Our Top Tips When Buying a Used Car
Buying a new car can be stressful. If it’s not the amount of models and versions available – plus diesels, petrols and hybrids – the choices can seem almost endless before you have even got to the detailed decisions of a used car’s mileage or condition. However, the reality is that while there are plenty of things to trip you up, there is also plenty you can do to help yourself too. Do a little homework on where and how to find the best deal and you can give yourself a helping hand before you have even taken a test drive.
When is the best time to buy?
One way to slash costs is to buy at the right time. Dealers have targets to meet, with bonuses up for grabs. Typically, these are based on quarterly sales, making the end of March, June, September and December a good time to buy. They need to shift cars, so will be more willing to negotiate and offer attractive finance packages.
Think about the style of car too. Summer is when drivers dream of buying convertibles, making winter a good time to haggle for a deal on one. But, if you’re buying from a private seller, there’s unlikely to be a good or bad time. Private sellers don’t have targets to meet, other than the price they want to achieve. For a quiet time, try to avoid weekends, or the start of the month, just after payday. If you’re buying privately, it’s also worth picking a time when other potential buyers might be away.
Should I haggle?
Yes! It’s pretty much expected of you, so bargain hard. The first rule is that you should never pay the list price of the car – you’d be a fool to hand over the full cost. Arm yourself with the cheapest prices and make dealers compete for your custom. Dealers often say they’re not allowed to give discounts but if you’re new to haggling, an easy start point is asking them to throw something in on top.
As negotiations come to a close, a classic sales technique is staying silent. They want you to accept the price just to fill the awkward silence. Make them fill it with a cheaper offer. Psychologically, if they have to chase you, rather than you being super keen, it’s more likely to lead to a better deal. Look for the tiniest of dents or scratches. This makes them more difficult to flog, but still great to drive. Remember, do it with humour and there’s no suggestion too outrageous. You can haggle virtually anywhere for anything.
Should I buy from a dealer?
It depends. Dealers often give warranties on approved used cars, and will have made the car look and feel new, with faulty parts replaced before sale. So you may pay more buying from a dealer than from a private buyer. But this route often gives you peace of mind about the car. And makes it easier to make a complaint if things go wrong. Alternatively, if you’re willing to pay a bit more for peace of mind. You could buy ‘approved used’ from a car manufacturer’s franchised dealer. This is the most expensive option, but the car’s history should’ve already been checked and it will come with a warranty.
Use your credit card for extra protection
Provided that the total cost of the car you’re buying is between £100 and £30,000. Paying anything towards it by credit card means the card company is equally liable along with the dealer if things go wrong. However, some dealers don’t accept credit cards, others charge you for using one. Finally, some dealers will only allow you to pay a limited amount by card.
Ultimately buying a second hand car can cost you much less whilst at the same time getting you a better car than getting a brand new one. KAP Motors offers a wide variety of second hand cars in various brands like Nissan, Peugeot, Renault etc. Whichever route you choose, though, when buying your next used car. Do not buy a car that you are not 100 per cent happy with. If it does not feel right, just walk away – there will always be another just around the corner.