One thing to emerge from our Irish Independent survey last week - and from talking to dealers generally over the past while - is the increased demand for good second-hand cars.
A number of factors are at play in generating an emerging scarcity of good quality motors.
* Fewer new cars being bought, translating into a fall-off in trade-ins;
* Lower levels of used imports have meant reduced choice, though there are signs of a return to some volume;
* More people are buying a fresh second-hand to avoid having to use public transport;
* There is pent-up demand due to inactivity during the peak corona-virus period.
So here are a few timely tips to steer you through the safer purchase of a used motor:
* Try to buy from a reputable outlet. Buying privately lessens your prospects of recovery if anything goes wrong;
* Don't touch a car that doesn't have a full and authentic service history. That is absolutely vital;
* If really interested in buying, double check the car's history via one of service companies out there. The big dangers are 'clocked' cars, vehicles with repayments outstanding or cars that have been crashed. Of course you need to be nearly on the point of buying to do this; otherwise you'd be spending a fair bit just checking;
* Try to get to speak, if possible, with the former owner. A reputable outlet/seller will have no problem with that. It is a great way of getting a feel for a car and how it was minded;
* Look for a decent warranty (depending on age of car and if buying from a dealer);
* Estimate the cost of change of buying as a cash customer rather than having a trade-in as part of the deal;
* If you have any doubt walk away. Your suspicions are most likely well founded;
* 'Buy' the dealer as much as the car. A good, local, dealer is a great source of peace of mind if anything goes wrong after purchase.