Essential things to consider when buying a used car
If you carry sports or music equipment, then you may need a car with a bigger boot
There are a number of key factors to consider before buying a secondhand car.
These factors will influence your decision on what type of car you opt to go for. Consider carefully what style and size of car will suit your needs best.
It is important that you buy a car that is practical for your lifestyle.
For example, if you carry sports or music equipment, then you may need a car with a bigger boot, or of you need to tow a trailer you may need a car with a bigger engine and stronger suspension.
If you live in a town or city and you don’t use your car that often, a much smaller car may suit you best. You should think about the mileage you are likely to do in the car and take into account ongoing running costs such as fuel, services and tax.
Questions to ask yourself
1. What will you use it for?
2. How long do you expect to own it?
3. Are you looking for reliability?
4. How many miles do you plan to do?
5. Are you buying it for practicality, for fun, or perhaps a bit of both?
6. Do you want something luxurious or thrifty?
7. How much are you willing to spend (include other costs such as insurance, tax, services and fuel)?
8. What type of model and manufacturer are you leaning towards?
There are plenty of used cars available on the market, so you have plenty of options. Shopping around will also tell you the average price for the type of car you want so that you can work out your budget and plan how you will pay for the car.
If you are trading-in your existing car, you need to consider the “cost of changing”, i. e. subtracting the value of your trade-in from the price of a new car.
Get to know how much your trade- in is worth by looking at similar models online. Remember that a dealer’s sale value includes profi t and refurbishing costs. This value will not be anything like the offers you should expect to receive on your own car.
Take your car to three or four used car- dealers currently selling cars similar to yours and see what they will give you for the car.
After you’ve done your research, you will know the lowest and highest sale values for your car. When the dealer asks what you want for your car, have a strategy to get the best price you can for your car.
Trade in tips
■ If you’ve kept all the maintenance records on your car, take them with you and ask the dealer if you can get more for your car because you have them
■ Don’t let a dealer know that you have a trade- in until you’ve negotiated him down to his lowest price. First find out how much the car can be bought for if you had no trade in. Then ask the dealer what price you’ll pay for the car if you tradein your current one. The difference between both prices will tell you the value the dealer is placing on your trade-in
■ Wash your car but don’t clean it out. A dealer will take your car for a test drive and see that all your personal belongings have been taken out and the car has been cleaned and will know that you want a quick sale. He might offer you a lower deal in the hope that you will take it to get rid of the car quickly
■ When you have found the car you want, the next step is to check out the condition of the car and do a car history check before you buy.
If you decide to buy a brand new car then the car will be covered by its guarantee and warranty if you discover any issues soon after you buy it.
Before you buy, be aware of how long the warranty will last and what it covers.
This is not always the case with used cars, so you should make sure you check out the car as much as possible before you agree to buy it.
If you find something you are not happy with when you are checking then you can decide not to buy the car, or make a lower offer.
Bring a mechanic
If you find a car you like, you should hire a mechanic to do a complete check on it before you buy it. Always make sure you don’t hand over any money until you are happy with the condition of the car and you know what you are buying.
There are four main kinds of checks you should do before buying a second-hand car:
■ Always be sure to check the condition of the car.
■ Test drive the car.
■ Always check the history of the car.
■ Check the paperwork.
Michael Feely, sales manager, front, with sales executives Bertie Sheehan, Rob O’Driscoll, Ken Daly, Kevin Keenan, Killian Cronin, Ciaran Moore, Andrew Oliver and Shane O’Donoghue, pictured at the Audi Cork dealership at the Bandon Road roundabout, Bishopstown, Cork.
It is important that you buy a car that is practical for your lifestyle; if you have are involved in lots of activities, you’ll need a big boot.