Wednesday 12 December 2018

9 ways to save hundreds of euro when buying a second-hand car

Focus on: Used cars

Stock image
Stock image

THE earlier in the year you begin your enquiries for used cars, the more likely you are to have a better choice.

At this time in every dealership around the country, salespeople are busy taking trade-ins from new car buyers. But here is a little insider’s tip: concentrate if you can on the fresher cars. The aggregate of these predominantly three and four-year-old cars represents a substantial financial undertaking for dealerships and many will be keen to convert them into cash as quickly as possible.

It is by no means a panic station scenario for dealers and the right car will always make its money but the clever car buyer can use the following tips to ensure they strike the best bargain.

1. Buy straight. It means you have no car to trade-in. And that should save you money. We say ‘should’ because sometimes people overvalue their cars and base their savings off these inflated values, so manage your expectations. But mostly you will save money.

2. Shop around. No two used cars are the same. And that makes it even more imperative that you scour the market for the best value.

3. We wonder, from some of the queries we receive, if customers see the full picture when buying used cars. Sure, the price is important but it should be taken in the context of the car and the overall deal, so be sure you balance price with mileage, condition, exact specification and auxiliary services such as a comprehensive warranty. By spending more money, you might be saving.

4. We typically advise people to buy from main franchise dealers who have experience and know the previous owner(s) and how the car has been treated. However, if you are not too fussed where your car comes from so long as it is from a reputable dealer, find the brand and model you want in a dealership that’s not a main brand agent. You should save this way. Better still, if you have a trade-in, find a dealership with the same brand as your car that is selling the non-franchise model you are interested in. The dealer should be keen to get rid of a competitor model and take something they have more experience of.

5. Shop around for finance. Some dealer networks have their own banks, so they can offer competitive rates on used cars. A lower APR rate could save you hundreds of euro. Used PCP products are starting to gather pace too. The same usual advice holds true with any finance product: know the implications inside and out before signing. Dealers have excellent contacts within the finance market, so be sure to use their contacts to help get you the best interest rate.

6. Insist on a full, verified history check from a reputable data provider. This goes back to the adage, if you think a good car costs a lot of money, wait until you buy a bad one. Save yourself time, hassle and hard-earned cash by ignoring anything with a patchy history.

7. In our weekly Motoring Supplement, readers have budgets spanning from a few thousand euro to more than €50,000. Buying cheaper cars privately poses greater risks. Always buy from dealers even if they only offer short-term warranties. Buying privately can save you money once you have your wits about you.

8. With more than 90,000 used imports registered here last year and much the same expected for this year, people feel they are saving lots of money with them. If that’s your route take it. But check everything from the seller to the car’s history. And give your local Irish dealer a chance to see if they can match what you’re getting.

9. If you are buying privately and you settle on a car, get it mechanically checked over as well as history-checked. Absolutely essential. Buying privately is risky.

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