Used Car Viewing Guide

Guide to buying a used car

Cold, wet mornings and long dark evenings can put the most enthusiastic car buyer off, yet when temperatures plummet so can the prices of cars – especially convertibles, making this time of year perfect for nabbing a bargain.

However, don’t be taken in by a rock bottom price tag without conducting the proper checks. With one in four vehicles on outstanding finance, you stand to lose all your cash and the car, if you get duped by a fraudulent seller.

You should stay away from 4x4s, as they typically go up in price, especially in bad weather. That said, if you’re looking to cruise through the summer in a convertible, you could snag yourself a hot deal on a cold day.

Of course, buying a car with outstanding finance remains the biggest risk, but almost 400 vehicles a day have a mileage discrepancy. Dodgy sellers can turn back the clock and add hundreds or even thousands to the price tag.

Not only could you end up paying over the odds, but the vehicle could be older or in need of repair sooner than you thought. Each day 30 cars are registered as stolen, so you could risk losing all your money on a car that belongs to someone else.

Used Car Viewing Guide

  • Viewing in the rain– raindrops can hide scratches and dents. Take care to ensure any marks can be cleaned away easily. Running the car through the car wash just to make sure could save you hundreds of pounds and will show any leaks. Bring a torch with you as it will help to check under the bonnet.
  • Test drive in shoes– if you’ve come out in boots, bring a change of footwear so you can see how the car handles the rest of the year. Heavy boots can also make it harder to drive.
  • Icy conditions– If it’s icy, head to a car park where you will have more space to put the car through its paces. As with test drives on a sunny day you will want to test the brakes so make sure you pick a quiet road that has no ice to avoid skidding or potential accidents.
  • Bring a coat– Although it may be cold now, you will want check how the car will perform in both summer and winter. A good way to try this is to leave on your coat at first and see how well the car’s air conditioning cools you. Then, take it off and see how long it takes to warm up.
  • Take a Test – Cold, damp weather presents unique challenges when it comes to test driving a used car. However you should try to drive as you would in the summertime, take the vehicle up to speed then hit the brakes to test the ABS. When braking, see how straight the car comes to a stop, as pulling in one direction can indicate brake or alignment problems. Also try taking the car to a large car park and see how it handles on areas where black ice can appear.


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