Used cars may be cheaper to purchase than new cars, but there are still trap to watch out for that could have you spending more in the long run. Here are seven tips to help you make the best purchase when buying a used car.

Avoid dealerships

Generally speaking, used cars from dealerships are more expensive than they are from independent sellers. This is because the dealerships need to make more of a profit to pay for their business. There are many listing sites for cars in which you can compare dealership and individual seller prices just to be sure you’re getting the best deal out there. Take advantage of these sites, whilst also checking the likes of Facebook and eBay.

Check the odometer

The odometer checks how many miles a vehicle has travelled. A car with too many miles on the clock may be more prone to faults resulting in more repair costs. These vehicles are also more expensive to insure. Check that the mileage isn’t too high as this could save you money in the long run.

Opt petrol over diesel

Whilst diesel engines are more fuel efficient, you’ll pay more for diesel at the pump, which will eventually cost you more. Diesel cars are also generally more expensive to buy.

Check that it’s eco-friendly

A car’s carbon footprint is also important to consider. A car that guzzles fuel will have you paying out more money. Certain cars may also have a bad carbon emissions rating, which could affect how much tax you pay on the car.

Ask about past faults

It’s worth always asking the seller about any past problems a vehicle has had so that you know what to expect. Not all sellers will be honest about faults, but those that are could help you to steer clear of a potentially unreliable vehicle. It’s not uncommon to find cars online selling for very cheap simply because the owner wants to be rid of them due to suffering so many faults.

Negotiate

When buying a used car, you can almost always negotiate pricing. There are lots of ways to do this. Always shop around so that you can bring up other competitive prices as a bargaining tool. Also ask if they’ll throw in any extras for free such as floor mats, sat navs and roof racks. Try to be enthusiastic and don’t haggle to aggressively – there may be more people after the same vehicle, in which case the seller may get to choose who to sell to.

Consider paying some of it via credit card

An advantage of dealerships is that you’re always more protected – it’s easy to return for a refund if you’re sold a dodgy vehicle. When using an independent seller, you don’t have this security. Offering to pay some of the purchase by credit card can give you some protection if you’re ripped off – credit card companies will refund you for any bogus transaction so that you’ve essentially got a warranty.

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Will Hopstetter

Will is an automotive market enthusiast living in the United Kingdom. He holds a diverse background in automotive and enjoys utilizing that to produce insights into the inner workings of the industry.

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