Motor Insurance

Tips for buying a used car

Looking to buy a used car? Here are some tips to help you find the car you want and avoid buying a dud.

Looking for a used car means that you can get a lot for your money. The depreciation has already been absorbed by another buyer and many top-spec cars can be found at a fraction of their new price, which is good news for those buying a used model. Along with the price, there are some other things to consider before purchasing a used vehicle, like car insurance and running costs.

Where to find a used car

Find the car you want might take a bit of time. You can check ads in your local newspaper or places like eBay for the latest listings. For fast results, many car buyers visit the cars for sale pages on Autotrader. As the largest automotive marketplace in the UK, their website contains thousands of ads from all over the county. Search by make, model, location and filter results by mileage, trim level and other useful options until you find a car that is suitable.

Autotrader provides reviews of car sellers and has some available checks to ensure that the car you are buying does not have outstanding finance or hasn’t been reported as scrapped or stolen. Their site also details some useful information about annual running costs and road tax information.

Do your homework

When searching for the car of your dreams make sure that the specification and trim level is up to the standard you need. Check the price of cars that you find against similar models to make sure you are not paying above market value. If a car is extremely cheap it could mean that something is amiss or has problems that need to be repaired.

Contact the seller and ask questions before you decide to purchase, and make use of background and HPI checks. Information about the vehicle can be easily obtained from Gov.UK which will allow you to check recent MOT history, including advisories, and the current road tax status:

Buying a used car

Once you have found the car that you wish to purchase then you should think about negotiating a little bit. Many sellers are willing to reduce the price a bit based on comparative pricing, the age and mileage of the car, or simply just to help the sale along. You should also arrange to test drive the car, as a general rule no money should ever be exchanged until you have seen the car you plan to buy.

If the seller is persistent about requesting money upfront then it may be a red flag and should be approached with caution. After you have taken the car for a test drive and everything seems to be in order, you should also take the time to check the vehicle documentation. Verify the car’s VIN number against the documents and make sure all the information is correct.

Consider running costs

There are several costs that come along with vehicle ownership. Apart from the ticket price paid for the car, you will need to pay for things such as:

  • Annual MOT
  • Road Tax
  • Repair
  • Maintenance
  • Breakdown Cover
  • Insurance

These items are all necessary and are part of owning a vehicle, expensive vehicles may cost more to run and repair so its important to factor in all costs to ensure they are within your budget. If you are buying a vehicle on finance the monthly payment will also need to be added in. Autotrader provides its users with a useful quote engine to help buyers determine the cost of financing their car.

Research insurance quotes

Depending on the style and size of car you select the cost of insurance will fluctuate. A sports car will fall into a much higher insurance group than a family sedan, meaning monthly payments will be much higher. If you happen to be financing the purchase of your used vehicle then you may be required to obtain full coverage for the duration of the loan.

Insurance for used cars comes in various coverage types, including.

  • Third-Party only
  • Third-Party, Fire, and Theft
  • Fully Comprehensive

As part of your budgeting, it is helpful to check the cost of your car insurance premiums before purchasing a used car. Comparing quotes allows you to enter relevant information and receive information tailored to your situation.

Depending on the car, its value, anticipated mileage, and the kind of coverage you need, monthly payments can fluctuate and may be higher or lower depending on the provider. Using a quote comparison engine will help you to view quotes side-by-side from multiple insurance companies, compare deals, and find the best price quickly and easily.

Erin Yurday

Erin Yurday is the Founder and Editor of NimbleFins. Prior to NimbleFins, she worked as an investment professional and as the finance expert in Stanford University's Graduate School of Business case writing team. Read more on LinkedIn.


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