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Five used car buying mistakes to avoid

Sophie MumIn the rush to buy a great new set of wheels, it’s sometimes easy to move too quickly and make basic (and often costly) mistakes. Buying second hand can save you lots of money – maybe up to 40% off a new car, so here are five simple things to avoid when buying your next pre-loved car.

1/ Rushing in

We know what it’s like – the car looks great, the price is good, but you’re not sure and the salesman is giving a good pitch, ‘there’s someone else interested’; ‘I’ll offer you a special price’ and so on.

Everyone likes a deal, but don’t forego the basic checks – registration details, service history etc. If the car is right for you, it’ll still be there when you’ve checked it out properly. Websites such as www.honestjohn.co.uk can help you check out your potential car’s history.

2/ Not being selective about your choice of seller

Of course, using a dealer that offers official Ford warranties and checks, as well as RAC inspections, such as JenningsFordDirect, provides more reassurance than most, but there are lots of ways to buy a used car and making sure you use the right option for you is essential.

If you know a lot about cars, private sales may not daunt you. But if you’re less of an expert, a high quality dealer is likely to take away some of the stress.

3/ Failing to ask enough questions

Before you close the deal find out what the price includes. Does it come with an ‘approved’ vehicle check, a verification check like HPI and a reassuring warranty that’s better than the typical 3 months?

Be sure to check other things out too; ask to see documents such as the V5C registration documents, MOT certificates and service history details. Ask how the new DVLA car taxation rules will affect you ie when can you tax the car, remembering that you can no longer drive away a ‘new’ car you’ve just bought when it’s still taxed by the previous owner.

Turn detective and worry if the seller seems less than keen to answer your questions or provide the information you’re asking for.

4/ Paying the list price!

Admittedly it’s not terribly British and few females know how far to go here, but don’t assume you have to pay the asking price – especially if you’re paying cash.

Remember you’re the one in a strong position – there are thousands of cars for sale and you, as a buyer, are a very valuable asset. Thisismoney.co.uk has valuable tips about haggling, as well as advice on assessing potential repair costs and hidden money traps.

5/ Not trying it out for size

There’s a reason that test drives exist. Rather like the motoring equivalent of the changing room, the test drive lets you try out your prospective car for size. From the very practical ‘can I reach the pedals comfortably?’ and ‘is my vision good enough in this car?’ to the rather more subjective ‘do I feel good in this?’ test driving gives you the opportunity to sample how owning the car will feel day-to-day.

And if it doesn’t feel totally right, don’t be afraid to walk away because there will be another better car that’s right for you, given shopping time.

guestblog This is a Guest Blog from Jennings Ford Direct, part of Jennings Motor Group, the North East’s largest independent car dealer group. All used Ford cars come with a package of reassuring benefits including comprehensive HPI and RAC checks as well as an impressive 2 year warranty.

NB: Jennings has won Ford’s prestigious ‘Chairman’s Award’ on 17 separate occasions over the last 20 years.