Only fools rush in with when buying second-hand cars
No matter how good the price or charming the seller, never rush into buying a second-hand car.
That few grand you think you're saving could be easily gobbled up by expensive repairs should you run into problems with the car.
Don't buy without getting a mechanic to check it out first - unless you're buying from a reputable dealer who will stand over the car. Even this may not be enough to protect you - particularly if problems emerge after any warranty has expired. So for peace of mind and wallet, get a good mechanic.
You can hire the AA to inspect a car for €199 upwards. But the AA can work out expensive if you hire it to inspect a 4x4 - we were quoted €270. Other companies can be cheaper. Calloutmechanics.com charges €120 for inspections - but will rarely inspect cars outside the Dublin and Tallaght area.
It is crucial that you check if there is any finance outstanding on the car, especially if buying privately or from a dealer you have never heard of or dealt with before. If the car is still under a hire purchase agreement, it could be repossessed after you have bought it - and you are unlikely to have any luck getting your money back.
You will need the registration number of the car you're interested in buying to check if any finance is outstanding. Get this number yourself when you go to look at the car.
You can check if finance is outstanding on a car through the likes of cartell.ie and motorcheck.ie. We paid cartell.ie €25 for a 'Three Star Check'. As well as checking if any finance was outstanding on the car, this service checked if the mileage was genuine, if the car had been previously written off (either in Ireland or Britain), the number of previous owners of the car, if the car had ever been untaxed (which would suggest it may have been off-road for sometime) and if the car had been imported from Britain. This €25 is money well spent - particularly if you're about to buy a car which has been written off, scrapped or clocked.
Sunday Indo Business