Top 10 Tips for Buying a Used Car
When it comes to buying a second-hand car, there can be some huge savings on offer. Then again, there can be pitfalls and a bumpy road ahead. Leave the bangers and clangers to the next man. We’re strictly about business at Pass Me Faster.
Right then, ladies and gentleman, listen up and we’ll give you the good old knowledge.
1. Save a Fortune on a Year-Old Motor
It might sound hard to believe, but a brand-new car depreciates most in the first year. With an average list price in the UK of almost £30,000 you’re also looking at nigh-on 30% depreciation. Wowzers!
We’re not good at maths, unless saving money is involved. By our nogging, that’s nine-bags of sand or 9 grand to those who aren’t fluent in street lingo.
Best thing is, a one-year-old car will still look brand firing new. You can’t lose by going down this route. That money you save is less coin in the nasty garage bosses pension plan. Flip the script on them with our golden nuggets of wisdom.
2. Luxury Brands Hold their Value the Best
Even when buying on the used market, luxury brands are still more appealing. That’s why your second-hand iPhone that’s got a million text miles on the clock costs more than a newbie Motorola.
Personally I like Motorola, they were way cool back in the day of the Razr flip phone. Now, though, they’re more like Motor-Gola. Naughty as ‘cos as you know, only bullied kids wear Gola. Not condoning bullying, but just saying.
We can’t all be rich kids, my first ever trainers were Gola in fact. That was when the 1st Division footballers used to wear them for England. Long, long time ago. Showing my age here!
3. How Much to Pay?
The good news is you don’t have to guess how much a car is worth. You can quite quickly and easily look at a Parker’s or What Car valuation guide. They are the experts and check the price of thousands of new and used cars across the whole of the United Kingdom so you don’t have to.
You can look online for free or nip into your local newspaper shop and buy a guide for a couple of quid. Missing out on that McDonald’s late could save you literally thousands. If you confront a used-car salesman with the price guide in your hand he can’t exactly talk wet to you without sounding like a fish out of water himself, can he?
The world revolves around knowledge and people rely on the ignorance of others. Well we aren’t the ‘others’ we’re Pass Me Faster and what we say goes. Don’t belive us? Just come back when you’ve put our tips into practice and comment below with your savings made.
4. What is the Cheapest Car to Run?
There are a few main points to consider when buying a car – new or used. They are:
- Petrol cars are usually cheaper to buy than diesel like for like.
- Diesel cars are better at long-distance commutes. You need to stretch diesel cars out on the motorway to get the best out of their longer gearing. In town they aren’t as great as you’d expect.
- Petrol cars, especially smaller engined ones are great for around town. Short journeys to the shops, etc.
- Automatic cars tend to be dearer – and more complex to repair – than manual cars. You can’t tow certain types of automatic cars so a breakdown will need to be towed away by a transporter. (Best practice is to join an automobile organisation such as the AA or RAC)
- Hybrid and electric cars are cheap to run and expensive to buy. Don’t even look at one that is too old because batteries only have certain life span. Once the cells die they are done for. A huge battery in an electric car will cost literally thousands to replace. Not nice.
- Check the C02 emissions and insurance group of the car. It’s no good buying a cheap car then spending twice as much to insure it. You need to make these checks in advance, because they are part and parcel of buying a car. Check the Vehicle Excise Duty rates here. Click here to check how to calculate your own car’s tax rate.
- Smaller cars and vans are cheaper to insure. If you’re after saving the most money possible, go for a car that ranks highly in one of the price guides. There’s too many to list here.
- Lastly, it’s always important to do your research into a vehicle before buying. Research the individual car history by getting a HPI check. HPI are the original and probably the best, even if you pay a slight premium compared to the much newer car checking services out there.
- You can also get an indipendant assesor to check a vehicle over. We’d only recommend this if you are really usnure yourself and the car you are buying is worth spending this extra money on. Is it a specialised vehicle, for example? Maybe a classic car? It goes without saying that these types of car need special attention.
5. Perfect Time to Buy a Car?
How much money you can potentially save will depend on what time of year you are buying. If you have the luxury of being able to wait, that is definitely a bonus for you.
Dealers have targets to meet and get new stock in twice a year. It used to be only in September, but now with new registrations arriving in March as well they have two super busy periods. Plus they have their quarterly targets as well. That means June and December will be when they are most likely to offer better deals.
During their target periods sales teams will be under pressure from senior management. Not so much before hand. They have time to wait things out before slashing prices.
