Our Top Tips for Buying a Used Car

Have you recently passed your driving test? Or are you simply on the lookout for a new motor? If so, it is likely you are considering purchasing a second hand car, rather than a new vehicle.

Buying a second hand car has a myriad of benefits. From the more affordable price to the incredible condition, you can easily find your dream car, with low mileage, at a price you love. What's more, purchasing a second hand car rather than a new vehicle will also save you more money long term, because the value won't depreciate as quickly as a new car. This extra money could go towards customisation like a personal number plate or getting the body of your car spray painted.

However, if it is your first time purchasing a used car, there are certainly some things you will need to bear in mind when shopping around. For instance, are you getting a good deal? Is the paperwork correct? When was the last MOT? Is the car difficult to drive? What's more, with the second hand car market being oversaturated with both car dealerships and private sellers, it can feel like finding your ideal motor is akin to a needle in a haystack situation.

With this in mind, as a leading mechanic and auto-garage, we have collated together our top tips for finding your used car, helping you save time in the process and finely-tuning your gaze towards selecting the best motor to suit your needs.

Solidify a budget

Any savvy shopper knows that searching without a budget is never a good idea if you are looking to save money. Though it may be tempting to spend thousands and thousands on a motor - after all, this is a sensible decision as you are likely to use the car daily - it can mean that you are overlooking plenty of equally good but cheaper deals.

Being realistic and setting a budget for yourself means that you are more likely to save money and also find a great car. It can be tempting to be stringent with this, but cars are investment pieces - so it is highly unlikely that you will find a working car for £50. What's more, the budget will also reflect the style and brand of car that you choose - certainly something you need to take into consideration.

Remember, don't just set a budget for the car alone, also consider other added costs like services, insurance and tax. For instance, you may have found your dream mini cooper, but these have a greater engine size than hatchbacks, meaning that insurance is likely to be more expensive.

Another money matter to consider is that insurance costs will vary greatly depending upon your age, the location you live in, how many other cars you own and also whether you have the facilities to secure your car at night. This may mean that the car could be cheap to begin with, but actually it will incur greater costs if you can only park your car on a street, if you live in an urban jungle and you are of a younger age. Luckily, if you have your eye on a certain style of car for sale, there are many car insurance comparison websites out there allowing you to find the best deal and also get an accurate estimation about how much your car will roughly cost.

Don't be afraid to haggle

If you have found your dream car but you are still intent on saving some extra pennies, don't be afraid to haggle. This could be especially worth it if you have noticed some scratches or dents on the bodywork that will cost extra to repair. What's the worst that could happen? Go in with a confident but polite and friendly approach, and you may be able to whisk yourself away in a new motor in no time.

Choose a style of car

As mentioned above, the style of car that you choose will greatly influence costs. Especially as you can't get unbranded cars, the brand and style of the car you choose will greatly change how much the car is being sold for.

Generally speaking, the newer the model and the higher the reputation of the brand will affect how expensive the car is. For instance, a Range Rover Evoque will be far more expensive than a Ford KA, however, these two cars have different strengths. Range Rovers are suited to bumpy and cumbersome country roads, whereas smaller hatchbacks like Ford KA's are better suited to quickly nip around cities. What's more, the size of the car will also affect price. For instance, large families will benefit from 4 x 4's and seven seaters, whereas if you are a small family or a couple, a hatchback will be better suited.

If you have a need for speed, you will also need to take this into consideration when purchasing your vehicle. For instance, you will want a vehicle with a more powerful engine and you may lean towards brands that are known for creating luxury vehicles. As mentioned above, a car with a larger engine will significantly increase insurance costs.

Visit both private sellers and car dealerships

It's always recommended for any purchase to suss out the market and review a variety of options. This is why you should visit a range of private sellers and second hand dealerships before you make your final decision. If you are looking for a great deal, a private seller may be your better option as there is a chance they won't have as much knowledge of the second hand car market, whereas a dealership could charge more for their expertise.

Dealerships are more likely to have have the up to date records of the car, like MOT certificates, past owners and any recent car services that have been performed. This is why, if you favour the quality of the car over the price, a dealership could be a better option.

Test drive the car

Another top tip is test driving the car. This is especially recommended for learners and inexperienced drivers as they won't be used to a range of different vehicles. If you aren't used to the type of car you are looking to buy, then this could be potentially dangerous.

All cars drive differently - some have high clutch points, others will be automatic, and others will have stop start technology. It's important to affiliate yourself with these before purchasing, as it is less likely to cause an accident when you first get out on the road. Simply giving it a quick spin around the block or practising a parallel park in a quiet road with the seller is a great way to determine if this is the car for you.

Double and triple check the paperwork

Even though driving has paved the way for many societal and technological innovations, it is a business and practise that is strictly regulated. From drink driving bans to MOTs, car accidents are a frequent occurrence on UK roads, despite many of us driving safely.

This is why there are many legal requirements in place for cars and drivers. From the practical driving test to the MOT, your car needs to be in good shape to be on the road. GOV.UK has released a handy guide to helping you double check the paperwork that your car needs. For example, the vehicle must be registered with the DVLA, have up to date vehicle tax, have a current MOT certificate and also be roadworthy.

Make sure to ask the car dealer or seller to see the paperwork when you view the car, or over email. You should also comprise together a range of questions about the car's accident history, how many services it has, any foreseeable faults and also how polluting it is. After all, you don't want to purchase a car that has been in a serious accident, as this could impair your safety.

Check for any bumps, scrapes and dents

Though this isn't something that will seriously impact your future car's safety, checking for any aesthetic damages could, as mentioned above, help you haggle down the price.

What's more, it can help you give some idea over what is most important to you when purchasing a used car. It is likely that any used car will have some sort of body damage, so you can ascertain whether a small bump or a large scrape will impact your decision. You may want your car to feel as brand new as possible, or perhaps you are just desperate for a sky blue Fiat 500 no matter the number of scrapes - either way, clarification over what is most important to you will help inform your decision.

Motor Class, Premium Vehicles from Leading Car Dealers in Lancashire

Are you googling 'car for sale in Lancashire'? Then you have come to the right place. Here at Motor Class, we source some of the finest second hand cars from some of the best brands in the business, including Audi, BMW, Land Rover, Mini and more.

We understand that everyone wants to ride in style and feel like James Bond, but this isn't available on everyone's budgets; that is why we not only source these stunning cars but we also repair them to their original high quality. Here at Motor Class, our cars are of an unmatched calibre and a cut above the rest within the second hand car market.

We also offer fantastic finance packages to all of our customers, so you can get your dream vehicle quickly and easily, without having to pay a large sum up front. To find out more, or to book a test drive in one of our stunning vehicles, simply contact us today.