The Ultimate Guide To Buying A Used Car

If you’re looking to buy a used car, it’s important to make sure you are fully informed about the condition of the vehicle.

When Is The Right Time To Buy A Used Car?

If you’re looking at a car with a private seller rather than with a dealer there will always be less scope for a good deal. A private seller, after all, is only looking to sell his car and not to meet sales targets as dealers do. With a dealer, it may be easier to drive a hard bargain, especially in some particular parts of the year.

Car dealers have sales targets to meet, usually, these targets are based on a quarterly time frame. Dealers will often make an extra push for sales at the end of each quarter to hit the target or even break it. That means you can normally get the best deals towards the end of each quarter in March, June, September, and December. Make sure not to leave it too late, though, as dealers may have already hit their targets by then and will be less inclined to do a deal.

Also, use to your advantage times that are traditionally slow in terms of sales. Generally, dealers are more inclined to negotiate during summer holidays or around Christmas. During those times there will be less potential buyers around.

Also, bear in mind that there is an ideal time to buy certain cars. Whilst it is an appealing idea to jump on the bandwagon common knowledge is that autumn or winter is normally the time to get the best deal on a convertible. At this time sellers will find it much hard to sell these cars than in summer.

Discussing Other Benefits

If you’re buying from a dealer it’s worth pushing the salesman a bit further than the deals offered. For example, ask for any warranty and financing options available. It may just be that you could walk away with a much better deal than you thought! Just remember, dealers have sales targets to meet, and options will be available to them to help them sell more cars.

Walking Away

If you’re not happy with the deal offered, it might be good to retreat and simply walk away. If the deal just isn’t right it’s worth just leaving it and looking for another car. Just remember, if you can’t find another car you like, you can always return to the initial car. A seller may have changed their mind by then.

Of course, if the seller just fails to address any concerns raised about the condition of the car then chances are the seller wants to hide something on his car. In those cases, it’s good to just walk away, keep in mind that there are always other cars around.

Our 4 top tips to keep in mind before buying a used car:

  1. Keep your options open

    The first step is to research the resale prices for the car model you have in mind. Make sure you shop around and find a couple of cars of the same model for sale and arrange to view them. That way you can compare the condition of each of the cars and get a feel on whether they are worth the money. It’s a good idea to check a few cars, instead of going for the first car you see.

  2. Checking vehicle details

    The DVLA has a free online vehicle information checker. You’ll need the registration number of the vehicle to access this. The information provided should match the seller’s information. The checker will also provide past results of MOTs done in England, Scotland or Wales since 2005 where applicable.

  3. Take it for a test drive 

    Driving the car can help highlight problems that you would simply just not notice when the car is stationary. Strange noises like squeaks or clunks can indicate that there is something wrong with the car which usually warrants further inspection. Check our guide on test driving a used car for more tips on how to make the most of a test drive.

  4. Get a pre-purchase inspection

    Before you commit to buying the car, it is recommended that you have a pre-purchase inspection carried out by a professional. After all, it is a significant investment and you’d want to ensure you’re aware of any potential issues the vehicle might have. The technician will conduct a thorough, unbiased review of the vehicle’s condition and will help you understand if you’re getting good value for money.

ClickMechanic can help with a Pre-Purchase Inspection, with three different levels of inspection to suit your needs. A pre-purchase inspection report will be sent to you which thoroughly outlines the condition of the car so you can be confident you’re making the right purchase.

Once you’ve bought the car, what’s the best way to minimise the effects of depreciation?

Did you know that new cars can lose around 20% of their value in the first year after it was bought, and will lose around 50% of their initial value in the first three years of ownership? In fact, cars lose value the moment they’re driven off the dealer forecourt.

While there’s not much you can do to fully prevent depreciation as a car owner, however, there are a few ways you can maximise the resale value of your vehicle.

5 ways to minimise the effects of car depreciation

  1. Pay Attention to the Mileage

    One way to limit depreciation is to keep the mileage under the average miles per annum. The more miles you have on your odometer, the more likely it will be that it will depreciate in value.

  2. Clean Up

    Make it a part of your routine to keep your car clean which will prevent building up of grime and unpleasant odours inside the car. Keeping your car clean and tidy and in great condition will help limit depreciation.

  3. Avoid Non-Standard Modifications

    As exciting as an aftermarket body kit or a new set of aftermarket alloy wheels may sound, it can tend to narrow down the pool of potential buyers for your car in the future, making it harder to sell and most likely driving down its value.

  4. Maintain Your Car

    A full-service history gives potential buyers peace of mind. Remember to keep all your car documents including service records and receipts. The recommendation is that drivers should service their car every 12 months or every 12,000 miles. However, you should check your owner’s handbook for the vehicle and follow the advice it gives on servicing. At ClickMechanic, we provide three levels of servicing – an interim, full or major service.

  5. Research Before Selling

    If you’re looking to get the best price for your car, consider doing a bit of research to see what’s the best time to sell your car. For example, convertibles tend to be in higher demand during the summer months.

Book Your Pre-Purchase Inspection Now