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Sensible precautions when buying used cars

With all the focus on the UK’s booming new car market, it is easy to forget how big the used car market is. Actually, it’s three times larger than the new car market. Used cars can make for excellent bargains, especially where more modern models offer excellent reliability and perhaps even the balance of a manufacturer’s warranty. If you are buying from a dealer, you may pay a little more than a private purchase but you are offered some protection.

With all the focus on the UK’s booming new car market, it is easy to forget how big the used car market is. Actually, it’s three times larger than the new car market. Used cars can make for excellent bargains, especially where more modern models offer excellent reliability and perhaps even the balance of a manufacturer’s warranty. If you are buying from a dealer, you may pay a little more than a private purchase but you are offered some protection. Buying from a private individual can be cheaper but you need to take some sensible precautions to avoid some common, and costly, pit falls.

Most cars these days are bought with finance packages so it is absolutely vital that you check the car you are intending to buy has no outstanding finance. A quick search online will reveal lots of companies who will carry out a car history check for only a few pounds. If you are serious about buying the car then this is money well spent. You can even do the check from your mobile phone before you part with any cash for your car. The consequences of not doing so can be ruinous. Even though you paid for the car in good faith, it may not be yours and can be repossessed. If a car has outstanding finance then it is still owned by the finance company and they may legally take it from you. You would then have to take the seller to court to get your money back. A simple HPI check will uncover the history of your car, including outstanding finance and whether it has been stolen or written off.

Don’t be pressured by limited time deals. If the price looks too good to be true then it probably is. You can easily assess a car’s value by using online services or just looking at similar models for sale. If the seller is asking for much less than this then you should be asking why. Only buy when you are comfortable that all is well. Only buy the car at its registered address. Meeting elsewhere may sound convenient but it is often a cover for a stolen vehicle. Be wary of a husband or wife selling a car on behalf of their partner. They have no right to do so and the partner could legally take the car back. Again, you would be left going to court to get your money back from the spouse. Only certain classes of write-offs can legally be returned to the road. Make sure yours isn’t category A or B.

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