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Used Car Buying Checklist

Added: 25 January 2018

Buying a car is always going to be a large investment, but that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank. Even after just a year, a car’s value could deplete by up to 40%, making a year-old car far more affordable than a brand new model. 

Although the savings can be huge, there are some extra factors to consider when buying a second hand car. We’ve put together this used car buying checklist to make the car buying process as simple as can be.  Here are some important steps to take when buying a used car:

Know your budget

It may sound obvious, but don’t forget you may need to factor in extras like maintenance and upcoming MOTs. It’s a good idea to get a loan quote before you start viewing cars, so you can easily work out what falls into your budget.

Do your research

A little bit of research will go a long way in your car search, buying a used car or a new car. As well as getting clued up on the value of the used cars you’re interested in, you can make yourself aware of common faults with used cars (see below) so you know what to check.

Choose your time and book!

It’s worth contacting the dealership before you set off to view the car to make an appointment – this will ensure you get seen without a delay at busy times and you can also check the car in question hasn’t been sold that day!

Take a test drive

You wouldn’t buy a new car without taking it for a test drive and the same should be true when buying a used car. During this time, you’ll not only be able to check that everything is in order, but you can see if the car feels right for you and your lifestyle. 

You can book your test drive online for any car available at Dinnages making it even easier to organise.

Check the service history

Almost any used car will have had some work done at some point. Whether it’s had part repairs or just the standard 3-yearly MOTs, a car’s service history should be kept on record. Don’t be scared to ask questions about a used car’s history. 

Inspect the car

Buying a second-hand car carries a few more risks than buying a new car, which is why it’s important to know what to look out for. Here are the things you should check: 

·         Engine: Check for oil leaks and the oil levels to make sure the car has been well cared for.

·         Types: The minimum legal tread for car tyres is 1.6mm and if they’re below 3mm, you’ll need to factor in upcoming replacement costs.

·         Bodywork: Don’t let small dents or scratches put you off, but do factor them into your budget.

·         Mileage: The average car racks up about 10,000 miles per year. If the car you’re viewing has more or fewer miles on the clock than you’d expect for a car of its age, it’s okay to ask why.

·         Interior: Does the radio work? Check the dashboard displays to make sure everything is in good working order.

·         Documents: Check the car’s handbook is inside as this is expensive to replace. You may also want to see the car’s MOT and service history, along with the V5C registration document.

Prepare for your new car!

Once you’ve found a car you like and agreed a price, you’ll need to do a few things before driving it home. Before you can take ownership of a car – new or used – you need to have the required insurance to drive it. The price of a used car may or may not include any necessary repairs or replacements, so make sure you confirm any work agreed and get a receipt.

We hope this used car buying checklist helps you find your next car. You can browse our used cars online and if you’re also looking at selling, don’t forget to check our used car valuation tool to see how much your current car is worth. 

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