Buying a used car – a guide

It’s always daunting buying a used car for the first time. Whether you’re concerned with it’s mileage, how well it’s been cared for, or simply whether the seller is trustworthy, we thought it would be beneficial to our readers to produce a guide on buying a used car.

We’re all looking to save money these days and finding a bargain used car rather than a brand new one can become one of the biggest savings you can make. Therefore, savvy car buyers will shop around and attempt to find the biggest discount they can. However, there are many factors that can affect price and your peace of mind when purchasing a used car.

In short, we’d recommend considering the following points when searching for your new used vehicle and taking those next steps to buying:

  • Consider the fuel options – would electric, diesel or petrol be more suitable for your use of the vehicle? There are many changes to the laws on diesels and additional charges for congestion zones.
  • Where to buy your used car from – if warranty is a factor be prepared to pay more. For cars without warranty make an informed choice and double-check that you’re confident the seller is genuine and the car is going to last.
  • Check whether a used car has been written off or is stolen – not only could this write-off your insurance but also put you and passengers in danger. You can carry out online HPI checks for a car for as little as £10 to give you peace of mind.
  • Know what to check when viewing and testing the used car – consider testing the car on the road, seeing V5C documents and checking the VIN number matches the chassis number, checking the MOT history, looking for oil leaks and rust, as well as many other car checks (refer to the infographic below for more).
  • Understand the best ways to pay for your new used car and what you should receive – whilst BACS is very popular way to pay, you could opt for cash or a bankers draft depending on the seller’s preference and your added comfort. Don’t forget to get a receipt for the sale, as well as the relevant documents and purchase insurance and tax for the used car beforehand, no longer does the tax stay with the vehicle if there’s a change in owner.

Please view this helpful infographic guide to buying a used car, produced by Sainsbury’s Bank:

used car buying guide