Buy a Second Hand Care Without Breaking the Bank

By: Andrew Regan

These days, purchasing a car can be a minefield of uncertainty - especially so for the majority of us who do not have detailed technical knowledge of the workings of the car industry. But having a basic knowledge of how the second-hand car industry works could end up saving you thousands of pounds; providing you do some careful research beforehand!

Due to the way that dealers classify the second-hand car market, motorists can often save themselves thousands of pounds on a second-hand car if they shop with care. Depending on such factors as age, mileage and condition of the vehicle, second-hand cars normally fall into one of three categories. The first of these categories is nearly new cars, which are those vehicles that are up to one year old, have very low mileage (usually sub-10,000 miles) and can cost thousands of pounds less than an equivalent brand new car. The old adage of a car being immediately worth three thousand pounds less the moment you drive it off the forecourt may no longer be true - but the principle certainly is.

The next category of second-hand car involves the most commonly seen used cars on the road today and constitutes the vast bulk of the second-hand car market. This category includes those cars which are one to three years old, are in good condition and have reasonably low mileage on the clock - making them excellent vehicles for the cost-conscious buyer. Most dealers will have a wide selection of cars of this type, and if properly checked over for faults and maintenance issues will usually constitute a safe purchase. Cars that are over three years old are generally a little more tricky with a much larger variance in quality; these cars may cost as little as ?2-300, but as always at the lowest end of any market, you get what you pay for.

When looking for a second-hand car, a good piece of advice is generally to stick to independent dealers. This is because dealers with affiliations to major brands of vehicle generally receive a commission for every car they sell, and as such can often be even less impartial than non-affiliated salesmen. Affiliated dealerships are also generally less willing to consider other brands or other makes of car. However, although generally favouring one brand of car and being more expensive initially, the flip side of the coin is that affiliated dealerships (or "main dealers") do offer brand specific after sales care and servicing, hold a large stock of spare parts and offer good, multiple year warranties.

Another option to consider when looking around for a second-hand car is to cut out the middle man entirely and use the internet to search online. Online car buying has exploded in recent years and generally provides the cheapest way of buying second-hand cars, as advertising costs for both car sites and independent sellers are much cheaper than via traditional channels, as well as helping to avoid the high pressure sales environment that is often associated with buying a second-hand car.

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