Buying a used car: 10 tips to save money and choose the right car

With demand so high and sellers able to charge more for used cars, it’s more important than ever that buyers do their research and take some basic steps to make sure they’re getting a good deal.

With that in mind, we spoke to Mike Todd, CEO of Volkswagen Financial Services, about his top tips for making more money when buying a used car.

Compare sellers

Prices can vary between large franchises, independent retailers, and private sellers, so it’s important to consider the seller’s reputation as well to determine if they’re a reliable party. Always spend time researching.

Compare prices and check financial offers

Do your research and consider price comparisons before visiting a retailer or private seller. Current prices can be found through online retailer portals and other websites. Also use online finance calculators and once you know the ballpark figure, you will be in the best place to negotiate a good deal.

It is worth researching the dealer’s reputation before deciding to buy from them.

A picture paints a thousand words

When searching for a car online, the quality and quantity of images can tell a lot about the car and the seller without seeing it in person. Very few images can indicate that the seller is trying to hide something.

History check

Take precautions rather than assuming the car is in perfect condition. Be sure to get a good general idea of ​​the vehicle’s condition by carefully reviewing its history report. Low mileage, full service history, few previous owners, and passing all HPI checks are key indicators of a top model. Always find out if the car has been in any past accidents or had any previous modifications in terms of car parts.

Look for wear and damage

Do not take the seller’s word that the car is not damaged or has never been repaired. Attention to detail is paramount and should be the focus of the buyer’s attention when checking for hidden signs of repair. Indicators can come in all shapes and sizes, from doors that are difficult to open and close to defects or mismatched paintwork.

Tire test

Before you test drive your car, take a close look at its tires. A disproportionate tire tread may indicate that the trajectory is not straight and needs to be corrected. You will also be able to notice this while driving, as the vehicle may shift to the left or right. Other signs of rough handling or wear can be cracked, bald or dry rubber on tires. Cheap tires from an unfamiliar brand can also indicate that the previous owner skimped on other aspects of maintenance.

Uneven tire wear can be a sign of a more serious mechanical problem.

Get a second opinion

It never hurts to check a car with a second pair of eyes before buying. If you have a friend or family member who works as a mechanic, perhaps check with them or consider getting a professional inspection. It’s always smart to lift the hood and ask someone to take a look, even if you’re not sure what you’re looking at yourself.

Ready for the road

How easily a vehicle is available for inspection or a test drive may also be cause for further investigation. A car that is almost immediately not available for inspection may arouse suspicion if no explanation is given.

Extended Warranty

Some used vehicles are covered by an extended warranty, saving you money on repairs in the future. If not, it’s important to consider whether it’s worth the extra cost of finding a car with a warranty if a problem occurs.

Check your credit score

Your credit score is a particular lender’s or lending company’s assessment of how exposed you are to credit risk based on their own criteria. However, a good score does not guarantee that you will be able to borrow money, as different lenders have different criteria for selecting clients.

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