While the new cars market is holding strong, more and more people in the UK lean towards the used car segment. The numbers show over 2 million in sales in the second semester of 2018, which is only down by 0,4% when compared to the same period in 2017.
Among the reasons stated for this decision, in top three we found the following:
- Couldn’t afford a new vehicle;
- Better value for money in comparison to a new car;
- Lower depreciation with used cars compared to new cars that start losing value the moment you drive it off the lot.
While it’s true that a used car comes at a lower price and implicitly brings more value for the money, it’s crucial to plan ahead and also consider the maintenance costs. For instance, a jalopy that requires constant service and replacement of vital parts may end up costing more than a new car on the long-term.
But not all jalopies look like a bucket of bolts; some are well-maintained to fool the eye. So how can you make sure your new used vehicle doesn’t come with hidden problems?
Buy from the Owner
If you know the basic inner-workings of a vehicle and you understand the optimum parameters required for the model you want, buying directly from the owner can be the safest deal.
However, it is crucial that you take the vehicle for an independent inspection before taking any decisions. A professional mechanic can tell you if the car has any hidden problems and the cost of maintenance should you decide to go for it.
Check Trustworthy Online Platforms
Sites like Auto Volo can help you find a great car without losing precious time searching through personal ads. You just punch in your postal code, and the site displays a list of vehicles in your vicinity. Furthermore, these types of platforms allow both vehicle owners and traders to advertise cars for sale, so you can have your pick.
Work with an Authorised Trader
If you prefer dealing with a trader directly (and not through an online platform), it’s best to do some digging first. Search for reviews from other customers and ask around about their reputation. This may take a bit more time, but it will tell you a lot about the type of business the trader runs.
Once you’ve established they are trustworthy and decide on a certain vehicle, make sure to ask for the for the MOT test number, make and model, and mileage. DVLA offers a free online tool where you can verify if the information is accurate.
If you find small discrepancies, first clear them with the trader to make sure you’re on the same page. However, if the discrepancies are big, you should drop the deal and move on to a different trader.
Regardless of the channel you decide to use, it’s crucial to pace yourself and make the decision rationally. Analyse all the data and ponder in long-term costs to make sure you are actually getting a good deal.