’re covered.

When buying a second hand car from anywhere, however, there are certain things you should check:

  • Mileage: Vehicles normally cover 8,000-12,000 miles a year, so if the figure on the odometer seems unusually high or low, check it against the service history.
  • Condition: Have a look over the car’s bodywork and interior to check for scratches or dents on the outside or tears in upholstery. You can also check tyre tread depth and inflation.
  • Service history: Take a look at the service history and ensure the car is up to date with its MOT.
  • Test drive: Go for a test drive to see if you like the ride, and to ascertain if there are any odd noises or issues that shouldn’t be there.

When buying privately, always check the VIN number – normally found stamped onto the chassis or at the bottom of the windscreen – matches that in the V5C document. This will confirm the seller hasn’t obtained the vehicle illegally.

How to choose the right car

Now you know what to look for when buying a used car, what sort of car should you go for? Before getting carried away by sporty styling, advanced technology or powerful performance, you should ask yourself what it is you need from the vehicle. Here’s how to narrow down your search:

  • Practicality: Think about where you live and what you need in terms of space and versatility. Do you require enough room for the family and a generous boot? Are you living in an urban area where a compact car will prove more useful for parking and manoeuvring? Does your work or family life regularly take you off-road?
  • Driveability: Where do your drives most often take you? A peppy little petrol engine and light handling may be best if you’re primarily going around town, but if you do longer distances you may be better off with a stronger diesel option that can reduce your fuel consumption over more miles. You’ll also want something that filters out wind and road noise effectively if you drive on the motorway a lot.
  • Running costs: The cost of owning a car amounts to more than simply its ticket price. You may be able to afford the monthly payments, but can you cover insurance, tax, MOT tests, servicing and fuel too? Remember that hybrid and electric options, while often more expensive in themselves, offer great long-term value.

Once these key requirements are taken care of, you can begin to look for models. Take time to do your research and compare various makes and models, identifying what they offer for the money and whether they fully meet your demands. And don’t be surprised if you have to make a compromise or two on the more luxurious features.

Here at Blackpole Trade n Save, we have a wide variety of used cars available at competitive prices. Contact us today to find out more or book a test drive.

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