How to buy a second hand car?

Discussion in 'transport' started by nick, Jun 26, 2017.

  1. nick

    nick Pleomorphic Adenomas R us

    I find myself in need of another car. I know the model and the spec and age I need (effectively a replacement for my old car which just got written off (E350 estate with 7 seats)). What's the best way to go about it?
    - I have found a (very) few on Autotrader - is there anywhere else I should try to look, or is it the Google of car hunting?
    - Have found one trader with 3 of the car I am after. What is the best way to approach checking the cars out and getting a good price, so as to minimise the gap between the write off value of my dead car and the replacement cost (they are all listed at ~£15k)

    What to look out for? I know not to kick the tyres, but that is about it: when I bought the last one I thought it would be clever to check the oil was clean, only to be told that the car has no dip stick !

  2. dessiato

    dessiato Because I could not stop for death

    First, autotrader is pretty much first port of call to find what's available and what the prices are.

    Second, look at local dealers for what they've got and how much they are selling at.

    When you've found the car you are interested in check its history. There's a lot of online info through eg DVLA

    If you don't know anything at all about cars, get someone who does to check it with you.

    Take it for an extended test drive, about twenty minutes. Not just up and down the road.

    Assuming you are happy with all of this make an offer. Start at the low prices you've got from your research and point out the sale is cash. Usually there's some wiggle room. Be prepared to walk away as they try to pressure you up. If they come up with an acceptable price buy it.

    Don't let them think you are in a hurry and desperate, don't let them think you won't walk away if you can't get a deal.

    And wear a decent pair of shoes and a decent watch, if you have one. Look like you mean business.
  3. pseudonarcissus

    pseudonarcissus fluttering and dancing

    List all the possible cars by age, price and mileage, so you know where abouts a target car comes.
    If you go to a dealership they make their profit by arranging finance; there's not much scope for a discount for cash at the moment. They will offer alternative sweeteners like "gap insurance" or fancy turtle wax that cost them practically nothing. I bought a car a couple of weeks ago; the salesman said the market is tough for them at the moment mainly because so many people are being declined finance.
    A former PCP car would be good; you can be confident it's been serviced during its 3 years on PCP.
    For a car where a lot are coming off PCP an auction might not be a bad idea, you'll know from the mileage if it's a former minicab.
    If you ever drive to London make sure it's Euro4 (petrol) (2006 or newer) or Euro 6 (diesel) (2015 or newer) otherwise you'll be paying £12.50/day on top of the congestion charge. Diesels in the South East will be shedding value fast.
  4. nick

    nick Pleomorphic Adenomas R us

    Thanks both
    Yes it will be in London. I suspect my wallet won't stretch to 2015 or newer (I live just outside the sarf circular). I think I am going to have to accept the extra 12.50 pollution charge as it appears nigh on impossible to get a non diesel E class estate that isn't an AMG beast. However, I am a good(ish) citizen and cycle on a daily basis: the car is for weekends and holidays - and will only occasionally go into the Congestion / ULEZ zone)
  5. nick

    nick Pleomorphic Adenomas R us

    Dealerships are probably out of my price range - having newer vehicles. I suspect my likely retail experience is going to be more of the Swiss Tony market segment
    kebabking likes this.
  6. Winot

    Winot I wholeheartedley agree with your viewpoint

    Have you looked at car club membership to see if that would be cheaper?
    sealion likes this.
  7. Bahnhof Strasse

    Bahnhof Strasse A-wob a-bob bob

    Was very concerned about this possibility when we got a second hand car last year, 13 plate diesel. But it really doesn't seem to be the case. Perhaps if you were trying to sell it in or very close to the zone it would be, but prices currently haven't changed at all.
  8. bi0boy

    bi0boy Power User

    Get a Mondeo from Motorpoint, no haggling and you won't end up with a Mercedes.
    kebabking likes this.
  9. hash tag

    hash tag member

    If you know the year and model of car you want you can check sites like this for known faults Honest John
    Once you have found a car check for outstanding finance or has it been in a serious accident Official HPI Check® | Car History Check & Vehicle Check Experts | HPI Check check for MOT history Check the MOT history of a vehicle - GOV.UK. Another place to check prices and forums Used Cars for sale with PistonHeads
    Does that make of car has it's own forum/owners club where you can go for information.
    I understand car supermarkets are very popular these days.
  10. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat Santa is an evilous man

    there is a current / recent consultation on a plan for the north / south circular to become the clag charge boundary in a couple of years. not sure what current state of play is but would be worth looking into.

