Used Car Buyers Guide

Used Car Buyers Guide

It wasn’t so long ago that buying a used car was something of a minefield. The industry got a lot of bad press and the image of the used car salesman is one that still sticks in the mind. However, buying a used car these days is often a sound bet though and it can save you money too. The build quality of new cars has risen dramatically in recent years and many of these cars are sold with five or even seven-year warranties. These warranties can be transferrable to second owners, which makes buying a used car which is a few years old very compelling choice.

Indeed, many of the used cars St Helens has for Sale are perhaps two years old with three years of their warranty remaining. This is almost like buying a new car if the motor is a good one, but how do we check that? Before visiting a dealer you should do your homework and select the type of car that is right for your driving needs. Do you need a little city car or a motorway cruiser? Once you have decided on the type of car, select a few models that you like and check out what is in your price range. This will make you more confident that the deal you are getting from the dealer is a good one.


Checking the exterior

Once you have seen a car that meets your criteria, have a good look at the bodywork. Check that the gaps between panels are even and that there is no paint overspray on the seals around the doors, under the bonnet and in the boot. Any problems here could be signs of accident damage. Next, open the bonnet and check for any signs of leaks. Check the oil level and that the oil itself is clean and without grit. Also, take the oil filler cap off and look for a mayonnaise style gunk. This could mean expensive engine repairs.

Car Exterior


Looking over the cabin

Take some time to look around the cabin before you take a test drive. Make sure that all the instruments work and check all of the switches. Check that the overall condition matches the stated mileage. A sagging driver’s seat or shiny steering wheel could be signs of excessive mileage. Check for blue smoke on a startup out of the rearview mirror. On the road, make sure that the car does not pull to one side and remains true even with your hands off the wheel. The car should remain straight when you brake too and should both accelerate and brake smoothly. If anything doesn’t feel right, then walk away.

Car Cabin


The last thing to check is that the documentation matches the car and that the person selling it to you actually owns the car. It is worth carrying out a text check at this point to ensure the car has no outstanding finance and is not a write-off. With these checks, you could be driving a bargain.

Norman Ireland is a trader who buys classic and vintage used cars in St Helens to restore and resell. He often writes on topics concerning older and second-hand cars.