It’s almost a year now since my beloved old car got written off whilst parked outside of my own house. I’m not sure what was more annoying, the fact that the car got written off and it wasn’t my fault, or that I was then forced into finding a new car very quickly.
I found it a really stressful time. I had the use of a hire car from my insurance company, but since the claim had all gone through and was near to being resolved, I was running out of time. If I didn’t act quick, I was going to be without a car. Every spare minute was spent searching for the right one. I didn’t want to buy just anything, it had to be right. It’s not like I was spending just a couple of quid. It was thousands and so I had to be happy with my decision.
It all worked out in the end and I found my new car. However, there were some things that I learnt along the way that proved invaluable when it comes to buying used cars.
The best time of year for buying a used car
I spent a lot of time online searching for a new car and so during my research, I discovered that actually the best time of year to be buying a used car is actually the end of March, June, September or December. This is because a lot of dealers have targets to meet and they are based on quarterly sales. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a choice and needed my car at the beginning of February. Chances are, had I been able to wait, I would have come away with a better price.
Which cars are the cheapest to run?
Smaller cars are cheaper to run. A large engine is likely to burn more fuel than a smaller one so engine size is an important thing to consider if fuel economy is a factor for you. Having said that, if you want to use your car to do higher speeds and long journeys rather than toddling around, then a bigger engine might be more beneficial.
Diesel cars are more expensive than petrol. My old car was a diesel and my current car is a petrol. I had a diesel because I was doing more miles when I bought it. I didn’t warrant a diesel anymore. I have definitely noticed the difference in the amount I spend on fuel and it doesn’t cost me as much to fill up these days.
CO2 emissions affect Car Tax. My last car cost £30 a year to tax. I thought that was good. My current car costs just £20 a year. This is because the emissions are lower and so it falls into a different tax bracket. It’s always worth checking how much the tax is going to cost a year before you commit yourself.
Check online auction sites
There is no hard and fast rule that says you have to buy your new car from a dealer or even from a private seller. Online auction sites such as BPI Auctions have a vast array of vehicles available that you might not find on other sites. There’s every chance you could grab yourself a bargain you might not elsewhere, it’s always worth looking everywhere.
If you pay something for the car on a credit card it will give you protection
Not everyone has credit cards and not everyone wants to use them, but I discovered during my research that if you can pay the smallest amount towards your new car, even if it’s just the deposit, using a credit card, you are protected by Section 75. This means you are protected if something goes wrong further down the line.
Car insurance is needed before you take ownership of the car
It sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s worth bearing in mind, if anything happens to the car on your first journey home, it’s your responsibility. Besides, it’s illegal to drive on public roads without insurance, so don’t let the excitement of buying a new car cause you to forget to sort the insurance otherwise that’s one hell of an extra expense and inconvenience you can do without!
These are just a few things that are worth taking into consideration when buying a used car. There are many, many more. I would recommend really doing your research so that you don’t get caught out. Whilst it is exciting, it is quite daunting and should be taken seriously. No one wants a bad experience spoiling what should be an exciting time.
Have you any extra tips you can add to this list? Let me know in the comments.
written in collaboration