Tips for Buying a Used Car
Buying a used car can often be advantageous over choosing to buy a new car. It can mean huge savings and could save you a fortune in depreciation. It can be quite a daunting task though, as you sometimes hear horror stories of people being sold inadequate cars, but this article will tell you how to avoid that happening and give you the confidence to go out and find your dream car!
Where to Buy From
Beginning your search can often be the hardest part of buying a used car. It’s difficult to know where you should go to get the best deal possible. Dealers, independent garages and private driveway traders are all valid options, but they come with different pros and cons. Buying from a driveway trader can be tempting because you are likely to save on upfront costs, but it is riskier.
Dealerships and independent garages, on the other hand, like us will put their cars through rigorous inspections and they come with a warranty, which is not something you can guarantee with a driveway trader. On top of that, it’s possible that you will save money in the long run with a dealership or independent garage because you’re more likely to spend money on repairing cars bought from driveway traders.
Do your research beforehand, read what other people have said about a business before you visit. That way, you will know more of what to expect and you will know that you are in the safe hands of a reputable business.
What to Check When Viewing the Car
Once you’ve found the right place to buy from, it’s time to look at the cars. When you have found a car you like, be sure to check it over thoroughly. Just from viewing a car you can grasp whether it is up to your standards. You don’t want to pay for a car that isn’t quite right, so don’t skip this important step. There are a few things which we have included below that you shouldn’t miss checking.
Checking the tyres on a used car is incredibly important as they are the only part of the car that is actually in contact with the road. Ensure that they are in good condition by checking for wear and tear such as cuts or cracks. You could also check the tread depth and pressure to make sure that the tyres are well maintained.
2. Overall External Condition
Check for scratches, dents and chipped windows. It is also important to look at the panel gaps. Panel gaps that are very large could indicate that the car has previously been involved in an accident.
3. Under the Bonnet
Check for any general damage, especially on hoses and pipes. Keep an eye out for any dark brown oil stains as this could indicate leakages. Check the fluid levels to see that they’re not empty. Empty fluid levels could also be an indicator of a leak. It is also worth making sure the car does not have a head gasket problem by removing the oil cap and checking for a foamy residue.
Once inside you can check that all of the electrics are working, including the radio, the aircon, the windows and the lights. These issues might be easily fixed, but it would create an unnecessary hassle you shouldn’t have to deal with.
What to Check When Test Driving a Used Car
If you’ve looked at the car and everything seems to be in order, next comes the exciting part when you get to take the car for a test drive. This is a great way to see how the car feels for you, but it’s also important to check that the car is in a good working condition. There are certain things you should be sure to try and other things to listen or look out for.
1. The Gears
Do the gears change smoothly and does the gear stick automatically return to the middle when you take it out of gear? You should try and go through all the gears if you can, this would also be a good time to check if the car performs as well as you would expect. If the car does not accelerate or decelerate as well as you think it should, perhaps there is a problem that needs to be sorted before you can go ahead with the sale.
2. Turning Over
It might sound obvious, but you need to make sure that the car starts ok. A car that struggles to turn over might have a battery problem. You should also check how the car starts after running for a while, to ensure it still starts when it is warm.
Clutch problems can be extremely pricey to fix, so it’s incredibly important to make sure it is in working order before you buy the car. Can you take off smoothly? Does the car judder when pulling away quickly? Does the clutch slip? These can be indicators that the clutch might need to be replaced.
4. Steering & Suspension
These two will probably be obvious as soon as you start driving. Listen out for any odd noises when going around a bend to check that there isn’t a hidden problem with the steering. Try going over speed bumps if possible, to check that the suspension is working as it should.
5. The Brakes
It’s extremely important to fully test the brakes to ensure that you are buying a safe car. If possible, try an emergency stop. You don’t want to one day find out that your car cannot stop quickly in an emergency. Also, be sure to listen out for any unusual noises and that the car doesn’t pull to one side when you come to a stop.
Find the Car That is Right for You
Buying a used car can be a very confusing experience, but there is no need to feel overwhelmed. The most important step you can take is finding the right place to buy from, that way you know you can trust what you are buying.
At Bellamys we have always put you (the customer) first. Our friendly sales team are here to help with any of your queries and after you buy a car with us, we offer unique aftersales care, so you know you’re in good hands.