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10 tips for buying a used car

Are you looking for a new car? These tips for buying a used car will help to ensure that you choose wisely.

1. Do your research: Know the market and know your choices. That way you won’t get caught out when the salesman asks if you’ve seen the new Picasso (that’s the Citroen Picasso and not a recently unearthed artwork!)

2. Decide which car is suitable for you (and your family): Do you need a hatchback? An estate? Five doors? There’s no point in eyeing up that two seater sports car when you have three children and a dog!

3. Engine size: Many people believe that bigger is better, but the smaller the engine the cheaper it will be to keep on the road. Weigh up the pros and cons for your situation.

4. Age of car: Older cars will be cheaper than new ones, but don’t overlook running costs. Older cars tend to have more mechanical problems and that inevitably leads to a lighter bank balance!

5. Fuel consumption: The price of petrol seems to be getting higher and higher, so having a car that gives you more miles to the gallon is a major bonus.

6. Condition of car: This is one of the more obvious tips for buying used cars, but remember to check the car for marks, bumps or hidden scratches - inside and outside. If you don’t mind a bit of wear and tear, it shouldn’t put you off buying – but you should be fully aware of what you are purchasing.

7. Expense of repairs: Always check how much it will cost to repair and maintain your car, as some models have very expensive parts. After all, you don’t want to be forking out a fortune for a specialised alloy wheel every time you get a puncture!

8. User reviews: General tips for buying used cars can only be useful up to a certain point - you need to consider the make and model too. Take onboard honest opinions about the cars good points and potential faults. No one knows the car better than those that have actually bought and driven it.

9. Consider whether to buy from a private seller or a used car dealer: Used car dealers are considered more trustworthy and reliable, but not all private sellers are out to scam you. Take along a mechanic to view the car, and if all is well you can normally negotiate a good bargain.

10. Always drive before you buy: Never sign your hard earned cash over without test driving the vehicle. The car may tick all the right boxes but if it doesn’t feel right to you when you’re driving, that’s all that matters.

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