    you can get the likes of the aa to do an independent engineers report on a car you are looking at.

    if i read right and you're considering 15k on a car then a hundred quid or so for this is probably a good idea
    BassJunkie and mauvais like this.
  11. hash tag

    hash tag member

    With regards to the congestion charging, there is nothing set in stone yet. The year is subject to change as is the charge ad the boundary. I have tried to find out whats happening....
  12. pseudonarcissus

    pseudonarcissus fluttering and dancing

    I think there will be an emissions charge in the existing congestion charge area this October. The wider zone is likely to be 2018 or 2019. It could be north/south circular or M25
  13. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    When I was last looking to buy a used car I made myself this checklist.

    I was looking at cheaper cars than you are so some may not apply.

    On the Advert and over the phone check :
    MOT, how long to run?
    Road Tax, how long to run? (now this doesn't apply)
    Timing belt, when replaced, do they have the invoice?
    Any documented service history?
    Do they have the radio code?
    What is their reason for selling?
    If dealer, any warranty?
    Any MOT history to validate mileage?
    Registration for text check & Ins check

    By phone:
    with REG "text check" for ins right off
    Insurance company, check insurance cost

    When with the car, check :
    Windscreen for cracks or chips
    Tyres for wear
    Engine bay for oil leaks and rust
    Head for blowing w engine running
    Radiator for staining indicating a leak
    Under the car, Sills for rust
    Under, exhaust for corrosion (if poss)
    If I have an assistant, check all lights work
    Brake disks for wear
    Boot around spare wheel for water leaks

    When road testing check:
    Full lock left and right, drive and listen for worn CV joints
    - (a knocking sound front wheel drive cars only)
    Stall the engine on the clutch to check for slipping
    All gears inc. reverse
    Braking in a straight line or pulling to a side

    There are more ..
    TopCat, bimble and dessiato like this.
  14. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    Remember that MOT history is online now, you just need the numberplate.

    As Puddy_Tat suggests, if you can agree the logistics, you could arrange a mechanical inspection with an independent garage or e.g. the RAC.
  15. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat Santa is an evilous man

    you can do the mot / mileage check online.

    on the tax front, you can't now buy a car with part of a year's tax on it, you have to tax it before you drive it

    eta - personal experience is that garages seem less inclined to put 'advisory' stuff on the mot now its public domain
  16. T & P

    T & P |-o-| (-o-) |-o-|

    I've only ever owned three cars. One was brand new. The others were used and had both come from friends. I don't own one now but I've heard so many horror stories about used cars that I'd be reluctant to buy one from someone I don't know, whether private or dealer, certainly with anything more than 5-6 years old.

    Whenever I see those cars parked on the street with 'illegal' price cards of a few hundred Pounds I have to wonder what percentage of them last any longer than the next MOT.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
  17. mx wcfc

    mx wcfc Well-Known Member

    I had two cars I bought like that. It was all I could afford, and if the car made it to the next MOT, that was a result. I knew I was buying a heap of shit, but it was less than £100 (long, long time ago), and if it lasted me a few months (and not killed myself/anyone else) I'd done alright. I do wish I'd had the money to do up the Capri though.

    ps - I do not recommend this.
    T & P likes this.
  18. dessiato

    dessiato Because I could not stop for death

    Buying cars from the roadside needs a lot of practical car knowledge. If you are to get something even half decent.
  19. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Note everything that is wrong with the car, in micro detail, and use that to make a much reduced offer to the seller. If they refuse you are now in a position to start splitting the difference and should end up with a saving of some level.
    dessiato likes this.
  20. Pac man

    Pac man Banned Banned

    Try to negotiate an extedned warranty from the dealer and dont buy too far away, that way you are close at hand if things need fixing/servicing.
  21. hash tag

    hash tag member

    Do extended warranties actually mean very much? When you look at the small print you will probably find lots of things are not covered for lots of different reasons, mileage, service history Etc. The good old sale of goods act will protect against a many things for a while.

