As a result of new electric car models approaching the market and the lack of semiconductors delaying supply chains, sales of second-hand cars in the UK have increased by 5.1% between January and March compared with the previous year. Consequently, this has resulted in a dramatic price increase for used cars, hitting a 30% rise in 2021.
This means that it is now more important than ever to ensure that you choose the right vehicle for you and evaluate whether you are truly getting value for your money. With that in mind, here are some key things to consider when buying a used car.
When deciding whether to buy a car from a private seller or a creditable business, you should always ask to see the V5C registration document or logbook. This lets you see who the registered keeper of the vehicle is and if this matches the details of the seller. Additionally, these documents are needed to tax the car; without this, you won’t be able to drive on the road legally. Purchasing a DS used car from a reputable company reduces the likelihood of these problems transpiring.
One of the simplest yet most significant checks you can make is on the car’s lifetime mileage. More often than not, this is displayed within the interior of the car, but it can also be attained from the service records and MOT certificates. A rule of thumb for estimating expected mileage involves multiplying the age of the car by the average mileage per year, which is typically 12,000.
It’s a good idea to opt for a vehicle with as low mileage as possible. Doing so means that you are less likely to experience issues like transmission failure, rust, breaking of the timing belt, and higher expenditure on petrol.
Having a closer glance at the condition of the vehicle will likely reveal how it has been treated by the previous owners. Pay attention to indiscretions such as scratches and bumps on both the exterior and interior of the car. Wear and tear are common in older vehicles, so this should be factored into the overall evaluation of the car, although any indications of rust must be taken seriously and dealt with accordingly.
It is also recommended that you identify any gaps between panels on the body of the car and whether there is discoloration on the paintwork. Evidence of these will indicate if the car has previously been involved in a crash or accident and the owner has tried to conceal the damage.
Until you drive the vehicle, you have no way of assessing whether it runs smoothly and all the necessary utilities work. Therefore, before any mentions of payment are made, you should aim to test-drive the vehicle. Most car dealerships will ask for a driving license at this point, so ensure that you bring one along with you, including one for anybody else who wishes to test-drive the vehicle.
When starting the vehicle, it’s sensible to start by checking the functions of the dashboard, followed by the windows, lights, heating and conditioning unit, and indicators. During the drive, the engine shouldn’t make any unusual noises or produce any fumes – starting from cold will give you the best advantage to gauge the condition of the engine. There are further crucial features to assess, such as the brakes, steering, and suspension, which should work as normal. If you feel comfortable using them, that’s a good sign.