4 simple steps to buying a used car

December 16, 2016

Let’s face it, buying a used car is an experience to say the least. I’m sure that we have all been there, purchased the car privately, drove it away and then a week later something goes wrong that you didn’t expect and it’s going to cost more to repair than the car is worth! Nowadays, if I am planning on buying a used car, I stick to reputable dealers like West Way.

If you get the basics right from the start you’ll have less to worry out in the long run. I am always asked by family and friends during their buying journey on what to look out for? Is it worth the money? Or what to check? So, I thought I’d share my knowledge and top tips with you to help remove some of the hassle a lot of us face.

  • Plan your budget and stick to it.

Yes, that’s right, planning your budget is really important.  How many times have you said you’ll spend £50 on a night out or shopping trip and end up spending £100? Seriously, it’s no joke, we’re all guilty of it and when it comes to buying a used car it’s no different. By setting a budget, when you do end up in front of your dream car and the sales man asks “how much do you have to spend?”, you don’t look like a rabbit in the headlights lost at what to do next or how to answer…

Used car sales
If you are planning on financing or getting a loan for your used car, then plan your monthly affordable amount. Research the different options available, will you get this at the dealership or will you arrange this yourself? These are all questions to ask yourself before you have even thought about what car to buy.

  • Research

Now you’ve got your budget set that you’re not going go over, you can start to research the type of cars in your price bracket, I mean there’s no point planning your budget of £5000 and then deciding you want a Nissan GTR 3.8 V6 Premium as it’s just not going to happen (we all like to dream and if you do find one for that price, SHARE J).

So, what car do you need? Hatchback, Coupe, Crossover, Sports or SUV? Is it fit for your purpose?
3 doors or 5 doors? 5, 4 or even 2 seats? These are all things that you might want to consider when planning that perfect purchase.

Once you’ve decided on the car, you need to know as much about it as possible:

  • What specs are available?
  • Is it worth it? (Make sure you’re not paying over the odds by checking the book price and getting a valuation)
  • What’s the mileage?
  • How much is the road tax?
  • What the insurance bracket?
  • What’s the MPG? & So on…..

research

You can check across several review websites to get a better understanding of the model you want and if you need to know full details of the car you can use DVLA website. Although all dealerships should have this displayed on their website (if your searching online that is.)  

  • Check and test drive the car

So, you’ve found the car, it’s in your budget, it’s fully loaded with all you need and you’re ready to buy. But hold those horses, you actually need to test drive it first. (Having a look around and “tyre kicking” is not quite enough to get to know something you’re planning on getting you through the next few years.)

When checking cars, I always try to go when it’s daylight and the weather is good (I mean no one likes standing on the forecourt in the pouring rain) as it gives me a better opportunity to inspect for minor scratches etc. that might not have been documented in the ad. This is your chance to give it a good examination before you have even started the engine. If after this, you’re not happy then it’s on to the next one (although all my experiences at West Way have always been a good one and not once have I had any issues and usually drove away the same day). Check the engine, electrics, all the features and controls.

Checks done, you’re happy and it’s time to put it to the test. Get in that driving seat and take it for a spin (or quite a few) around the block, you should aim to test drive for at least 15mins – The longer the better (especially if you do long commutes). Your test drive should match your necessities and this is your chance to get a feel for it, how it drives, handles those corners, can you get in and out without banging your head? Is there enough leg room? Is the boot big enough for luggage/shopping trips? Does the car seat fit? The list goes on and on and on. But on a serious note, these are all things you need to consider as you’ll be driving it for quite a while so it’s imperative that you are comfortable.

Happy? (which I know you will be when dealing with West Way) it’s time for the best bit… Buying!!!

  •  Purchasing the car

You’ve researched, budgeted, checked and test drove it, now you’re ready to actually buy it. This usually comes after your test drive if you’ve completed all the steps above. If not and you’ve jumped straight in to this step, then you will need to think about the above.
Dependent on whether you’re paying cash, you might be able negotiate a discount. Don’t be afraid to haggle. Find out what comes as part of the package, does it have any extended warranty, servicing or MOT deals?
If you are using finance to obtain your new car and it’s already approved all you need to do is sign the paperwork. If it’s not approved, then the sales office will go through this with you.

Most dealerships offer drive away insurance for the first 2 days but it varies so it is important to check if your planning on driving away the same day.

Only thing left to do now is sign that paperwork to officially transfer the car ownership over.
And that’s it, the car is yours and you can drive away a happy Nigel Mansell (just not quite at his speed though please!)

drive away happy

I hope that these tips have helped and taken away some of the associated stress included in buying your new car. I know I’ll be pointing a few people in the direction of the blog the next time I’m asked the question, “What do I do when buying a new car?”

Blog by Gasman Linell