The main advantage to purchasing a used car is that it's much cheaper than driving a shiny new model off the forecourt.
However, there are some risks involved with going down the second-hand route, so here are a few things to bear in mind when you begin searching for your next motor.
Know what you want
As there are so many cars on the market, it helps to know what you want before you start looking. Carefully consider what you'll use your vehicle for. This means thinking about things like whether you need the extra space an estate model affords or if you can manage with a hatchback, how far and how often you'll drive it and whether it needs to project a professional image for work purposes.
You should also calculate your budget and make sure you stick to your uppermost figure. While it can be tempting to view used cars that are a little bit more expensive than this in the hope that you can negotiate the price down, it can be a slippery slope that sees you overspending.
Always view the car
I can't stress how important it is to thoroughly inspect any used car you're considering purchasing. You should look at the condition of the car - both in terms of its outward appearance and its mechanics - to decide whether the price being asked for it is fair.
If you want extra peace of mind, ask the vendor if you can drive the car to a mechanic you trust who can give it a once-over and let you know whether there are any serious faults that need to be fixed. This will mean you can make an informed decision about whether to walk away from the purchase, or to negotiate with the seller on how much you'll pay for the vehicle.
Another reason to view the car you're considering buying is to check that both it and the vendor match the description given in your local newspaper or online. For example, you should always compare the mileage advertised with that in the vehicle, as well as looking through its service history and list of previous owners.
Research the seller
When you're buying a used car, it isn't only the vehicle you should be checking out, but also the person selling it. This is especially the case if it's a private sale, as you'll need to know that the auto in question has not been in any accidents, is not stolen and is legally owned by the vendor.
If you are buying your car through a dealer, do some reading to be certain the company is reputable. Choosing to purchase a vehicle from this kind of firm can be beneficial in many ways, as they typically have a wide range of motors, the cars tend to be reasonably new and have usually had a full service and MOT before being put on the market.
Used car dealerships can also help you arrange a finance package to make your purchase possible if you need to. For example, at CarShop you'll find a range of second-hand vehicle financing options to help you get the motor you need at a good price.