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Top tips for buying a used car.


Buying a used car can be a great way to save some much-needed cash, especially when looking at comparative prices for brand new cars. It can be your answer to a cheap and cheerful runaround or you could strike lucky and find the car of your dreams. However, it’s well known that there are many a wheeler-dealer around that will take advantage at any opportunity; so we’ve put together our top tips to get you through your first deal!

Brand new vs Year old cars

Within the first year of buying a brand new car, the average car value will depreciate by 27% on average, based on an average of 10,000 miles on the clock. This rate is likely to half by the second year of ownership, meaning that in 2 years, the average car would lose up to £11,000 in value. Therefore picking a year a two-year-old model will vastly decrease your upfront cost. This is of course based on an average car price of around £28,000, so if you’re aiming for a slightly more luxurious model, you may not find such luck, especially with brands that hold their value, such as Mercedes.

Check and check again

Do your research; there will be plenty of dealers around your home areas that will offer you their best deal on a second-hand car of your choosing, use this as a guide when seeking out competitive prices in other dealerships, or with an individual. Be sure to make a note of all the prices offered so you can size up the competition to get the best deal available. Many dealers will match the best offer you’ve been quoted, after all, some cash is better than no cash!


The beauty of buying a second-hand car is the joys of haggling that come along with it. A skill in itself, it may seem daunting at first, but it will most likely result in a better deal for you in the long run. Our number one rule for any buyer is to never accept the list price, always haggle to get the initial cost down. Be sure to have done your research prior to turning up to view the car, with a handy note of what you deem an appropriate offer and stick to that figure. There are many tactics that car dealers have to make a buyer give in as quick as possible when it comes to haggling; be sure you stay strong and don’t fall for them! Tactics to watch out for are; the dealer immediately saying they’re not allowed to give discounts out and often awkward silences can make a buyer give in, but take these silences as a sign of tactics, nothing else! Your best moves to get the dealer eating out of your hand are being friendly but firm, adding an element of humour and the age old trick of walking away, only to get called back! Haggle away!

Inspect the car

The car may look like it’s in great condition, but don’t be a hasty buyer, be sure to check everything out before you sign on the dotted line! Here are the best things to check:

  • Car’s mileage; this should be relative to the age of the car.
  • Overall condition (Scratches, rust, chips)
  • Check repairs; be sure that there aren’t any shoddy repairs.
  • Test the radio
  • Turn on the lights
  • Tyre check
  • Engine check
  • Brake check

Test drive

Every dealer should expect that you will want an example of how the car runs and to make sure it feels right. Be sure that you’re insured before doing a test drive; if you are without insurance at the time, as the dealer to take you out for a drive, so you at least get an understanding of how the car runs. The things to consider whilst on the test drive are:

  • Does the wheel feel comfortable whilst your driving?
  • Try to vary speeds and routes to make sure it runs well on the motorway.
  • Test an emergency stop to ensure the brakes are working properly.
  • Does the car feel balanced?
  • Are there any peculiar sounds?
  • Will you be able to fit all you need into the car?


Be sure to sort out your car insurance before you take ownership of any vehicle, you must always have insurance in place as soon as you’ve become the legal owner, regardless of whether you’re driving it or not. Many cars come with insurance that will cover you for a week, but regardless it’s always better to be safe and fully insure yourself as soon as you purchase.

With these tips in place, you are well equipped to go forth and haggle and bring yourself back a beauty!

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