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Privately Buying Guide For Used Cars

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Privately Buying Guide For Used Cars

​Buying a car privately can be a daunting task and can sometimes be very risky. So where do you start? After picking a car from a newspaper or website, there are a number of free, simple things you can do before leaving your home.

What can you do with the registration?

You can check when the car was last bought. You don’t want to be in a situation that the person you are buying it off just bought it themselves. This would suggest there is something wrong with the car and they want to get rid of it. Motortax.ie offers a service by which you can see if the car has changed hands withing the last three months.

Time to make the call

Once you get that information and are happy with it, you now have a little bit more information when you contact the seller. It is recommended that you ring the seller over emailing or messaging. Before you make the call have a piece of paper and a pen in front of you so you can write down everything the seller tells you and make sure all the information corresponds with the advert you saw. Ask as many questions you can, it would be a good idea to have the questions written down before you call. Questions may include, “Was the car ever in an accident?” and “Is the mileage displayed correct?”. Both of those questions are looking for direct answers so don’t let the seller sway off the question you asked.

If your happy with the initial contact it may be time to arrange a viewing. If you have to travel a good distance to view the car it may save you time and fuel costs if you check the history of the car before viewing it. You can check a car’s history as long as you have the registration and mileage. This test could show nothing, but they can also show up reasons for you to stay away from the car. There are many different websites that offer car history check service. By entering the registration you can get a brief description of the car. If this matches the car you are looking at buying, you can then move on to paying a small fee to have a full check done. Once you get the full check the website itself will highlight any discrepancies. Some simple things you can do yourself, make sure the car is the same colour, how many owners it has, how often the owners have changed etc.

Viewing the car

Once you have done all the checks and gotten as much information about the car as available, you can decide whether to view the car or not. When arranging a viewing it doesn’t really matter if its day or night. In the daylight you will be able to see the condition of the car and the paintwork. At night time you will have to bring an inspection lamp with you and you will be more cautious. The strong light of the inspection lamp will show up more than normal sunlight. At night tine be more careful that you are thoroughly looking through the car. Never view a car in the rain; it’s the worst possible weather, not only because you can’t see what the body work or engine bay is really like, you will naturally want to get out of the rain and will rush the sale along unknowing to yourself.

What to look for at the viewing:

  • Do all the panels fit together nicely?
  • Does all the paint look the same quality?
  • Is all the paintwork the same shade?
  • Is the boot damp?
  • Is there a spare wheel and the relevant tools under the carpet in the boot?
  • Any sign of accident damage?
  • Are the original badges there?
  • Is there any major rust?
  • Has the timing belt been done on the car?
  • Are all window markings the same?
  • Is the number plate the original one?
  • Is there oil in the car?
  • Is the interior in good condition?
  • Is the carpet damp?
  • Are all buttons working?
  • Are all lights working?

Driving the car

You’re thinking of paying good money for this car so make sure you get a good ten to fifth teen minutes driving the car. Drive the car up the revs in all gears and make sure to change back down through the gears as well. Look out for any smoke when driving or any strange feeling.

If you’re happy with the car and how it drives, it’s time to start bargaining. Depending on the car and the price advertised this may not be necessary. When going through the purchasing process it is always better to have a second person with you. They can witness everything that is happening.

We hope this has helped and maybe given people more confidence when buying used cars privately. Another great thing to do before buying a car is to get a few insurance quotes for the car. Hooper Dolan Insurances has competitive car insurance rates available. Contact us on 051 860600 or call into our office at 31 The Mall, Waterford.

Check out some of our other posts that also may help you when buying a used car, ‘The Best Car for Young Drivers’ and ‘Are you ready for your NCT?’.

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