Good Tips for Buying a Second Hand Car

Not all car buyers find it easy to select a vehicle, especially if it’s a second-hand car. Since it’s not brand new, there’s a lot more to check like its condition, reliability, as well as fuel economy. Of course, other important things to look into are the history of the car and how you’re going to pay for it if you decide to buy the vehicle. To make the process a bit easier, here are good tips for buying a second-hand car

Know What You Want vs. Need

Thinking about what you want is fun to do. You can dream about the latest model of a certain car with all the excellent features and latest tech. However, you also have to think of what you need from the vehicle. What are the most basic features that you need from it? 

For example, do you have a family and need to accommodate five persons in the car? This is something you have to consider. The dream car might be different but you need to be practical in selecting the right vehicle that fits your needs best. 

Is It the Practical Choice?

You wouldn’t want a car that drains your savings. Look for a second-hand vehicle that’s in great shape and is fuel-efficient. Electric or hybrid vehicles are a great option. Yes, they are a bit pricey but overall, you get to save money in the long run because it costs less to drive it than conventional petrol or diesel cars. 

Also, match the vehicle to how you’re going to use it. Will you be driving on motorways or just around town? Consider the fuel type and the engine size so that it fits well with how you’re going to drive it.

If you are going to have long drives across the country, it might be more practical to choose a diesel engine. But around the city, an electric car is the better and more environmentally-friendly choice.

What are Other Owners Saying?

Any car manufacturer will say that their cars are the best. Apart from the specs and features, there’s not a lot of useful information you can get from the carmaker itself. So, go to review websites and forums to read what other owners are saying. That’s where you’ll really get honest information. 

Check if the car you like has a good reputation for being a reliable vehicle. How well does the car age? Is it prone to mechanical issues in the long run? Read about the experiences of other car owners with a specific model so that you’ll know what to expect when buying a similar second-hand car

What’s the Overall Cost?

Your expenses do not end when you pay for the car. The price tag of the vehicle is just the starting point. So, before you get carried away and spend all your savings on the purchase, know that you also have to have funds for taxes, fuel, insurance, and maintenance. 

What if you’ll get car finance instead of paying with cash? You still have to think about the overall cost. How much money will you have left after paying the downpayment or deposit? It is enough to cover other car-related expenses? 

Also, be sure that you will be able to afford the monthly car finance payments. It would be great if you have already secured some money to pay for several months so you don’t miss a payment. 

Find a Trustworthy Car Dealer

It’s not always cheap to buy a second-hand car from a dealer but it is the safest route to having a car. You might be tempted to buy from a private seller but it’s not always convenient since you have to do the checks yourself. 

A good dealer will be able to provide you with the paperwork so you can verify that the vehicle has been taken care of properly. Used car dealers can also offer cars that have gone through inspection and HPI checks. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that the car is roadworthy and reliable. If you want to perform an HPI check of your own you can do - definitely do this if you are in the least doubt about your dealer as a small cost can help protect you from a buying mistake!

Checking the Vehicle

When you’ve found a car you like, now it’s time to do the checks. Some of the things you need to assess are the bodywork, electrics, interiors, and mileage. Look at the odometer to see how many miles it has covered. You may not have to do this if the mileage is indicated on the listing already. But it would be good to check anyway. 

For the bodywork, look for dents, scratches, or other damage. If there is any rust around the car’s wheel arches, it’s best to look for another car in better condition. In the same way, the interiors shouldn’t have any scuffs, rips, or stains. Check the seats and also the boot so you can see whether the car’s condition matches its price. 

Don’t forget to test the indicator lights, brake lights, and headlights. You may also want to check the infotainment system and even the electrically operated windows so you can be sure that everything is working well as stated in the listing. 

Take It for a Drive

Your car-buying journey wouldn’t be complete without a test drive. Doing this will help you assess if you like driving a particular car. You’ll also get the chance to observe if it has any issues while you’re driving it. 

Test the car on different roads and at different speeds. Make sure you evaluate the capabilities of the car when it comes to manoeuvring, braking, and acceleration. Observe if there are any squealing sounds from the clutch, swerving motions while braking, or whether the brake pedal vibrates. 


When you’ve finally decided which car to buy, double-check all the documents to see whether it matches the car. A good dealer will help you through this process. You’d want to know about the car’s records and if it has had prior issues. Also, know when the MOT and next service are due so that the car is properly maintained. 

Found a car you like? Apply for car finance at Carmoola! The whole process only takes a few minutes. You’ll know the result almost instantly, and once approved, you can buy the car you want!