Tips for Buying a Cheap Second Hand Car

Written by Karen Bryan

The newest cars on the market are often unattainable for most, making second-hand cars the preferred choice for many people wanting to get behind the wheel. Buying a new set of wheels can prove somewhat daunting, though, with a large number of us not having a clue what to look for.

Whether purchasing a second-hand car through a dealership or a private seller, there are several key points to take into consideration before parting with your hard earned cash.

1. Consider all the costs

When buying a car, many people fail to consider all the initial and ongoing costs necessary to maintain the vehicle. Being a motorist certainly does not come cheap, and beyond the initial payment, which can be made outright or through one of the many UK car finance brokers, there are a plethora of other continuing costs involved. Fuel, insurance, tax, MOT, parking permits and vehicle maintenance all must be taken into consideration when budgeting for a car.

2. The vehicle age affects the price tag

A lot of people do not realise this, but thousands of pounds can be saved just by purchasing a car over one year old. On average, new cars in the UK cost around £28,000, but after just one year and around 10,000 miles later, the price significantly falls to £21,000.

Ask yourself if you really need the latest model when all you need is something that runs well and can take you from A to B. Many used cars work just as well and can help save a huge chunk of your budget, which can go towards other important running costs.

3. Certain vehicles are cheaper to run than others

The size of the engine on the car you wish to buy can affect its running costs, with vehicles with smaller engines normally being cheaper to run, since they burn fuel less quickly. As such, it is wise to keep fuel economy in mind when deciding which type of used car to purchase. Opting for a one-litre engine instead of a bigger two-litre one will make a noteworthy difference. On the whole, smaller cars are also cheaper to insure.

Moreover, petrol cars are normally less expensive than diesel ones, both at the pump and when purchasing the vehicle itself. In addition, the future of diesel vehicles also looks rather gloomy, with a public backlash from environmental groups, as well as rising tax costs and the introduction of low-emission zones in major cities.

These factors mean that more and more consumers are opting for hybrid cars, which are often cheaper to run and come with zero tax rates! These cars do cost more to purchase, but they also tend to retain their value when they are sold on.

4. Always shop around

Just as we would do when booking a flight or taking out a new mobile phone contract, shopping around for a good deal is important when looking to buy a second-hand car. Visiting several dealerships and taking note of all the different price tags quoted to you is a good place to start, and gives you leverage when trying to haggle.

Car dealers are used to people bargaining with them, which is why the golden rule of buying a second-hand car is to always ask for a lower price! Walk in knowing the price you expect to pay and be friendly but firm.