Buying a car is a big decision that should not be taken lightly, especially if you are living on a fixed income. It requires major foresight and financial planning. Most of us have to effectively cut down on our spending and save for years in order to be able to afford a car in the first place.
With so many budget-conscious buyers looking for cheaper options, it is not surprising that used-car market is thriving in the UK these days and rightfully so. A well-maintained used car can be just as good as a brand-new car with an added plus; thanks to the principles of asset depreciation, used cars cost less.
But with so many options lined up and aggressive salesmen telling you only half-truths, choosing the right car can become a herculean task, especially when the stakes are so high. A damaged car can become a liability in the long run. Similarly, an illegally altered car or a stolen one can land you in hot water.
So, how do you minimise your risk and pick the best option? Here are 5 tips that can help you select a used car in the UK:
- Price Factor
One of the biggest reasons you are opting for a used car is lower price so always counter check the price you are being asked to pay. Remember, a little bit of preliminary research is always a good idea.
The easiest way to compare prices is through online listings. Look for cars that are like the model you have selected in terms of age, overall condition and total mileage.
You can also try comparing the quotes provided to you by local dealers. After a few visits or phone calls, you will develop a better idea of the pricing index in place. This will help you negotiate effectively and rule out overpriced options.
- Examine the Car Thoroughly
Say, you have settled on a car and thoroughly checked the price. Now, you need to thoroughly examine the car in question and check for signs of wear and tear.
Make sure you are examining the car in broad daylight and focus on the details. Start by checking the car for dents and damage. You might also want to examine paintwork; see if there is any peeling paint. Check if the car is uniformly painted. If it isn’t, there are chances this car was repaired in the past.
Look inside the car and see if all the installations such as the light, radio and air conditioner are functional. Then, take a moment to check the mileage. A car with high mileage has been in use for a while so it will have signs of wear and tear. Dismiss the car if it has low mileage and signs of age.
- Go for A Test Drive
Take the car out for a test drive to check if it performs smoothly. Test all the breaks and try all the gears. Check the clutch to see if it is stiff or smooth. You should also test all the controls including the lights, indicators as well as the wipers.
The test drive should be absolutely thorough. Keep an eye out for unusual signs or sounds while driving.
Also, if you are buying a car privately, make sure you already have a cheap car insurance policy that covers your drive in the UK. If you are buying from a dealer, odds are they would already have an insurance cover in place for test drives.
- Factor in Insurance Expense
Insuring a car can be expensive and the premium you pay directly depends on the type of car you are picking. This step is very important, and you should not ignore it if you are trying to save money.
As a general rule, car insurance depends on the size of your car. If it is a small car, it will be easier to obtain cheap car insurance in the UK. On the other hand, picking a big car here can increase your insurance premium significantly.
Remember, when you are buying a car, you also have to buy an insurance policy to protect your investment and reduce your risk. After you have settled for a car, find an insurance broker that offers comprehensive but cheap car insurance in the UK.
- Get Expert Help
Before you seal the deal, you should ideally hire a car expert to inspect your car. To be on the safe side, contact a professional mechanic and get them to check out the car you have settled on.
An expert will not just check the car thoroughly a second time but also provide valuable feedback on the condition and price of the car.