When it comes to buying a second hand car, you have a number of choices to choose from. You can purchase directly from the previous owner or you can buy from a car dealer. There are also auctions you can take advantage of, which are as risky as buying from a private seller.
It doesn’t matter whether you are buying from a dealer or a private seller, there are important steps to take to ensure the vehicle meets your requirements and provides you with years of use and enjoyment.
The first thing you must do whether you buy private or from a car dealer is do your own checks. There are online checks available where you can put in the vehicle registration number to ensure it has MOT and to double check if it has ever been in an accident or considered a “write off.” You don’t want to buy a vehicle which has been written off by the insurance company in the past, this means it was in a serious accident and may never be able to drive the same again. It’s not worth the headache to take a risk on a vehicle of this nature.
Always compare the specs and prices of the vehicle available to identify which one best suits your budgets and requirements. You may have a preferred vehicle in mind, if this is the case, shop around to find the same vehicles with the same specs and then compare the prices. The prices shouldn’t vary too much, but you may find one within your local area, which can save you money on traveling.
Remember to identify how much insurance will cost for each of the vehicles you are interested in. Insurance comes in bands with some vehicles costing considerably more than others. Don’t forget the area where you live, where you will store your vehicle and what you will use your vehicle for will also impact how much your insurance will cost on a monthly basis.
Ensure you are able to take the vehicle for a test drive. It is so important to test drive any vehicle that you are interested in to ensure it performs properly and meets your expectations. Carry your comprehensive insurance certificate with you. It’s worthwhile checking with your current insurer to see if they cover you driving another vehicle. Most car dealers will accommodate for this, but private sellers may be a little more wary of letting you drive their vehicle on the open road without paying for it first.
There are advantages and disadvantages of buying from a dealer and a private seller. When it comes to car dealers, the benefits are great. A dealer must describe the car accurately and must ensure it is in a roadworthy condition. A dealer is not allowed to misrepresent the vehicle, this is an offence.
Further, a car dealer has to work within very strict rules and many also offer a warranty. Even a thirty day warranty is handy when buying a second hand car, as the dealer is responsible for repairing all the problems to ensure you receive a vehicle that ticks all the boxes.
If you don’t have the cash upfront for a vehicle, many car dealers now have the facility to provide you with financing, they may also offer to MOT the vehicle for you before you take it and tax it in your name. Finally, dealers also have a wide variety of vehicles at one location, saving you time, energy and money when looking for a good quality second hand car. The negative to this is that their prices are usually higher than you would pay if you purchased from a private seller.
With a private seller, you can negotiate, there is no sales pitch and most vehicles are at a lower price than the dealerships. The negatives is that there is no warranty, you are buying from a complete stranger and you have to buy “buyer beware,” if the vehicle has any problems it is the responsibility while you buy the vehicle as seen.