Tips for buying a second-hand car

Buying a second-hand car is a sure fire way to save money. But rogue traders, haggling buyers and confusing specs can make it a hassle. We’ve compiled a quick and easy set of tips to help you drive away with a bargain and make sure your new wheels are up to scratch.

Pre-check the insurance

Your shiny new drive might look the part, but if your annual insurance costs are going to burn through your fuel money, you may need to think again. Compare insurance quotes for your chosen model to avoid any nasty surprises.

Servicing and MOT

Steer away from potential garage bills straight after purchasing by checking how long the MOT has left. You’ll also want to check the car’s service history to see that everything’s been maintained within the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Taxing times

Depending on the age of the car, engine size and CO2 emissions – you could face a costly yearly road tax bill. Do your research and visit the GOV.uk website to calculate road taxes for any vehicle.

Go Green?

Before you start browsing, it pays to consider the green angle. Hybrids and fuel-efficient models can cost more, but there are savings to be made on fuel and check how those all-important CO2 emissions will affect road taxes and parking permits.

Part-exchange: The Pros and Cons

The age old dilemma when it comes to trading in your old car. Part-exchange or sell privately? We look at the pros and cons of a part exchange.

The Pros:

Hassle-free: There’s no cash changing hands, no appointments for viewing your car and no bank details to exchange.

Leverage: Car salesmen will be keen to make a sale – and while there’s only so much room for negotiation, there’s no doubt that part-exchanging your car gives you some leverage on price.

>Quick and Easy: Drive to the dealership, choose your car, sign some paperwork and you’ll be driving your chosen car home in a flash.

No Come Backs: Selling privately can be fraught with worry. What if something goes wrong, what if the buyer wants a refund? Once you’ve signed on the dotted line at a dealership, you’ve got peace of mind that your old car won’t come back to haunt you.

The Cons:

Low Price: Despite the leverage part-exchanging gives you, you’ll likely receive less than you would get by selling on the open market.

Negotiations: If you’re not a natural-born haggler, having to negotiate not one, but two prices might give you cause for concern. If you’re easily swayed, part-exchanging might not be for you.

Struggling for a deposit?

If you’ve been injured in an accident, you could be entitled to compensation. The 30 second test at Accident Advice Helpline can tell you how much you could claim. A sizeable payout could help you fund your next second-hand car.

Michael Foote

Quote Goat's founder and money-saving enthusiast.

Tips for buying a second-hand car