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What to Consider When Buying a Used Car

Aviva Car Insurance

Buying a brand-new car can put a significant financial strain on a family, especially if your family needs more than one car to make life easier. Now more than ever, buying a brand-new car is simply not an option for families, as financial priorities need to shift with the changes to our economy and workforce. 

Tips for buying a Used Car

New car sales in Ireland this April dropped a massive 96% when compared to the same month in 2019.This equals a drop from 8,904 units last April to 344 this April—clearly, we’re all experiencing the same need to forgo some of the big purchases we had planned. 

If you really need to trade in your current car however, buying a used car is the perfect alternative. There’s lots to consider making sure you get value for money and ask the right questions before buying. 

Before you start to shop around for a used car, you should think about the following:

Please note that all of our recommendations and statements are in keeping with the Government’s regulations and health advice during the Covid-19 outbreak at the time of publication.

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?

As of June 8th 2020*, most car dealerships in Ireland are re-open for sales, once they can abide by social distancing rules to ensure the safety of staff and customers.

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 (while maintaining the social distancing guidelines!) 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 logbook 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’ll hopefully find a safe, good value car for you and your family. We can handle the car’s protection from there. Now you’ve put so much effort into finding the perfect car, protect it with Aviva car insurance. Buy car insurance online, and get 10% off.  Get your quote today.2

Looking to buy a family car specifically? In episode two of our podcast series, we spoke to motoring expert Bob Flavin about everything you need to know before buying your family car. Remember, at Aviva we try to make the process of transferring your insurance to your new car as easy as possible with our online MyAviva car self-service tool.

For car insurance, you’re safe in the hands of Aviva.

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*Accurate at time of publication.

1. The Society of the Irish Motor Industry, https://www.simi.ie/en/news, May 2020.
2. Offer available when you take out a new policy online. Acceptance criteria, terms and conditions apply. All discounts applied subject to a minimum premium of €280 for car.

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