Now, I am in no way shape or form a car person. In fact I am one of those people that buy cars because I like the look and colour of it. I have occasionally purchased a car, quickly, which I just had to buy but it was a stop gap. I have never had the luxury of buying a new car, although I do dream about doing that one day and choosing my interiors. Last year my wonderful Grandma bought me a new, not new, car- she had the budget and I had the decision. Here are some tips I picked up: 

1. Look online – I searched online for hours and hours, it was fun window shopping. I kind of knew what car I wanted, but I had to research the prices and cars available, in my area of course. I didn’t want to be driving all over the country to view a car. I looked on  local company websites that are near me and also on an online used car website. This was so I could get an idea of what nationally the cars were worth, the ones that I liked. A more “average” price. I really wanted a Megane, I loved the shape, I loved the colours and I loved the internal dashboard – does that make me sad? I was lucky, there was one in a dark grey (I wanted black) that was near me. Be prepared to negotiate on price too, don’t offer the asking price as a first, even if you are dealing with a garage – I got my car for £300 less and I know that isn’t much but it made my Grandma happier. 

2. Get a mechanic to check it over – luckily my father in law is a mechanic and when I have purchased a car in the past he has always checked it over for me. He stands there with the bonnet flipped open staring at the engine and pipes, I haven’t a clue what he is looking at. But I get the thumbs up and that gives me a big smile on my face, especially when it’s the car that I really want. 

3. Take it for a spin – might seem like an obvious thing to do when you are buying a used car, but I bet a lot of people haven’t. Make sure it feels comfortable, it’s as you want, otherwise what’s the point in buying it? Make sure there are no “unusual” sounds and if there are, get them checked out before you buy. It would be horrible if you purchased a car and took it 10 metres up the road and it didn’t brake properly. 

4. Make an agreement with the garage before purchase – what I mean about this is a warranty deal. The best thing I did was have a warranty deal with the garage, it was for three months but in those three months a lot of things were not behaving and I got them fixed. For example, the passenger window didn’t work and it eventually became stuck, open, whilst I was driving the children to Nanny, in winter! The garage just fixed the window and ordered any parts that were necessary. I didn’t have to worry about it. The same with my indicator stick, it was broken and they fixed it. Some garages will not offer it, obviously buying a car from a person you will not get this option either but it is something to consider if you can. 

5. Read the paperwork – not that I am an overly suspicious person but just make sure it has had all the services done and that it’s passed it’s MOT’s, what work it has had on it and check the serial numbers to make sure it hasn’t been part of a rebuild! What I mean by that is that it isn’t two cars that have been welded together – which can happen. 

Car in garage image and lady in car from Shutterstock. 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 8th July 2015