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Buying Guide - New and Used Cars

Used cars

There are a number of things you should check for when buying a used car. The first thing you should look at is the car history. Has it been serviced regularly? How many miles has it done and does it match up with the service history? The more miles it has done, the more the chance it has of something going wrong. How many previous owners has the used car for sale had? The more owners could indicate the used car was difficult to live with. If the pedal rubber is worn or the ignition key is damaged then it could indicate heavy usage and therefore more likely to break down.

You should check whether the used car for sale has got the same colour all around the paintwork, whether the bonnet is straight or that both sides match. If they don't then it has been in a smash or there is something wrong with the car and you shouldn't buy it. You should check the used car's Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) stamped into the chassis under the driver's seat carpet, at the base of the windscreen and under the bonnet as well as in the logbook all match. If they are not the same then one area has been tampered with and you should not buy this car.

Check the value of a used car with an independent assessor to ensure you are not being overcharged by the dealer. Don't be afraid of looking to negotiate a price when buying a used car in order to obtain the best deal. Looking to add in extras like filling it up with petrol or updating the road tax and MOT could be a good haggling tool, and ensures you get the most for your money.

It is important to test drive a new or used car for sale. Insist on taking a test drive for more than 15 minutes on various types of road, so that you can test the gears, suspension, brakes and steering. Make sure you start the engine from cold and check to see if any smoke comes out from the bonnet or the exhaust pipe. Doing all this will give you a feeling for the car, not only about how it drives but how comfortable you are inside the used car. If a person with a car for sale refuses then do not buy the car as they might be trying to hide something.

New cars

There are key questions you should be asking yourself when looking at a new car for sale. Does the price include everything you want or are there extras? Don't be seduced by adverts saying the lowest price for the car. This will be for the basic model and you will have to pay more for the features you may wish to have. How much warranty does the car have? The more warranty it has, the better because if something does go wrong then there is less money spent on repairing it.

Insurance and fuel

When budgeting for a new or used car it is essential to include the price of insurance. It is illegal to drive a car that is uninsured. There's no point in buying a used car, or a new car for that matter, only to find that you cannot afford the insurance. When you enquire at your insurance provider, look at the appropriate cover for you, as well as checking the price comparison websites. This will give you an idea of what you are going to get for your money.

According to The AA young British males aged 17 to 22 can expect to pay an average of £2,750 to insure a vehicle. In most cases this would be close to, or higher, than the price of the used car itself. It is important to note that it is illegal for you to be the only named driver on someone else's insurance if it is actually your new or used car - your motor insurance will be void and you will face legal proceedings against you.

The price of unleaded petrol looks as if it is only going to get higher in the near future. A diesel car is more fuel efficient but costs more at the pump. Therefore if you use a car regularly you should consider whether the car for sale has a good fuel economy. Some used cars have poor fuel economy meaning you could be stopping off to fill up more often than you would with a new car. This is a major disadvantage of used cars but something you must consider. With any car for sale you must put the correct fuel into your tank otherwise you will be spending a fortune and wasting a lot of time fixing the damage.


The ongoing theme of this guide is you need to buy a new or used car that is within budget, taking everything into consideration. Establishing your budget will give you a good idea of the cars you can afford at the present time. You should decide what make and model suits you. Then test drive it to determine whether it is really what you want. When buying a new or used car visit a reputable dealer and try to obtain all you can. When buying a used car be aware of all the pitfalls as you are making a choice you will be living with for the next few years. Like a pet, a new or used car is not just for Christmas!