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Bargain pages cars - where do you start?

Bargain pages cars - pages on the Internet, pages in car publications or even pages in newspapers are all promising cars at a knockdown price. Publications like Auto Trader and What Car Magazine specialise in the car trade.

Buying a used car has never been simpler or so you are being led to believe. What these publications don't explain is the risk of buying a car that hasn't been properly maintained, that may be a subject of a hire purchase agreement or that may be on sale owing to serious issues under the bonnet.

In order to protect yourself when hunting for a bargain you should bring a mechanic along. If you don't know any mechanics personally then you can pay one that specialises in checking over used cars for prospective buyers. This service costs upwards of approximately £80 and you get a fully comprehensive report for your money. The benefits of this service means that you can buy with confidence. If you're not buying from a recognised dealership then you might want to consider running a check on the car's history.

This can be done online through websites like Carzone and for a small fee you can ensure that the car is not already on finance (this is hugely important as if a vehicle is sold before the finance on it is cleared then it still belongs to the finance company and can be repossessed irrespective of any private sale), that the car wasn't in a bad crash (again, another safety measure for yourself, as badly crashed cars may not be fully roadworthy no matter how attractive the bodywork looks), or that it was never used as a taxi. This checklist costs £20 and up depending on how comprehensive you want the information to be.

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