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A Guide To Buying a Second Hand Car

Buying a car is a big deal for anyone and there are lots of things to taking into account, especially when looking for a second hand car.

You can make a good saving if you choose to buy second hand rather than new. I’d like to take you through a number of elements that you will need to consider during this process.

Where to start?

After taking the decision to buy a second hand car, you need to then think about where to buy your car from. There are various different ways to purchase a second hand car.

Buying from an independent garage or dealer

If your a nervous car buyer and you don’t have great knowledge of cars then buying from an independent garage or dealer is probably your best option.

A big dealer is more likely have have tested their second hand cars extensively to ensure they are at an approved standard. This may mean that you pay a little extra but if peace of mind is what you want then it may be worth it!

Also, you will often get a good warranty from big dealers which again will put your mind at rest.

If you live in and around the Brighton area, get your hands on pre-loved cars at KAP Motors Brighton Showroom.

Buying Privately

Buying your second hand car from a private seller can prove to be a cheaper option which is ideal for those on a budget!

A few pros to this option are the fact you can negotiate the price, you can usually tell how well the previous owner has looked after the car. This is because a dealer will deep clean the car so you won’t know if the previous owner has taken care of the car fully! It also allows you to see whether the seller has a genuine reason for the sale vs whether they want to just get rid of it.

There are also some cons to buying from a private seller, one being that some people will overprice their car.

One important thing to take into account is that you won’t have as much protection as a buyer because you won’t have any warranty on the car and it won’t have been through extensive checks (as a car does with a dealer) so if the car breaks down, there may be no fall back and it could turn out to be more expensive!

You could also buy from an online auction which again would in some cases be a cheap option but you won’t get to give the car a once over or give it a test drive so you get what you see from afar!

The last option is to buy a car online from sites such as Ebay. Do this with caution because you most likely won’t see the car before buying it so there could be hidden faults with the car!

Viewing The Car

I’ve been there myself, looking at a second hand car and not fully knowing what I need to check to ensure it’s in good working order!

Here’s a list of things you can check to see if the car is good order:

  1. Dents and scratches – how does the bodywork look? Are there any noticeable dents? Make sure to check the car in daylight and you could even use dents and scratches as a way to bring the price down
  2. Electrics – try the electric windows to make sure they work, turn the air conditioning on and test the radio.
  3. Interior – check out how the seats look, are there any stains or big tears. How does the car smell because some smells are hard to get rid of fully!
  4. Tyres – inspect the tyres to see whether they have good tread on them. The legal limit is 1.6 mm, which you can check with a 20p coin.
  5. Fluids – open the bonnet of the car and check all fluid levels because if they are low, it could be a sign that the car hasn’t been well looked after.
  6. Lights and glass – check all lights on the car to see whether they have any cracks present and also check the windscreen for any chips because these could turn into a crack and may lead to a replacement windscreen!

So there’s a few things to check when you go to see a second hand car so that you can be better informed about the condition!

Documents and Car History

Another element to consider when buying a second hand car is the cars history and whether all relevant documents are present.

The first document to start with is the V5C, also know as the registration document for the car. Make sure all the information on the log book matches the car in front of you.

If elements such as the address don’t match up, it could be dealer presenting to be a private seller. The V5C will also tell you if the car has had lots of owners in a short space of time which could highlight the car is problematic.

The next document to check for is the MOT which you can check online if they don’t have one. You need to look at the advisories to see what has been recommended recently for the car.

Another thing to ask your seller is about the service history. If you are buying a very cheaper car for around £500, you are unlikely to get service history. If your buying a more expensive car though, you will probably want to see the service history so you know it’s been looked after!

If you take the car for a test drive, there are also many things to check. See this checklist for an in depth list of things to keep an eye on!

I hope this post has helped anyone looking to buy a second hand car!

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