Oct 062016
 

10 Top Tips for buying Used Cars

If you choose to buy a used car the obvious benefits can include making significant savings without having to compromise too much on quality. Whether you’re after a dream machine or a cheap run-around to get you from A to B, there’s plenty of choice on the second-hand market. However, the Citizens Advice and Trading Standards claims second-hand cars are one of the most protested issues; complaints are often about a fault, but sometimes the problems are so bad the car is scrapped. With murky histories and hard-nosed salesmen, purchasing a used car can be a minefield to a potential buyer. Here are our top tips to minimise the chance of any nasty surprises.

Timing is key

One way to reduce costs is to buy at the right time. Dealers have targets to meet and bonuses to compete for. These are usually based on quarterly sales at the end of March, June, September and December. They need to shift cars, so will be more willing to negotiate and offer appealing finance packages at the end of these months. Private sellers don’t have set targets, so keep an eye on their prices a few months before you actually buy – if they’re decreasing, you may want to wait. Increasing and it’s sensible to buy sooner.

Prioritise what you need, not what you want

Before you begin perusing for the ‘one’, consider realistically what you really need from a car. There’s no point buying a two-seater convertible if you’re about to start a family. Ask specific questions to boost decision-making such as ‘what are my essential requirements?’ and ‘will I be using it for short drives or longer motorway journeys?’ Fuel choice can also make a big difference to running costs, so consider whether you need diesel or petrol.

Shop around and negotiate

Ask dealers for their best price on your second-hand car of choice. Make a note of the best price, and then ask others to beat it. You can expand your radius, if you’re happy to travel to find the lowest price. Never sign on the day- walk away and you will be pleasantly surprised with the number of sales calls you receive offering even better discounts than discussed previously.

Inspect the vehicle thoroughly

As the old saying goes, it’s not enough to go by good looks alone and this is most certainly the case when buying a used car. You need to look at everything, from the seatbelts, headlights to the paintwork and tyres. Check the car’s mileage. The average covered is around 10,000 miles a year, so if the odometer’s figure seems strangely out considering age, ask why. Service history is crucial as you don’t want to purchase a car which may be subject to immediate repairs. Also check for any signs of poor repair and oil or water leaks in the engine which could lead to serious problems.

Don’t skip the test-drive

Test driving a second hand car is imperative to ensure you’re comfortable driving the vehicle and that you don’t notice any red flags when out on the road. Try different routes and include the motorway to check how the car feels whilst driving it. Check the brakes and clutch function smoothly and effectively, plus experiment with manoeuvres such as a  three-point turn and an emergency stop to check steering and brakes.

Check for outstanding finance

Buying, leasing or hiring a car on finance is increasing in popularity. This means many vehicles on the road are actually owned by finance providers until their customers pay off the finance agreement in full. Make sure you carry out a Car Data Check because if you buy from someone who’s not paid off their finance agreement, the provider could retrieve the car and leave you without a car and out of pocket. Most reputable dealers carry out a vehicle check, but we’d advise you to still liaise with them to ask whether it’s been done on your visit.

Protect your rights

Remember that if you choose to buy through a private sale it is also your responsibility to check the car’s condition and history, and you have far fewer rights if something goes wrong. A private seller must give an accurate description, but it can be hard to prove if you’ve been duped – so keep copies of the original advert. Purchasing a used car warranty can be excellent way to protect yourself from expensive incidents you may experience once you’ve actually bought your vehicle. Many warranties can be bought direct as well –  another bonus as it eliminates additional costs which may incur if buying through another party.

In this case, eBay may not be the best option…

You can buy anything online these days, but is buying a car this way worth the risk? Lots of people seem to think so and eBay is one of the most popular sites for used car purchases. Ensure you’ve done all the necessary checks before you place a bid, as if you pay using PayPal its purchase protection does not apply to cars – and neither does eBay’s own buyer protection. So if anything goes wrong, you cannot turn to either to sort it out.

… although considering your credit card could be wise

Paying even a penny towards your car by credit card, means you get effective, additional protection, as you’re then covered by Section 75. Providing 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 as liable as the dealer if anything goes wrong with your vehicle.

Be thorough with paperwork

When you buy a used car check you have all the necessary documents before paying. Most important is the  Logbook, or V5C,  which proves you are the keeper of the vehicle. It should list you as the registered keeper, though you may not be the owner if the car has been bought on finance. The car’s servicing booklet is essential  to check when the car was last serviced, as well as what’s been repaired/replaced. Manuals, spares such as wheels, keys and the sales contract should also be included.

Whether or not you decide to purchase the used car you are considering, it’s imperative to make sure you are well-informed and have researched the market before buying. The more aware you are of common scams and sneaky sales tactics, the less likely you are to be left out of pocket or with a vehicle that won’t stand the test of time.

Dec 262015
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want some expert advice on the latest scams, plus paperwork and checklists to give you the edge when buying a used car then HPI has the answer, or rather its free guide is here to help.

HPI provider of the HPI Check® is helping used car buyers get it right, when it comes to parting with their hard earned money, with the launch of its digital HPI Used Car Buyer’s Guide. In all the excitement of buying a car, it’s easy to overlook the essentials or even fall prey to common scams. HPI’s comprehensive guide aims to encourage consumers to do their homework to minimise the risks, as well as highlighting the latest scams fraud sellers are carrying out.  It also acts as an important reminder to buyers to conduct a vehicle history check via www.hpicheck.com.

Buying a used car is exciting, but it can also be daunting, which is why HPI has created the Used Car Buyer’s Guide,” explains Neil Hodson, Managing Director for HPI. “Throughout the online pages of this guide, consumers will get advice on how to decide what the best buy is for them, what to look out for when viewing and test driving a potential purchase and how to get the best deal.”

The HPI Used Car Buyer’s Guide gives advice on what to do if people are buying privately or from a dealer, the importance of conducting professional inspections, as well as practical top tips on conducting a thorough test drive. Crucially, HPI’s expert advice includes a section on the most common used car buying scams – clocking, cloning, ringing and cut ‘n’ shuts – giving advice on how to spot one and explaining what the very real risks are.

The guide doesn’t stop at the point when someone decides they want to purchase a vehicle. HPI offers tips on negotiating a good price with the seller, as well as looking into getting the best warranty and insurance deals to make the buyer’s purchase decision financially sound.     Fundamentally, the Guide gives buyers advice on what to do if the purchase goes wrong; 1 in 3 cars checked with HPI have something to hide.

Neil Hodson concludes, “The launch of our new Used Car Buyer’s Guide is part of HPI’s ongoing commitment to helping consumers understand the risks, giving them the tools they need to shop and buy with confidence. Of course, a vehicle check, such as the www.hpicheck.com remains one of the best ways to ensure a vehicle isn’t a write-off, recorded with the police as stolen, clocked or on outstanding finance. Together with this new guide, HPI is helping used car buyers avoid purchasing a lemon, ensuring they drive off into the sunset with the car of their dreams.”

The HPI Check includes a mileage check against the National Mileage Register as standard, now with over 200 million mileage readings. HPI also confirms whether a vehicle is currently recorded as stolen with the police, has outstanding finance against it or has been written off, making it the best way for consumers to protect themselves from fraudsters looking to make a fast profit. In addition, the HPI Check offers a £30,000 Guarantee* in the event of the information it provides being inaccurate, offering added financial peace of mind to used car buyers.

* – subject to terms and conditions. See HPI Check website for more details.