Buying a used family car is a great way to save money. Within a few clicks of a mouse, you have access to thousands of used cars. However, how to you separate the good, from the bad, and ensure you buy the right car for you?
Our guide will provide you with a road map and reveal some top tips when buying a used family car.
What car do I need?
This is different to what car you want. We all have the idea of the car we want, but it is right for you and your needs?
We would always advise you create a list of essential requirements the car must have. This can sometimes be hard to start, so let us give you a few ideas. Wats your price range? What boot size do I need, does it need to fit a pram for example? Does it have child seat fixing points? It is economical to run?
They are also other areas which you may want to consider. If you cover a lot of distance, do you need cruise control? Do you own a caravan or trailer, and therefore does it need a towing point? Does the car need to fit within a small garage?
These types of questions will help you create your list of requirements to ensure you start on the right track.
What to check before test driving a car?
When you have picked a few cars which meet your requirements, they are some checks you can complete yourself that will help you narrow your selection even more.
Always communicate with the seller before and collect as much information as possible, to help in your decision-making process. This can often include the mileage information, mot and tax dates. We would also advise ensuring you know the Reg number and Vin number as this will allow you to complete a REG CHECK.
For less than £10, you can use this information and discover the complete history of the vehicle. From checking for any outstanding finance, police records as well write off information you can ensure the car is suitable to buy..
Without the addition of an online vehicle reg check, this article would well over 30 checks to complete before purchasing a used family car. However, this check completes so much of the hard work for us, and takes a lot of the stress away.
Check Valuations Online
This one may seem obvious, but do you do it properly. To make sure you know to current ‘going rate’ of the car, make sure you compare more than just the make and model. For example, mileage will play a major role in the vehicle value. If this is high then you can use this as a bargaining tool.
Also if one of your requirements was an in-build sat nav. Make sure you compare the price with other cars with the same features. Some optional extras will also change the ‘going rate’ of a vehicle.
Car Viewing Tips
Firstly, never view a car on your own. Always view a used car with a friend or family member. As well as providing additional safety, they may also see or hear things that you don’t.
We would usually advise arranging any car viewings at the home of the seller. We would always be suspicious if they would only let you view the car in a public area such as a carpark or petrol station. This could mean they don’t want you to know where they live if there are any issues with the car.
Try to arrange a viewing on a good weather day too! Don’t go when its dark or raining as this can easily disguise or hide any blemishes or defects on the car. The rain droplets or poor light can easily hide scratches, dents and missing parts that you would easily see in better conditions.
Another key area to check is the locks and windows. Check they are the same at both sides, as differences could highlight any repair from an attempted brake in. Check the central locking opens all doors, and importantly check the manual locking also works. Don’t forget to check the windows fully open and close, and if the car has a sunroof this works as it should. If you begin noticing a lot of defects but you like the car, it may be worth having an independent inspection to ensure these are just cosmetic and no structural issues are hidden.
However, the inspection of the car does not stop on the outside. Make sure you inspect inside the vehicle too! Look at the center console, door cards, seats and even look under any mats.
As well as allowing you to view the vehicle properly, and forming part of your decision if this car is right for you, these small defects can also become a powerful negotiating tool.