Buying a car used can be a great way to get more for your money, but it can also be a great way to get ripped off if you don’t know how to sort the real bargains out from the duds and scams. We’ve put together a list of five absolute musts to make sure the car you’ve got your eye on is worth everything you’re set to pay for it.
You should always make sure your seller is trustworthy. You can look for customer testimonials online if you’re going through an actual dealership, but the fastest way to go about things is to start looking in places that are already known to be trustworthy. If you’re dealing with an individual, meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled for suspicious behaviour and don’t let yourself be pressured into making a quick decision. Check the vehicle is registered to the person selling the car and the address that they show it from.
Ask to see all the car’s paperwork, like the logbook (V5C) and service history. Cross reference things like the chassis number and mileage with what is shown in the documents and ensure they are all consistent. This will protect you from certain used car scams like clocking (artificially dialling back the mileage) and cloning (presenting one vehicle as another with an illegal duplicate license plate).
If you’re confident you know your stuff you can do this yourself, but if not have someone knowledgeable and trustworthy do it for you. It’s vital that the car gets a full and independent inspection to make sure everything’s in good condition. The last thing you want is to end up spending extra money on repairs because you bought a car with a little too much wear and tear on it.
You should do some research online to check the price of anything that has caught your eye and make sure you’re paying close to the market price. You can also do this before seeking out individual cars to find out which models best suit your needs and what you can expect to pay for them.
If you’re going to drive the car you need to be comfortable doing so and the only way to know is to try it out for yourself, so a test drive is vital. This not only lets you get a feel for the experience of driving the car, it’s also another chance to gauge the car’s overall condition. It’s a good opportunity to test out all the electrics as well, so make sure you do that, too.
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