A Buyer’s Guide To Used Cars

We drive to and from work, pick the kids up, drop the kids off, go to the supermarket and pop to the shop to pick up the things we forgot from the supermarket…long story short, we drive a lot! Yes we try to walk wherever we can but the 20 mile trip to work is a bit more than most of us can handle so we rely on our vehicles to simply maintain our daily lives. Unfortunately, no matter how well we look after our beloved motors, the day will come when you need to trade her in for a younger model…literally.

Let’s face it, when we need a new car we’d all love to pop to the local Jaguar dealer and drive off our very own Jaguar XKR but that’s never going to happen, or at least not until we get those lottery numbers right. Instead, a lot of us go down the more economical route of looking for used cars. If you’ve never bought a used car before then you could run into some trouble and end up with a car that stops half way down the motorway on your way home; here are some quick tips to help you get a used car that’ll serve you well for years to come:

    Do Your Research

No matter what make, model, size or age car you’re looking for, it’s essential that you do your research before you start travelling to view cars.
–    Check the average price: If there are hundreds of 5 year old Peugeot 206s available at around £2,500 and you find the same car supposedly in great condition that is advertised at £1,000, run a mile in the other direction. If the car and the price look too good to be true, it is.
–    History Check: Before buying a used car, it’s vital that you run a history check. Although it does cost a little money it’ll show up if it’s an insurance write off  or has any outstanding finances; a history check is easy to do and could save you thousands.


Ask the seller for all of the car’s paperwork; this includes the vehicle log book and a service and repair history as well as any repair receipts. If the seller refuses to show you these documents or claims she/he doesn’t have them, you should be suspicious.

    Take it for a Test Drive

Please, please, please take the car for a test drive. You’ll have a better idea of the true condition of the car with a test drive; does it pull to the left or the right? Can you hear any knocking or clicking sounds that shouldn’t be there? Is the engine overly noisy? Are gears changes smooth? Don’t forget to check reverse! If you’re not happy with the way the car drives, don’t feel pressured into buying.

    Turn Detective

Although you might not know a lot about the ins and outs of a car, there are few things that you can check for yourself:
–    Check for any rust as it can indicate a more serious problem.
–    Look for any dents or irregularities in the paintwork; if it looks as though a dent has been pushed out and repaired, it could be that the car has been in an accident and the inner workings could be damaged.
–    Look at the mileage; if the numbers on the meter appear to be out of line, it could mean that the mileage has been illegally altered.
–    If everything looks to be in working order but you’re still unsure, ask the seller if you can bring an independent mechanic to inspect the car thoroughly.
Even though a used car will be significantly less expensive than buying new, it’s still a lot of money and you need to spend that money wisely. Take your time, do your research, inspect any potential vehicles thoroughly and be patient, your ideal car will come along soon enough.

This guest post was written by Jennifer Griffiths on behalf of Moneybarn; a professional and dynamic company specialising in providing bad credit car finance based on your personal circumstances.