This year I turn 40 and at one point I started one of those “40 before 40” lists but I have to admit, I didn’t get past about 4 things, let alone 40. However one of those 4 was to buy a new car for myself – although when I say new, I mean used but new to me. For as long as I can remember, I have always had the cheap run-around car. It’s never cost more than about £500 and it was always just to run the kids to school and doing the shopping. When I eventually got a nice car, it was passed down to me from my then husband, as he was getting a new car himself. Sadly that car was stolen a year or so later and then I was back to the cheap, no choice, run-around car.
So my goal this year, is to finally head out and pick myself a car. I don’t have a massive budget but just knowing that I chose it and paid for it myself will be really nice. However I have to be honest and admit, I don’t know a whole lot about cars, and if you saw my current car (parts of it are held on by cable ties!) you would totally class me as a sterotypical “woman driver”. Because of this, I don’t want to be taken for a fool by a car dealer and I have been doing some research! So, what should you look for when buying a used car?
Find a good and reliable dealership
While one upon a time, car dealers had a bad name for themselves, being dodgy dealers and fixing cars to seem better than they are, these days that isn’t the case. Often a dealer is the absolute best person to buy a car from. Dealers have a reputation to uphold and they need for people to recommend them to others and keep people coming back. If they sold dodgy cars, or gave people misinformation, they would soon lose people’s trust and no one would come back. If you’re looking to buy second hand fiat cars in Brighton consider a credible dealer like KAP Motors.
Always view the car properly
This probably sounds obvious, but it’s also easy to feel awkward when you’re looking around cars – especially if like me, you don’t really know what you’re doing. However take the time to inspect it properly, especially looking for things like;
– worn tyres (this will set you back extra money if you have to replace them almost immediately)
– dents and scratches (it’s not so much the little ones, but anything that stands out – plus it might help you negotiate on price)
– panel gaps or varying colours (this may show that a car has been in a crash and badly repaired)
– oil, brake and power steering fluids (these being low may imply the car hasn’t been well maintained),
– electrics (check the windows open, the wipers work, the radio switches on etc. – again this might be a relatively cheap fix for you but good for negotiating)
– glass (look for chips as they could turn into cracks and cracks can fail an MOT).
– upholstery (stains and tears can be off-putting, so can funky smells – make sure you would be happy driving around in it)
– spare wheel and accessories (if you get a puncture, are you going to be able to fix it? Do you have not only a spare tyre but also the tools to change it?)
– wear and tear (all second hand cars will show some signs of use, but does the mileage fit with the rough condition of the car?)
There are of course other things you can check for and this includes; document checks, MOT and service history checks, mileage discrepancies incase the car has been clocked and so on.
Take the car for a test drive
Most of the time you should be able to take the car you are looking at out for a test drive. While you’re doing this, there are a few other things to look out for. Does the car start okay? What temperature does the gauge show (has the owner warmed it up beforehand)? Check the clutch, transmission, steering and suspension. Does the engine sound okay? Does the car perform as you’d expect? Test the brakes.
Most importantly though, do you like it? Are you happy driving it, does it feel right and will you be happy owning this car for the foreseeable future. If you have done your due diligence and everything seems to be ticking the boxes, you’re probably good to go. Make sure you get the best deal, cover yourself for being able to take it back if something doesn’t feel right in the first few days and if you’re taking out some sort of finance to pay for it, make sure you consider all the different covers available to you.