Buying a used car is a great way to save money, but you could end up in financial strife if you don’t follow a few simple steps.
Way before you step foot inside a car dealership or visit a private seller, there is plenty of research to be done to make sure you get a good car at a fair price.
Here are five tried-and-tested tips for buying a second hand car:
1) Set a budget
One of the most important factors in car sales is the price. It’s always best to set your budget before you begin and avoid being tempted by a flashier model with a heftier price tag. Be sure to consider not just how much you can afford to spend on the vehicle itself, but also on registration, maintenance and car insurance.
Once you have set your budget, the real trick is sticking to it. Think about the minimum and maximum you’re willing to spend, and try to find a happy medium between the two. This may help you avoid overspending when it comes to crunch time.
2) Do your research
Knowledge is power, so make sure to research the car models you are interested in to get a good idea of the type of car within your budget. This will ensure that you are up to speed on their real market value and more likely to secure a good deal. Remember that the car’s year, kilometres and fuel efficiency will all play a part in its price.
3) Speak to the seller
Once you’ve found a car, it’s time to reach out to the seller. There are a number of questions that need to be asked at this point, including:
- Why are you selling the car?
- How long have you had it?
- Does the car have full service history?
- How many previous owners has it had?
- What condition is it in?
- Has it ever been in an accident?
But these are just a starting point; when speaking to the seller, ask as many questions as necessary to get the information you need. This is your opportunity to find out whether you want to inspect the car, so if you have any deal-breakers – it’s best to find out about them sooner rather than later.
4) Start thinking about car insurance
This is where the second part of your budget comes in. Once you have narrowed down the make and model you are interested in, you need to know how much they will cost to insure. You can easily get a car insurance quote online with some basic vehicle details, which will tell you exactly how much it will cost to insure.
When it comes to car sales, there’s nothing worse than committing to a vehicle purchase, only to blow your budgeted on insurance.
Generally, if you are looking to purchase a second-hand car high in value then you should consider comprehensive car insurance.
5) View the car and take it for a test drive
If you’re happy with the seller’s answers, then it’s time to view the car and take it for a spin. If you’re not a car expert or enthusiast yourself, then bring along a friend or family member who knows about cars to get a second opinion.
When test driving the car, drive it on different road surfaces and at varying speeds. Keep an ear out for any suspicious noises, rattles or squeaks.
If you’re happy with the test drive and condition of the car, then it’s time to start negotiating price.
Buying a second hand car can take time and effort, but doing the research to find the right car at the right price is well worth it.