If you are looking to buy a second-hand car, should you buy from a private seller or from a professional dealer?
The advantages of used car dealers
Second-hand car dealers hold several advantages compared to private sellers. Firstly, they may be able to offer you a warranty on your used car purchase. Secondly, they will be able to offer you a choice of cars and offer advice on which one is best for your own particular needs. Thirdly, dealerships can offer finance deals to help you with the cost of the car.
These days, most used car dealerships are trustworthy and have good reputations. Bear in mind when looking for a used car that prices will vary considerably depending on whereabouts in the country they are being sold from. For instance, the car dealers Dundee has to offer are likely to be able to offer more reasonable prices than car dealers in London.
The advantages of private sales
Private sales tend to be quite a bit cheaper than sales through dealerships. However, buying privately means that there is no chance of a warranty and sales tend to be very much ‘sold as seen’. Also, whereas dealers usually have their own mechanics to check their stock over and fix any problems, cars sold privately may have any number of minor glitches and may even have a major fault that is not apparent during the test drive.
All in all, car dealerships offer more advantages to the buyer than private sales normally do. Although private sales may be less expensive, the pitfalls of buying from an individual outweigh the cost savings in a lot of cases. Decent, reputable dealers are usually the best route to go down for those in the market for a new used car.
There is lots of coverage in the media at the moment about the continued rise in new car sales. New car sales have been increasing for 29 consecutive months now and the increase shows no signs of slowing down. New cars are not for everyone, however, and there are some compelling reasons why buying a used car can make more sense for many buyers. Here are five reasons why buying a used car could be more attractive than buying new.
Even the cheapest new cars have fairly large sticker prices. The cheapest new car on sale today in the UK is the Dacia Sandero at £5,995 and for many people, this is just beyond their budget. On the other hand, you can get a great selection of used cars in Birmingham and elsewhere in the Midlands for that sort of price or even lower. Many people will also want to avoid taking out a loan to buy their car and a low cost used car is often the only way of achieving this.
Get more for your money
The Dacio Sandero might be a decent motor, but it does not come with a great deal of it, and it is certainly not the most prestigious badge. If you decide to buy used, however, you can get quite a lot of car for that kind of money. Buying used means that you can balance buying an older, more prestige model with a newer, more modest one. These prestige marques often offer superb build quality, so buying an older model from one of these manufacturers can make practical sense as well as allowing you the pleasure of driving a smart motor.
Depreciation affects almost all cars, but it is most pronounced in the first year of the life of a new car. Many new cars will lose 30% of their value in the first year. Losses slow down after that, so buying a car that is a few years old can give you a better return when you come to sell it. If you buy a new car for £10,000 and sell it after one year, it will have cost you £3,000 in depreciation. Buy the same car at one-year-old for £7,000 and sell it after one year and it is likely to cost you closer to £1,400.
Get the best of both worlds
Many people cite peace of mind as one of the main reasons for buying a new car. They come with comprehensive manufacturers’ warranties, so unpleasant surprises are unlikely. Many of these warranties now last five years or more, however, so you can buy a used car and still be protected by the balance of the warranty.
Much is made of the green credentials of new cars, but few manufacturers will tell you that as much CO2 is emitted in the production of a new car as is given out in the first 100,000 miles of its life. If you buy a used car, you don’t have to worry about any of that produce CO2, as it has already been manufactured.
If you are considering buying a car, it can be well worth looking into secondhand vehicles, especially in the difficult economic climate. Here we have a look at some of the advantages of secondhand vehicles.
The biggest advantage of used cars is their lower cost when compared to brand new cars. New cars use a large proportion of their value in their first one or two years. This means that there can be some great bargains out there as even low mileage vehicles can be on the market at very low prices.
Secondhand cars are generally cheaper to insure than their new equivalents as they are considered to be less attractive to vandals and thieves and are less valuable to replace.
Honest Car Dealers
Most major cities have plenty of reputable secondhand car dealers to choose from when it comes to Used Cars Birmingham for example, is known to have lots of honest and competitively priced vendors. Secondhand car dealers are much more trustworthy than they used to be and the industry is much more regulated.
Lose Less Money
As used cars depreciate significantly more slowly than new vehicles you tend to lose more money when you come to sell your car down the line. Used car buyers will generally recoup a higher percentage of their initial outlay once they come to sell it on.
The used car market stocks a massive range of cars because it can include all cars from all years. Obviously, the new car market is much narrower in terms of choice. If you shop around then you should eventually be able to find most makes and models out there somewhere.
Manufacturers’ warranties used to only apply to the first owner of a car but these days more and more automobile makers are including transferable warranties with their used cars. Warranties are also getting longer in length with seven-year guarantees now provided by some manufacturers. This makes secondhand cars even more attractive. Some dealerships will also provide their own warranties.
