British drivers like to make their money go a long way, which is why most of us buy used cars. Around 7.2 million are sold every year, compared with 2.6 million new models. And because a new car can’t have been crashed, clocked or cloned, this means the majority of car buyers are vulnerable to unscrupulous sellers trying to pass off a bad used car as a good one.
There are all sorts of tricks of the trade that can be employed to pull the wool over the eyes of a used car buyer. The Green Flag blog has covered some of the important checks that drivers should carry out before parting with their cash for a car. But here we’re looking at less obvious tips that can help drivers spot a bad car – also known as a dud, or lemon.
To make sure your next car doesn’t leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth, read on. Continue reading
What driver doesn’t love bagging a used car bargain? Saving thousands of pounds can give a warmer glow than spending two weeks on a sun lounger in the Med. And there are few better times of the year than October to buy a great car at a knockdown price.
Every March and September, the registration prefix changes for new cars. It’s a way for drivers and the motor trade to differentiate between the age of cars, and in a nation obsessed about keeping up with the Joneses, the effect is to create dramatic seasonal spikes in new car sales.
This is great news for the canny car buyer. The market is flooded with second-hand cars that have been traded in as a part-exchange, and when there’s more supply than demand, car dealers have to pull together some seriously competitive deals to help sell all that second-hand stock.
When was the last time you laughed out aloud when driving? And no, listening to comedy on the radio doesn’t count. As cars get larger and safer, and their engines become whisper quiet and cabins are lavished with creature comforts, the simple pleasure of driving for driving’s sake is slowly but surely disappearing like a tyre losing its air pressure.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though. There are still some cars that can put a smile on your face like the best punchlines. And you don’t have to shell out a small fortune on the likes of a Ferrari or Porsche to have a good time behind the wheel.
The Suzuki Swift Sport, Citroen DS 3 and Ford Fiesta ST are cheap small cars that are a hoot to drive. You can snap them up for under £7,000 and there’s plenty of choice. So what are you waiting for? Let’s have some fun…
The coolest small fun car: used Citroën DS 3
Selling to a dealer you could be up against him. Follow our tips to ensure you don’t come off second best
Although you frequently get the most money shifting used cars privately, selling your car to a dealer is surprisingly popular. Nearly half of the 7.2 million used cars sold every year go to traders according to British Car Auctions. But if you thought buying a car from a dealer was hard work, you should try selling to one.
Getting the best price can be tricky: traders are hard and often skilled negotiators. It is, after all, something they do every day of their working lives, not once every couple of years like the rest of us. The result is that sellers often don’t get as much as their car is really worth. Here are seven things to concentrate on that should help you get as much money as possible for it.
How old is it and what condition is it in?
Values of classic cars have spent the last decade rising faster than a rocket blasting off for the International Space Station. Petrolheads who have scraped together every last penny and wealthy speculators alike have watched as the future classic cars they own have outperformed stocks and shares, left art and equities trailing and even boomed beyond the London housing market.
For drivers who don’t own a classic, would like one, but don’t have hundreds of thousands or millions of pounds to spend, the question is: what affordable future classic cars should they invest in today?
After 25 years of testing cars, I’ve seen all sorts of motors come and go. But these are the lesser known models that left a lasting impression – and are therefore most likely to become future classics that appreciate in value. Get ready for lift-off…
Avoid the obvious when searching for a cheap car (Picture © Volkswagen)
Brilliant bangers don’t have to come in packs of six, ready for the frying pan or barbeque: they can also be some of the best value motors money can buy.
Choosing a used car on a £1000 budget calls for patience, detective work and an ability to resist the lure of luxury names. You’ll also need to read between the lines and not be tempted by classic sales patter: “First to see will buy”; “One lady owner”; “Starts every time”.
A full service history, all accompanying paperwork, verified mileage – clocking can be common – are just your starting points. Check the length of the MOT, find out when the next service is due (and how much it’s likely to cost) and don’t be put off by cosmetic blemishes if the car is mechanically tip-top. After all, you’re buying it to get from A to B for the least amount of money, not cruise London’s Kings Road in head-turning style.
A final tip is to try to build a picture of how reliable the car is likely to be. A helpful tool is the Reliability Index, provided by Warranty Direct, a leading provider of mechanical insurance for cars. With all that in place, start hunting out any of these brilliant bangers…
A car’s service history is important but it could be missing for perfectly legitimate reasons (Picture © Mercedes)
No matter what shape and size, or how cheap or expensive the brand, every car needs to be maintained according to a service schedule that is set out by the vehicle manufacturer.
Often, however, the paperwork associated with the servicing of a car can be missing. That can be for all sorts of legitimate reasons, such as losing it during a house move or being mislaid by an elderly relative who is no longer driving.
Thankfully, recovering a missing service record is possible – and pleasingly straightforward. But it’s important to understand the significance of a service record. Continue reading
It can be simple and straightforward to buy a car off eBay and you might bag a bargain. But it’s still worth being cautious
To buy a car off eBay you should approach it with the same caution as if you were buying from a private seller. However, although it’s worth being careful – and there are plenty of pitfalls for the unwary ‑ bargains do exist. You’ll find cars that have been lovingly cared for at knock-down prices. And if you’re after a classic, you’ll occasionally come across a gem of a car that’s been undervalued for a quick sale. Here’s how to come away as a satisfied rather than sorry buyer.
Why is eBay better than a regular auction?
One in 10 car buyers don’t drive their new car until they’ve actually bought it
Used car buying can be a stressful business while selling can be equally nerve-wracking. It’s probably hardly surprising that the majority of us dread getting rid of our existing cars. And nearly a million car buyers don’t even bother test driving the car that they do buy.
Every day, approximately 20,000 drivers begin the head-scratching process of selling their car. A staggering 7.2 million were sold in 2014, the last full year figures are available for, which means for every new car bought, 3.3 used cars were sold.
For drivers who are changing their car for another, the first hurdle is to find out what your existing motor is worth. Because whether selling it privately or trading it in to a dealer against the value of a new or used car, you could end up hundreds or thousands of pounds out of pocket if you don’t do your homework.
Although you might view selling your car as a daunting process, it’s the work of a moment; something you can do while enjoying a cup of tea with biscuits. Follow this guide to accurately value and sell your car for the best price.