Buying a used car is typically a nerve-wrecking process for most drivers. There is so much to keep in mind, so many details to observe, so many decisions to take. Which is why a recent article in online magazine Shout Out caught our attention.
In this article, the author deals with the buying process and zooms in on a mere three points. Just imagine if Shout Out were right: There’d be so much more time to enjoy things rather than worrying about whether or not you made a mistake.
Can life really be this simple? Let’s find out …
From the wealth of possible factors, Shout Out isolate the following three as especially important:
- Engine Size
- Fuel type
- Car dealership
Why precisely these? Here are the reasons provided by the magazine for their selection.
Engine Size: A question of economics
Shout Out asserts that engines have become increasingly smaller over the years. In sync, they have become more fuel efficient.
Accordingly, smaller engine sizes indicate a more advanced and ecologically friendly car. And obviously, the more ecological your car, the less you’ll need to spend on fuel.
Fuel type: Hybrid’s best
Formerly, this only used to be a two way decision: Petrol or diesel? Today, the question has become more complex. You can find plenty of hybrids on the second hand market. And then, there’s the emergence of ecars, many of which can now also be found used.
The decision between diesel and fuel is going to remain tough, Shout Out claims. But more often than not, hybrids will beat both when it comes to running costs. If you can get a good deal, they opine, you should go for it.
Car dealership: Protecting your rights
Shout Out state that the question of finding the right dealer is of vital importance. After all, how can you be sure you’ll get a fair deal, if you know nothing about the person selling you the vehicle.
This is why they recommend running a background check on all dealers that you are interested in.
You want to make sure that you’re protected from malpractice and can make use of your rights if push comes to shove.
With these three suggestions, Shout Out claims, you can make sure you find the car that’s right for you.
Or can you?
To be honest, although the article brings up some interesting ideas, these three points hardly seem like the most important things you should pay attention to:
- Engine size does matter, yes. But in no way is it more important than the question of which model to select. And what to do, if several models, as can often be the case, have the exact same engine size? You can, for example, find a Dacia Duster and a Dacia Sandero with the same engine size. Clearly these are very different cars. So which of the two is more suitable for you?
- Fuel type: Again, definitely a vital aspect. However, you should approach this from a different angle. The real question today is ecar versus traditional car. An ecar is still far more adventurous than the other alternatives, so you need to be certain it’s for you. But even the question of diesel vs petrol vs hybrid is not that revealing. A diesel really only makes sense if you’re driving a lot and although hybrids can be an excellent choice, running costs are not their main (or only) benefit.
- Dealership: One of the crucial aspects indeed. But how to run a background check? In the end, a lot boils down to trust, which means that the recommendation provided in the article is not particularly helpful.
More to consider
So it looks like these three points won’t be enough after all. Not only that, they may actually serve to point you in the wrong direction let’s take a look at a few other aspects which, in our opinion, are a lot more pertinent to your decision making process.
Condition / Mileage / Age
The classic trio. These three points, if analysed closely, contain within them everything you need to know about a used car. The great thing is that two of them are completely objective and require no further evaluation: Mileage and age. Use these to calculate how many miles per year the car has been driven on average.
Around 10,000 is a regular distance. Anything that far exceeds this should be cause for closer inspection. But so, too, should very low mileages, which may indicate odometer tampering or mean that the car has been standing idle for too long.
The condition of the car is obviously a lot more subjective. If you don’t trust your own judgement and don’t have an expert friend or relative, then it may be wise to opt for a pre purchase vehicle inspection from one of the big car associations in the UK. It’s going to cost you, yes, but if it saves you from making a bad decision, then it may pay for itself.
Perhaps THE single most overlooked criterion to take into consideration. Each new generation of a particular model is like an entirely new car in its own right. This means that a new car generation comes with its own unique benefits and flaws. It may be an improvement on its predecessor. Or, as with the second iteration of the Ford Focus, constitute more of a disappointment.
By carefully researching about different car generations online, you can identify the one that’s best for you. This automatically reveals why new cars are by no means guaranteed to be better than old ones: Since these have not been driven as much as older ones, it tends to be harder to find reliable information on them.
How you pay for your car is just as important as which car you’re paying for. That’s not a radical or provocative statement – that’s the plain and simple truth.
In our blog, we’ve discussed the pros and cons of different financing models in exhaustive detail. In general, the following options are your best bet when it comes to used cars:
- Private loan from a bank or credit union: Still one of the more popular options around. A private loan is perfectly fine and quite often a good deal – if you can get one. Since banks have become more hesitant in lending money, this may not always be possible.
- Dealership loan: They used to be a bit shady. But today, they are usually your best option. Dealers can get better deals with banks and since they’re also selling you a car, there is an additional incentive to offer you better conditions. If the terms sound right, there is no reason not to go for this.
- Online borrowing: Still a bit too novel for many users. Rates will usually be a bit higher, but the conditions for a loan may be slightly more relaxed. We advise caution with these types of loans. But they’re certainly worth checking out as the industry gradually matures.
A car is a depreciating object. There’s not a lot you can do about that. What you can do, however, is to choose a model that depreciates as little as possible. Here, too, research has become easy thanks to websites like parkers which provide plenty of valuable information on the topic.
That said, when you’re buying used, depreciation is usually slightly less important than if you’re buying new. By the time a car reaches the 8 year mark, depreciation will have tapered off. Already well before that, it slows down considerably. Also, the longer you intend to keep a car, the less its loss in value will matter.
All of this means that depreciation can be an influential factor in your considerations. But it should not be your top priority.
Help with buying
Even if you keep these recommendations in mind, buying a used car is never an easy process. Three simple points can never be enough to base your decision on.
Shout Out were right in one regard, though: Your relationship with your dealership is vital. At Concept Car Credit, we’ve been helping UK drivers get behind the wheel again for many years.
Our concept is simple:
- Great, cleaned, checked cars at affordable prices.
- Fair conditions and terms.
- Tailor-made financial solutions with a particular focus on anyone with a bad credit.
Want to find out more? Give us a call, write us an email or drop by our Manchester showroom.