personal finance

Top tips for buying a second-hand car this January

With most people having spent up on Christmas presents, or clothes shopping in the January sales, buying a car right now couldn’t be a better financial decision. With car dealers struggling to meet their sales targets and some sellers under pressure, it is easy to bag a bargain. Buying a second-hand car makes for a good investment too given how fast new cars lose their value. If you’d like a few top tips on what to look out for when buying a second-hand car this season, read on…

  1. Know what you want

It’s crucial to know exactly what you want in your car. Do you need a built-in sat-nav because you drive long-distances a lot? Is the eco-rating of the car important to you instead? Or do you just want something simple to get you from A to B as a first car? Whatever it is you need, make sure you have a clear list worked out before you go to a seller. If you’re unsure of the kinds of things you need from your car, check out this brief guide to the best used cars.

  1. Don’t rule out car dealerships

A lot of people are concerned about going to a dealership, fearing those stereotypical salesmen who will bully you into buying something, or worse yet, scam you. There is no need to let the small percentage of horror stories steer you away from a great deal though, especially at this time of the year. In January, salesmen need to hit their end of month targets more than ever, to make up for the slump in sales. This means they’ll be more open to negotiation on whatever used cars for sale they have.

  1. Always stick to your budget

Speaking of negotiating, don’t waver from your budget. Remember that you have the upper hand here as the customer, you’re the one in charge. So, if you’re haggling and you’re not happy with the final figure, tell them that that’s your final offer, leave your details with them and tell them to give you a call should they change their mind. You should always walk away from something that doesn’t feel right, and in January, it’s more than likely your phone will be ringing by the end of the day.

  1. Know what to check for

When you go to have a look around a few cars and test drive them, before you do anything or sign on any dotted lines, you need to thoroughly check over the car. Start with the outside – what’s the overall condition of the body? Are the tyres the correct tread depth? Inside the car, check every button and dial, from making sure all lights are in working order, to the radio and air conditioning system. Remember, if you spot any minor faults, you can either ask for a further discount, or walk away.

What second-hand car are you planning on buying this year?

Guest post by Liam Lewis

Liam Lewis is a student of law at the University of Chester. In his spare time, Liam enjoys reading and writing about legal issues for different websites and blogs. He endorses Isaac Rosenfeld in what he once sagely stated “No man suffers injustice without learning, vaguely but surely, what justice is.”

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