Key checks if you're thinking of buying a used car next year
Danger lurks if you purchase privately, so here are some important do's and don'ts
Not everybody will be in the market for a new car in 2020. Some will opt to upgrade with a used vehicle.
So what should you be looking out for if you are buying a secondhand car?
First golden rule is to get it independently checked by a mechanic.
If you do not know the person you are buying the car from then you cannot be sure of its history.
Another good reason to have it checked by a mechanic is if you don't feel you know enough about cars yourself.
If you are buying from a garage make sure they give you a warranty on the vehicle.
It is also a good idea to do a comprehensive background check.
This may uncover details which the buyer is deliberately trying to hide, such as:
* Whether or not the vehicle was ever written-off or involved in a crash;
* The true mileage of the car or if there is outstanding finance on it.
If you are buying privately, always meet the seller at their home address in daylight.
Check that the documentation matches to ensure they are not a dealer trying to disguise a sale.
Ask the seller for identification to confirm that he or she is the same person as on the vehicle registration certificate.
Always take the car for a test drive and take your time with it. The longer you are in it the likelier you are to notice things.
When driving, turn off the radio and air-con and make sure there are no strange noises or rattling.
Check for a strong smell of oil or petrol and that it accelerates comfortably and the brakes don't squeak or squeal.
Make sure the vehicle's odometer hasn't been clocked.
Compare the odometer record on the NCT disc with the vehicle's current odometer reading.
All Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) dealers have access to a car history-check service.
They should be able to guarantee the mileage of any car they sell, as well as other details on its history.
For those who aren't SIMI members there are other online services which provide similar information for a fee.
Make sure that all documentation, including NCT, VRT, motor tax and car handbook relate to the car.
But a word of caution: An NCT or Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness (CVRT) certificate is a check on a set of minimum requirements at the time of the test.
It should not be considered a substitute for a comprehensive technical examination of a vehicle before buying.
It is really important for a buyer to be aware of a car that seems cheap or costs less than other cars in the market of the same age/mileage.
The car is unlikely to be as good value as it seems and probably has some skeletons in the closet.
In such a situation the car should be independently inspected before a purchase.
This is to check its roadworthiness and whether the car's components are at or near the end of their life span.
You also need to consider the fact that, in addition to having fewer modern safety features, you'll probably end up paying out more in maintenance costs, because older vehicles with high mileage need more frequent maintenance.
If you are looking for information on the vehicle's safety rating visit the EuroNCAP website. It provides results on the safety performance of all makes and model of vehicle sold in the EU.