How to buy a good used car? Step by step guide (2022)

13 Min Read
Buy a good used car

Acquiring a vehicle more expediently and cost-effectively can be accomplished by purchasing a used automobile.

The opportunity is enormous, but so are the risks involved. In this scenario, the risk associated with overpaying is the lowest priority.

Buy a good used car

If the car can perform its intended task, a high purchase price is the least of your concerns. It would be a much bigger disaster if the purported deal became a trap.

When buying a used car, a few essential considerations must be made, and we will go over them in this article.

What exactly are you looking for, and how much are you willing to spend?

The search for “any car” has been abandoned. In most cases, a person interested in purchasing a used automobile already has a general idea of what they are trying to find.

The encouraging news is that various options are available in every market sector. There are automobiles available to fit any price range.

If you are willing to spend between 500 and 1,000$, you should be able to find a roadworthy Mercedes or BMW that is also capable of passing the MOT at least one more time.

In recent years, there has been a discernible shift in the market that favors purchasers. Many vehicles have an excellent price-to-performance ratio, and you can find them even in the more expensive segments. However, there is a lot of gray sheep in this flock.

If a car that costs 1,200$ in total breaks down after only one year of use, the financial loss is significantly less than if it were a car that costs 5,000$ in total.

A cheap used car that’s been around for a while isn’t hard to find a replacement for. However, if you start investing in vehicles that cost several thousand euros or more, the number of times you take them to the repair shop can quickly add up.

The bottomless pit is referred to as value loss.

After approximately five years, it is estimated that a used car will have lost about half of its value.

After that, the vehicle’s mileage, condition, and upkeep will be the most important factors to consider.

Which is better: purchasing a pre-owned automobile from a private party or a dealer?

When you purchase a vehicle from a dealer, you typically receive a warranty for the first year of ownership. Nevertheless, this will additionally be reflected in the price.

In most cases, the dealer must help the customer get the most value out of their vehicle. If you purchase a car from a private person, you will not be eligible for a warranty on the vehicle.

In addition, the primary motivation for most private individuals when selling their cars is to get rid of them.

Therefore, depending on the age of the vehicle, it is possible that purchasing the car from a private party will result in a more significant profit.

What components contribute to the overall price of a car?

The vehicle’s original purchase price, make, and image tend to become more in line with one another as time passes.

Even though it is a Mercedes, the value of a Mercedes C-Class from 1995 is currently on par with that of an Opel Corsa from the same year.

This is the typical progression that is typically unavoidable in most cases. The following is a list of the factors that can be taken into consideration when determining an estimate of a car’s value:

– original price

– age

– mileage

– condition

– incident log

The initial price paid for the asset forms the basis for further price growth, especially in the first five years. As a result, the cost of the vehicle when it was first purchased ought to be known at all times.

Used automobiles are an excellent alternative to purchasing a brand-new motor vehicle. It typically has a reasonable amount of mileage. It may even have some of the original warranty left over, and the price is approximately 30% less than the one for the original.

The number of miles driven remains a crucial factor in modern times. Many of today’s engines are designed to last for a long time. Still, premium brands have seen a significant decline in quality over the past few years, leading to increased engines being taken to the junkyard after only 50,000 miles.

The vehicle’s value starts to decrease significantly when it reaches a mileage of 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers).

After 120,000 miles, the price is considered in the lower price segment in most cases.
There are, however, a few significant deviations from the rule.

For example, a Porsche 911 will rarely sell for less than 10,000$, regardless of how many miles it has on the odometer. I should also mention that when a car reaches that mileage, it will typically still be able to hold another 60,000 miles after driving that far.

When we talk about the condition of a vehicle, we may speak of things like dents, scratches, the quality of the varnish, rust stains, the neatness of the interior, and other stuff like that.

However, do not let a vehicle’s near-perfection sway your opinion. The vendors are very knowledgeable about increasing their profits by several hundred euros with just a little polish.

The logbook contains a record of all the maintenance work performed on the vehicle.

If you buy a car with a clean logbook, you should take it to the garage listed on the stamp to have it inspected. This is especially important if you purchased the vehicle from a private party.

How to buy a good used car

The examination of the pre-owned automobiles

Have you recently come across a pre-owned automobile that has piqued your interest? The next step is to carry out a thorough examination of the car. It is essential to keep in mind the following aspects:

When was it last inspected and given a clean bill of health? Is it believable that the car has that appears on the outside? If you go to look at a vehicle and notice that it supposedly passed the MOT, but the headlights are cloudy, you should walk away from the deal immediately because it is a scam.

Raise the hood.

Is it spotless and pristine, or does it have the typical dirt? A recently cleaned engine may have a nice appearance but also conceal a hidden oil leak. Make sure that any potential leaks of oil or coolant are given your full attention.

Put the palm of your hand on the engine and feel for any vibrations. Is there any heat? If so, the previous owner probably preheated it to start more quickly.

Turn the oil cap counterclockwise. Does it have foam on the bottom? If you answered yes to either of these questions, the cylinder head gasket has a problem. This is also the case when the coolant is contaminated with oil and appears black.

When a vehicle reaches a certain age, it is unavoidable to have spots of rust. As long as they remain outside, there should be no cause for concern.

Run your hand along the crossbar under the doors, also known as the side skirt. If there is rust present, the vehicle will need to be welded.

To stop, turn the steering wheel to the left. Is there wear on the interior of the tires? If you answered yes to either of these questions, there is likely an issue with the chassis.

The steering rod may have become misshapen. It is essential to check the thickness of the brake discs and the brake linings.

The brakes will require immediate repair if there are barely a few millimeters left.

As a side note, you should also check the CV joints that are directly behind the wheel. Without exception, they have to be changed if cracks in them and oil leaks out.

Immediately start the vehicle’s engine. Is there a roar coming from the exhaust pipe? Take a few steps forward with your foot on the accelerator. It ought to be in pristine condition and function normally at all times.

Be sure to pay attention to the lights on the dashboard. When the engine starts every morning, the engine warning light, the ABS light, the oil level light, and the temperature light should come on for a moment before turning off again.

Make sure that the lighting, both inside and out, is adequate. During the test drive, pay close attention to how the steering feels.

Apply the brakes hard and watch how the vehicle responds before continuing. The brake calipers may be frozen if this is the case. During the test drive, you should also observe how the clutch and suspension react to the road.

After that, raise the hood once more, and this time investigate the area that houses the engine. Do you now find a leak in the oil or the coolant? Examine the records about the vehicle’s upkeep in the engine compartment.

Changing the oil, the timing belt, and the brake fluid should all be done at the appropriate inspection intervals.

It would be beneficial if you avoided the cooling water hose that is the fattest (careful, hot). If this looks like it’s about to overflow, there’s probably something wrong with the head gasket.

Particular pitfalls that can be found in used vehicles

Once you’ve settled on a car, the next step is to research the make and model in question to learn about its most common flaws.

These could be different depending on the car you have. You could be in for a rude awakening if, for instance, you are considering purchasing a Volkswagen Group (VAG) vehicle (Audi, Volkswagen, Seat, or Skoda) powered by a TFSI engine.

Compression rings on these automobiles have serious problems, and the required repairs can cost several thousand euros.

Even though the automobile sparkles and appeals to you with a complete logbook, low mileage, and a recently passed MOT, you should ALWAYS learn as much as possible about the model.

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