Es­sen­tial things to con­sider when buy­ing a used car

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - USED CARS -

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.

War­ranty ad­vice

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.

Pic­ture: David Keane

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.

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