Where's the best place to buy a used car?

Car Shopping Tips

With summer on the horizon and road trips making a well deserved comeback, now is the perfect time to treat yourself to a new set of wheels. But before you hit the road in your new machine, not only will you have to decide what brand of car you are looking for, but also where you will purchase the vehicle.

Best4 Warranty have broken down the pros and cons of different places you can buy your used car.

Franchise Dealer

Franchise dealerships sell and specialise in a single manufacturer’s vehicles.


  • Dealing with expert: Your auto salesman will have an in-depth knowledge of the specific franchise you’re thinking about purchasing.
  • Face-to-face service: someone to answer your questions.
  • Everything under one roof from sales to servicing.


  • Most expensive way to purchase: This level of service and back up doesn’t come cheap, in fact, it can be the most expensive way to buy a used car!
  • Tend to focus on newer cars rather than old.
  • Less choice if a one-branded dealership: If you’re not sure on the brand of car you then you may have to go to multiple dealers.

Independent Dealer

Independent dealerships cover a huge range of places.


  • Lower price than franchise dealer.
  • More legal protection and additional services than you would with a private seller or auction house.
  • Wider choice of older cars than main dealers.


  • Variable standards for cars and customer service.
  • Difficult to negotiate price: dealing with professionals means haggling is less likely.
  • Dealers may not have the intimate knowledge of the car you’re buying.

Car Supermarket

Car supermarkets have cheap prices and high turnaround, making them attractive for young car buyers.


  • Low prices.
  • Lots of cars: having a wide choice of cars and fast turnover means you could buy a car and drive it away on the same day.
  • Most sites offer finance.


  • Concentrate mainly mainstream on models so you may struggle if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary.
  • May need to pay admin fee on top of car’s advertised price.
  • May offer lower part-exchange prices and warranty.

Buy Online

Buying a car online allows you to look for your vehicle at your own pace, in your own home.


  • You are also protected by robust consumer laws which includes a 14-day period during which you can return the car for a refund.
  • Can shop all across the UK: Many of these can be delivered to your door.
  • Easy to compare prices.


  • Not possible to test drive the car.
  • Main dealers are more knowledgeable about a particular brand.
  • Servicing: You would still need to visit the local dealer for servicing.

Private Seller

Private sales can be a happy hunting ground for certain types of cars.


  • Very cheap: prices can be very attractive as they often want to get rid of the old car quickly to make space for a new one.
  • Wide range of vehicles all ages.
  • Test drive often possible.


  • Tend to be older cars.
  • Can be trickier to arrange to buy as you need to find a convenient time to view and test the car.
  • Must make careful checks for information such as the car’s mileage and history.

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