Buying a brand new car can put significant financial strain on a family, especially if your family needs more than one car to make life easier. Buying a used car is the perfect alternative, saving you a great chunk of money that can be used for other essentials like road tax and car insurance.
When choosing a used car there are a lot of things to keep in mind to ensure you are getting good value for your money. Have a read as we walk you through the things you should consider when searching for a used car, and the questions you need to ask when it comes to making a decision.
Before you start to shop around for a used car, you should make a decision on the following:
What can I afford?
It’s important to establish your budget for a car before you even begin to search. Be realistic about what you can afford without putting yourself under financial strain and be strict with this budget when searching for a car.
What year car should I choose?
The older the car you buy, the increased chances of mechanical and performance issues down the line. You’ll pay less for an older car, but you’ll end up spending more for servicing. Find out the full details on the false economy of older cars.
Buy from a dealer or private seller?
If you buy from a dealer, you’ve got more protection under consumer law. If buying from a dealer be sure to ask them if they’re a member of the Society of Irish Motor Industry (SIMI). If they are, it means they follow a code of ethics.
Always check a car’s history before buying. If buying from a private seller, you’re less protected by consumer law and the seller may not provide you with full or accurate information about the condition and history of the car, so be wary. Always view a car from a private seller with a mechanic or someone who has good knowledge of cars. You can search a used car’s history at Cartell.ie.
Questions to ask before buying:
When you decide what your budget is and what kind of car you’re looking for, it’s on to the exciting part of searching for your perfect car! When viewing used cars be sure to ask the seller the following questions:
- Will you give me a written warranty for the car?
You should expect one year’s warranty for a used car that is less than five or six years old, and six months warranty for a car older than this.
- Can I see the service record for the car?
If they cannot offer you any history of the car, it is highly recommended that you do not purchase the car.
- Has the car been maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines for servicing?
An example of this would be oil changes. These are extremely important. Enquire if the timing belts/chains have been replaced when they should have been.
Have a look for the service history log book and review the work that has been done and by who.
- Has the car been involved in any crashes?
Check if any parts of the car were badly damaged or replaced in the process.
- Has any bodywork or major mechanical work been carried out on the car?
Remember: Never buy a car in the dark. This can make it difficult to see any marks or damages to the bodywork.
- What is the mileage for the car?
Keep in mind that anything over 24,000km per year is very high mileage.
- Is the NCT for the car in-date?
- How many previous owners have there been?
Did the seller receive a full history of the car after the previous owners had it?
Cartell.ie can help here again, by informing you of the number of previous owners, if the car was used for taxi or commercial use, and if it was involved in any previous accidents that wrote the car off. It can also tell you if the car was imported and if there is any outstanding finance on the car that could transfer to you as the new owner.
- Has the car been imported? Have all charges been paid if so? VAT, VRT etc?
- Can I take it for a test drive?
If you follow these steps, you will hopefully find a safe, good value car for you and your family. We can handle the car’s protection from there.
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