Picking up a second-hand car always seems like a risky venture. Everybody has heard the horror story of someone buying what they thought was a bargain, only to be lumped with an all-out death-trap.
Still, it is entirely within the capabilities of the buyer to avoid such eventualities entirely. Even if you are not a skilled mechanic or automotive expert, buying second-hand does not have to be hazardous.
For the most part, it is simply a case of following these four golden rules for pre-loved car purchases:
The biggest factors of all that determine the value of a used car is its age and mileage; more often than not, a car with low mileage is far better than a car with an abundance of miles on the clock. But there are exceptions to this rule, such as a car with low mileage being left to deteriorate and degrade in a garage for years on end.
It is essential to avoid making your decisions based on mileage and/or age alone. Just as a high-mileage vehicle could be in fantastic condition, a low-mileage car could be ready to fall apart.
You can ask the seller to provide you with a full rundown of the car’s history, and they probably will. Even if they seem trustworthy, it is still in your best interests to verify their account. Something you can do by checking the car’s registration info and MOT history on the government’s website.
You want to find out as much as you possibly can about how the vehicle has been used and taken care of in the past. The sparser the information, the bigger the risk you are taking by buying it.
Buying a used car from an established dealer is always best, if it is a viable option. This usually paves the way for a fairly safe purchase, perhaps with the added reassurance of a warranty.
Elsewhere, it is worth conducting one or two background checks on the seller before buying. If they have deceived or disappointed buyers in the past, you need to know about it. Search online for feedback and recommendations, or ask the seller to provide references. If they are above board and have nothing to hide, they will be more than happy to comply.
Be sure to have at least one independent expert inspect and evaluate the vehicle on your behalf. It could be a local mechanic you trust, or anyone who knows a thing or two about cars.
Do not let the fact that the car has a fresh MOT fool you into thinking it’s in pristine condition. An MOT only covers the basics to ensure the car is roadworthy – nothing more. If you want to ensure your money is being put to good use, insist on a full independent check before buying.