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6 Top Tips For Buying a Used Car

tips for buying a used carBuying a second-hand car is something that ought to be easy. After all, there are plenty of used cars on the market and you will usually be able to find plenty of choice in your local area even if you are looking for a specific model. However, all too often people find that the process of buying a second-hand car is stressful. This is because, unless you are a qualified mechanic, it is difficult to know all the things that you should know to make a good buying decision. And, if you’re not a car dealer, you don’t necessarily know how to officially fill out all the paperwork to make the purchase either! This post will help you through that — with the top tips for buying a used car!

If you are looking for a used car and want to make sure you don’t inadvertently purchase a dud, then read on and find out some of the best tips that will help you navigate the used car market.

Top Tips For Buying a Used Car

I have bought many cars during my relatively young life, and truthfully, it’s not that hard. Sure, it can be a little intimidating, but once you understand the process and what you should maybe look out for, it’s really not bad at all. Take these, “top tips for buying a used car” to heart. They’ll likely keep you from buying a lemon and they’ll probably save you money, too!

Related: How Saved Thousands on Our New Used Truck!

1) Check how long the car has been on the market

To begin with, it is a good idea to find out how long the car you are thinking about buying has been on the market. If you are using a website where second-hand cars are listed, then this should be relatively easy to gauge. However, there is nothing stopping you from asking the vendor directly, either.

If a car has been on the market for a long time, then it is a sign that it is potentially overpriced. In addition, cars which have not been sold may have a sound reason that is putting other buyers off – like a mechanical issue. And if that’s true, you should proceed with caution.

2) Need to save time? A dealer can be a decent option

Although private car sales can be one of the best ways of getting hold of a bargain, this approach does mean a lot of effort on your part. By far the majority of private car sales are conducted by the current owner so, to compare one second-hand car with another, you will usually have to arrange two separate viewings in different locations.

This is not the case, of course, if you turn to a second-hand car dealer. However, used car salesmen have a reputation for sharp practice in many cases. Therefore, the best thing to do is to choose a reliable and trustworthy dealer who has an excellent customer service rating.

What you really need to confirm is how they deal with post-sales problems.

Some good car dealerships will sell second-hand cars with limited warranties, for example, something that can make all the difference if you come across a problem with your car in the weeks following your purchase. KAP Motors is one such car dealer that not only provides warranty but also excellent post-sales customer service. If you need help in buying a used car say a used Nissan Qashqai in Brighton? Visit KAP Motors and they will be sure to help you find what you are looking for.

3) Review the car body very carefully

It is also a good idea to check the bodywork of a second-hand car carefully.

Of course, all sorts of vehicles suffer from bumps and scrapes here and there and no car that has been on the road for any length of time will be totally devoid of them. That said, poorly carried out repair work may cover up a more serious problem with the chassis.

If you notice any repairs that look like they are there to hide something (paint cover-up, bondo, parts that shouldn’t be there…like a hose clamp…), it is probably better to walk away than to risk it. However, minor scratches do not mean there is a serious issue to worry about. In such cases, it will help you to negotiate a lower price if you have spotted them.

Related: 7 Reasons to Buy a Used Car Over a New Car

how to get the best deal on a used car4) Check the tire quality and tread

Another one of the top tips for buying a used car is to pay close attention to the tires of any second-hand car you are looking at.

Very often, tires have been worn down a lot by the time a car is put on the market. If the tread of a tire does not accommodate the rim of a 20p piece when you insert it (or, if a penny is inserted into the tread upside-down and you can still see all of Lincoln’s head….), then it’s time to get the tires replaced. And, this can be a pretty massive expense. If you still like the car, be sure to negotiate the price down because of well-worn tires. 

5) Look into the history of the car

Always ask to look at the logbook of any car you are interested in buying. A full service history is preferable but not always essential, especially for older cars.

Some private sellers will tell you that they have maintained the car themselves. Use your own judgement in such cases. Some people obviously have the know-how to carry out their own car services but if the owner doesn’t even know where the oil reservoir is, then it is highly likely that the car has not been well maintained.

6) Before buying the car, push every button

Finally, it is worth checking all of the internal operations of the car before buying it, too. Make sure that all of the electrics work by turning on the headlamps, the windscreen wipers and the heating. It is also a good idea to make sure the radio works and that the air-conditioning system is fully functioning before making an offer.

Top Tips For Buying a Used Car – Be Thorough!

Buying a used car on your own is no little thing, but it can be done – especially if you go in with a methodical process. Make a plan to talk to the owner, get a read on his personality and morality before even considering buying the car. Then, go through all the top tips for buying a used car above.

Even after you go through all the tips, there’s no saying you won’t end up with a lemon. But, your odds should be dramatically reduced!!

How about you? Do you have any more top tips for buying a used car?


AUTHOR LaTia Longuemire

My name is LaTia Longuemire. I enjoy writing, singing, and cooking in my spare time. My passion is helping others. At this stage in my lifetime, I'm primarily focused on my children. They are everything that keeps my world spinning.


  1. Thanks Latia for the awesome simple but hitherto unheard of tips. I prefer second hands cars due to the ruggedness of their parts compared to newer land,

  2. Hi, This is incredibly useful and informative articles .worth reading .Thanks yo so much for tips

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