Also they have to register cars so you can get what’s called a pre-registered car. This is a brand-new car, but is registered in the dealerships name and might have a few miles on the clock. Maybe a hunder or two. It’s effectively a new car, but because you would be the second person on the log book, it has to be classed as second hand.
I bought one of these vehicles myself a while ago and it’s the best way to save money from a dealership.
Second-hand garages don’t tend to have the same concerns as mainstream dealerships so won’t be inclinded to offer you crazy deals. They tend to work on tighter margins, but always check the price because like we said already, sales people rely on your ignorance.
6. Make a Checklist
Don’t just rush out and buy a new shiny toy because it looks good in the showroom. Take the time to think things through and only buy a vehicle that suits your needs.
- Do you have a family with small children and baby seats or pushchairs? Then if so you won’t want to be looking for a Porsche Boxter unless you want a divorce at the same time.
- What about work? Do you need to put your tools in the car. Are you a tradesman?
- How many miles per week do you drive? If you buy a luxury car with a massive engine, you can spend your wages in fuel quite easily. Calculate how much it will cost you in fuel, tax and insurance. These are extras that can soon turn a bargain into a nigthmare.
- Petrol or diesel.
- Automatic or manual.
- Eco-friendly electric car or gas guzzler for posing in.
- The list can be quite long, but it needn’t be daunting. Think things through clearly and take your time. You’ll be grateful later when you know you made the correct choice.
7. Don’t Part-Exchange – Sell Privately
One thing that always frustrates me is that the car guides give prices for part-exchanging your vehicle. Well trust me, they never give you anywhere near these prices in the garage. Does this mean you shouldn’t trust car price guides. No not really, because the rest of the prices are true because you can check them. They have to be on public display for people to buy them.
With part-ex prices, it’s a private deal in the background. That’s why they tend to stamp their feet and demand more. Truth be told you get ripped off swaping your car with the dealer.
If possible sell your car privately. You’ll have much more barganing power when you confront them with cold-hard cash. That’s everyone’s favourite, after all.
8. Calculate the Total Package Cost
Ensure your pre-purchase plan takes into account all the extras that might present themselves.
- Finance Repayments: there can be some great savings on offer from finance packages. Then again, you can quite easily get ripped off. Do your due dilligance and check the total cost of the whole deal.
- Upfront Costs: are you buying the car outright or are you taking out a finance deal. This usually wont’ be a concern if you are buying second-hand. Although there are private finance initiatives, they are few and far between.
- Fuel Bills: this can be wide-ranging depending on the engine size and type of fuel.
- Insurance Payments: the older you are and the more driving experience the better, unless you’ve also got some nasty driving offences stamped on your licence.
- Extras: you should also take into consideration things like parking permits and toll roads. Hopefully you don’t have to involve yourself with such things, but unfortunately for some people they are part of their daily commute.
9. Shop Around the Dealers
Use you innitiative. Don’t just pop into the first dealership you come across. Go in and check them out, then go and see their rivals across town. Even if you don’t actually do that, don’t let them know. Play a few tricks on them. You aren’t committing any crimes by telling a few fibs, but whatever you do it has to be realistic.
If it comes across as you’re telling porkies you will be shooting yourself in the foot. Let’s be honest, everything the dealer tells you won’t be 100% truthful. Play them at their own game. Make them sweat on a deal. If you have to walk away don’t worry – there are millions of cars out their, but only a set amount of customers. You have the upper hand, not them, as long as you play your cards right.
10. Simply Haggle!
Don’t be a pussy, go in their like a boss. Haggle your way to a good deal. If you’re a generous person by nature, you won’t want to push your luck, but buying a car is a time to put your personal feelings to one side.
Treat it like a game of life or death that you’re going to win. Then if you don’t get the deal you are happy with leave it. You will always find another car. That is a fact.
Be sure to check out What Car’s buying guide, for general advice. They also offer a Target Price list for you to use. Print it out and have it with you to show any dealer trying to hoodwink you. You’re the one wearing the hoodie! 🙂
Lastly, What Car have a Used Car Awards page to check out.
Remember Pass Me Faster don’t like losing so go in their loud and proud.
How Much Have You Saved Before?
We’d love to hear your feedback on your used-car stories. Did you save a tone of cash? Then again, have you been ripped off before. Please let us know in the comments to give your fellow readers the head’s up.
Teamwork is the name of the game. Let’s all join forces and stick it to the dealers!
Until next time. Peace.