Modern cars are very very reliable and have a much longer life than could have been expected of cars produced 10 or 20 years ago. Again, this makes used cars more appealing and decreases the risk for seller’s wanting to include a warranty with their vehicle. Replacement parts are also much cheaper than they once were, especially for popular brands such as Ford.
Because secondhand cars have been on the market for a while, any recurrent faults will have had time to surface. With new vehicles, any inherent faults will not have emerged yet.
Looking at the evidence above, it is hard to see a real reason why you wouldn’t opt for a secondhand vehicle. Some may worry about being ripped off but if you stick to a reputable seller and check the history of the car then there is no reason why buying used should be in any way risky.
With over 3.6 million used cars sold every year in the UK, there are many good reasons to choose a used car over new, with the sheer size of the market and choices available being one of the best reasons. The choice you will have is huge, especially if you are willing to travel a little further afield.
Escape the massive depreciation hit
It is estimated that new cars lose as much as a fifth of their value as soon as they are driven off the forecourt. This is a huge reduction and it is estimated that most new cars are worth less than half of the original purchase price after three years. From a financial perspective then, it obviously makes sense to buy a used car.
Factory warranties that last and last
Many of the big car manufacturers have extended the length of their warranties which means that even if you buy a used vehicle, you could pick up the tail end of the warranty. Reliability and service history are two of the biggest concerns when buying a used car, so having a manufacturer warranty could be seen to be a great bonus.
Who should you buy a car from?
Since most used car sales are made through car dealers, it pays to do your research to find a reputable one in your area. For example, if you are looking for used cars Worthing or the surrounding area, do a quick online search to find local dealers and have a chat with them about the sort of car you are looking for. Even if you don’t end up buying from there, you will gain invaluable knowledge about the type of cars that they stock and can decide whether you would want to do business with them.
What to watch out for
As with all large purchases you need to have your wits about you when buying a used car. There are many online and text companies that now provide a vehicle checking service. It’s vital to check the history of a used car – but you can also carry out some checks yourself. Always make sure that the paperwork is in order; that the MOT and service history make sense. Match the VIN from the V5C to the ones you find under the bonnet, on the windscreen and on the chassis.
Take your time and have a good look over the bodywork and check that everything works. For further peace of mind, some motoring organizations offer an inspection service at a small cost.
Remember that the best value is not necessarily the cheapest. Always consider the condition of the car in relation to its price and buy from a car dealer that you are confident will provide strong follow-up service if you need it.
In the course of the past 30 years, the lifespan of the average car has more than doubled. While a vehicle with 60,000 miles on the clock was once thought to be near the end of its useful life, a high proportion of vehicles, now make it well past 150,000. Any used car with a spotty service record is going to be a risky buy, no matter what badge it carries, but some models are known to do better at higher mileages than others.
Mercedes C 220 CDI
Mercedes have a reputation for making cars with engines that are virtually bulletproof and a large number of decades-old models still in regular use is a testimony to this. Reassuringly solid, the diesel variant of the C-Class is a popular executive car and, providing it has been serviced properly, will still have plenty of life left it in at the 100,000-mile mark.
The Honda Accord has long been one of the most reliable cars around so it’s no surprise that they are still sought after, even when the odometer breaks into six figures. New Accords are particularly popular with buyers who require a car capable of regular, lengthy journeys. A website for owners of high-mileage Hondas has dozens of members that have been awarded ‘badges’ for exceeding the half-million-mile mark.
BMW 320 d
According to consumer group Which? an ex-fleet, high-mileage BMW 320d is a smart buy. Fleet cars will have full-service history and this particular model is more than robust enough to go well beyond the six-figure mark. If you’re shopping for reliable, high-mileage used cars in Fareham, the BMW 320 should definitely be on your list of possibilities.
The Volvo marque has long been synonymous with both safety and reliability and the fact that there are many high-mileage examples still in daily use only serves to confirm this association. During the 1960s, Volvo was one of the first manufacturers to begin issuing medallions to owners who had reached distance milestones with their vehicles. At present, member Irv Gordon is leading the way having covered a remarkable 2.7 million miles in his P1800. The reputation for longevity continues with the latest generation of the executive car, the S60.
VW Passat/Audi A4
The VW Passat and Audi A4 share many components and have virtually identical engines. Both the 1.8 TDI and the 2.0 TDI are solid workhorses that keep going and going. This, combined with high levels of build quality from both marques means that buying a Passat or A4 with more than 100,000 miles on the clock need not be a concern. Many people consider a Volkswagen or Audi diesel with less than 80,000 miles on the clock to be barely run in.
Trevor Hawthorne is a seasoned motoring writer, contributing regularly to a wide range of magazines, blogs, and websites on everything from road tests to in-car entertainment. Having personally purchased several used cars in Fareham over the years, he has amassed a wealth of tips to help buyers snap up the best bargains.