A used car can get you on the road for a fraction of the cost of a new one. After all, depreciation in value works as a percentage of the original price, so by the time a car is as little as a year old, it will be a great deal cheaper than a new one, without having suffered much wear and tear.
But we all know that there are pitfalls to buying a used car. We look at some of the ways you can avoid them.
- Beware of ‘too good to be true’ prices
When you’re considering a specific second hand car, it’s good to do a bit of homework. What is the book value for that model and year? How much are other people selling similar cars for? A very low price is a danger signal that you shouldn’t ignore. Find out exactly why the car is being offered at such a low price and verify the facts.
- Get a car that’s been thoroughly checked out
A reputable dealership will often offer a guarantee on second hand cars. If there’s no guarantee, or you’re buying your car as a private sale, be sure to get a second opinion about its condition. That ‘nearly new’ used car in Dublin that you thought looked great could have been patched up after an accident. You might only find out when you have roadworthiness checked unless you know what to look for.
- Watch out for rust cover-ups
Buying used cars in Ireland means checking carefully for rust – and signs of a cover-up job. Body putty and a bit of paint may cover up rust temporarily, but it will begin to show in a couple of months, if not sooner. That’s just one more reason to get a car with a guarantee or at least have it checked out by someone who knows what to look for.
- Look into the availability (and cost) of spare parts
So… you can get a Bugatti for a song – but can you afford the upkeep? When buying unusual or very old models, you may have to go to a great deal of effort and expense finding the spare parts you need from time to time. Whether you ae choosing a newer model or a more elderly one, choose something you’re used to seeing on the road. The more popular the model, the easier it will be to get spares.
- Make sure you’re planning for the whole package
Apart from the technical issues you need to consider, you also need to think about your finances carefully. If you are getting a loan or using vehicle finance, you need to be absolutely sure that you can afford your installments and still keep your car on the road. Find out what your used car in Ireland costs to run. What is the fuel consumption like? How much can you expect a service to cost? What about insurance? Generally speaking, it’s wisest to choose a car that’s priced a little lower than you think you can afford.
- Private sales
An amazing 77% of used cars in Ireland are purchased through private sales. You can save money in this way, but you should recognize that you don’t have as much consumer protection when you deal directly with the seller. Although many believe that a private seller is more likely to be honest about the car’s history, that’s not necessarily the case, so do check out all the details before purchase.