    PS for checking MOT's online see earlier post!
  22. Pac man

    Pac man Banned Banned

    I think the standard warranty is about 3 months, like you say cover is limited, i expect Sale of Goods Act, s13 and 14 i think, only extends to about 3 months or so, Im not sure to be honest, it was 6 months then it may have changed. I would want a 6 month warranty at least and preferably 1 year, which is what i took out on my 207, but it was a 50 mile journey to the garage so lesson learnt for next time..but the exteded warranty was handy (when electrical fault fucked engine) especially for someone like myself that knows very little about cars.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
  23. hash tag

    hash tag member

    Sale of goods act depends on how and where the car was bought and whether it's new or not. In a private sale, you get nothing. In some auctions you can get a very short warranty.
  24. nick

    nick Pleomorphic Adenomas R us

    Thanks - I have located a few in Wembley, Reading and Gravesend so it looks like I will be wandering round the M25 to take a look see once I get a settlement figure for my deceased car
  25. Poi E

    Poi E Well-Known Member

    1. Drink.
    2. Get on eBay. Win old barge that does 12 gallons to the mile.
    3. Pick up car from some Pakistani spice merchants in Salford.
    4. Be fucking amazed when (a) it gets you home (b) it is actually in really good order and (c) your partner does not get grumpy and actually really likes it.

    Worked for me.
    Maggot, marty21, Slo-mo and 8 others like this.
  26. nick

    nick Pleomorphic Adenomas R us

    2b. Negotiate so badly with the car dealer, who saw you coming before you were even born, that you end up increasing the price and not decreasing it

    *Other stereotypes also available (though I started it by referencing Swiss Tony)
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
    A380 likes this.
  27. plurker

    plurker tú no tienes la culpa mi amor que el mundo sea feo

    1) Go to an auction with some really top-end £50k+ cars (E-type, Aston, Mk 1 Escort Lotus, that kind of vibe)
    2) Buy the beautiful but not in the league of the others, that slips under the dealers' radar, for way cheaper than you could find it on eBay
    3) be scared when the window drops out half-way home on the M-way.
    4) realise it's a super-easy fix at the services and you've just bought an awesome car very cheap

    Worked for me. Could't be arsed trawling round the SE for what I wanted, so took a punt.
  28. Albert

    Albert Well-Known Member

    1) Go to auction for the 1st time with sketchy mate (who knows a lot about cars)
    2) Get a bit stoned
    3) When mate gets frustrated / bored that I haven't taken part in any auctions, proceed to bid on next vaguely appropriate vehicle
    4) End up with the winning bid for a Suzuki Liana (WTF), which smells of dead animals (previously owned by a Pest Control company) with no V5 or spare key.

    Actually the car was fine in a so bad it's good kind of way. My other half was not too impressed though and said it was the sort of car my mother would drive.
    Maggot, Lazy Llama, Poi E and 4 others like this.
  29. A380

    A380 How do I change this 'custom title' thing then?

    Or my cousin's approach.

    Listen to advice not to buy an ex police traffic first generation ultra high mileage Volvo T5.

    Buy an ex police traffic first generation ultra high mileage Volvo T5.

    Watch as the rear wheel overtakes you on the M6 on the way home.
    TopCat, Ax^, extra dry and 11 others like this.
  30. Poi E

    Poi E Well-Known Member

    They sent me home with samples. Very nice enterprising young men.
    Chemical needs, A380 and nick like this.

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