The used car market is the biggest in the UK and for many drivers, it’s easy to see why secondhand cars are the best choice. There’s a huge abundance of used cars available, they’re cheaper than new cars and they depreciate at a slower rate. If you’re buying your first car or you’re not confident with used car buying, the guide below has been designed to help you find the perfect used car for your budget!

1. Set your budget.

Buying a used car will be one of the biggest purchases you make and you’ll no doubt own the car for a number of years so it’s important it’s the right decision. It can be easy to get ahead of what you can actually afford and get lost in the world of car buying. Before you even step foot in a dealership, set your budget! Whether that be for a lump sum cash payment or car finance payment, you should never stray from your budget.

2. Know your requirements.

You may already know what you need from your next car. If you don’t, it can be worth thinking about your requirements before you start shopping. This may include things like how many seats you need, how far you typically drive, which safety features are important and if you have any specific make and model in mind. Knowing these factors can help to speed up the process and make sure you’re getting a car which is fit for your purpose.

3. Check out dealer reviews.

Granted, you can buy a car from a private seller or even an auction but buying from a dealership can be the safest and easiest way to buy a car. Selecting the best car dealer is important so before you do so, you should check out reviews of the dealership you are looking to use and see what kind of experience other customers had. This can be done by a quick Google search online. You should also check if the dealership is verified by the Financial Conduct Authority, which you can do on their website, especially if you’re looking to go down the finance route.

4. Research the market price of cars in your budget.

Whilst you’re online, it can be a good idea to search for cars that meet your requirements too. A quick online search can help you to compare cars within your budget from local dealerships. This can help to save time and make sure you’re getting a good deal. It’s also good leverage for later on in the process if there is a similar car at a neighboring dealership which you could use for negotiating purposes.

5. Check out car finance.

Most drivers now use some form of credit or finance to buy their next car. Used cars on finance can be offered to a range of applicants, from to Audi finance, there really is little you can’t get on credit. However, you’ll need to be approved for a finance deal first, which means a lender agrees to help you finance a car. It is recommended you check your eligibility for finance first before committing to buying this way.

6. Take a test drive.

If you’ve just passed your driving test and are buying your first car, the idea of test driving a car can be daunting. However, it is a step you should never skip. Test drives are important, especially if you can’t decide between a few cars. Test driving a car gives you an opportunity to see how you like it, how it performs and also a chance to check the car’s condition.

7. Check the car over.

Whilst you’re out on a test drive, you can take this time as an opportunity to park somewhere safe and check the car over. It can be daunting to look over the car under the watchful eye of the salesperson. If you’re not sure what to check, you can do simple car checks like looking for any defects in the paintwork, check the tyres are in good condition, checking the mileage on the car matches what you’ve been told and checking all the electrics work as they should.

8. Know your rights.

When you buy a car from a dealership, you have better protection than you would if you bought from a private seller. If something goes wrong during the purchase, you are protected by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. If the car is faulty, you are able to request a full refund in the first 30 days of getting the vehicle. If the car is not of satisfactory quality or matches how it was described or is not fit for purpose, you can also be eligible for a refund too.

9. Negotiate the price.

So, you’re not likely to get the car for half of the advertised price, but there can be some wiggle room to negotiate a used car price. Set your budget for a car and then tell the dealer you can only go to slightly under your budget, this way you could bag a great bargain if they agree, or you can make it seem like you’re happy to negotiate but end up with what you could afford anyway.

10. Drive away happily.

Once you’ve found the car and are happy with the deal, all that’s left to do is sign the paperwork and drive away happily! We hope the used car buying process was an easy one and you’ve used the points above to get a good deal.