Top Tips for Bagging Yourself a Second Hand Car Bargain


You can save yourself a huge amount of cash buying a second hand car, if you know the tricks of the trade. Here are our top tips on making sure you get the best possible deal when it comes to buying a second hand car.

First Put in Some Research

The best place to start is to think about the type of car that you are looking to buy. Being a little too open minded and not researching enough means that you probably won’t end up getting the best car for your needs, or for the best price. Therefore whittle your list down to a small list of the models that you are really interested in and then you can start to look at the best deal out there.

What to Consider

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Think about the brands that best keep their value. Consider the cars that are economical and cheap to run, think about whether you want petrol or diesel, think about the types of insurances that you will need to get depending on the car. Smaller cars, for examples generally are cheaper to ensure, so look into these kinds of details.

You will also want to consider if you need the car for anything specific, if it is for simple city commutes or for long haul drives. Perhaps you need a large boot or maybe it is important to you that you buy an eco-friendly car.

When to Buy

You will also want to think about the best times to buy a used car as being strategic with timing can save you some serious cash. Car dealers have targets to meet and commision based incentives that are usually gathered at the end of March, June, September and December, which makes these times a great time to buy as they will be itching to get up to those targets and your sale might just get them there. If dealers need to sell cars, quick, they will be much more open to negotiation.

Make Some Money First

In order to put yourself in a stronger position financially, why not consider selling your old car first and then using that money towards the purchase of your new cars. Alternatively, you could try to do a part exchange deal, which if done rightly, can save you some time and sometimes some cash.

Really think through your options however as many times, selling your own car privately can mean that you save up to 20% more than you would be doing with a part exchange through a dealership. Part exchanging is always much less hassle than trying to sell outright however but there is usually more opportunity to make money if you’re prepared to put in the time to find a private seller.

Go Through Your Budget

You will want to consider how much you want to spend and be firm with a maximum price so as not to stretch yourself too far. It is far too easy to get carried away in the moment and then over spend, so be strict on your budget. Not only will you need to consider the cost of the car you also need to bear in mind the other cost involved too to avoid any nasty surprises.

If you have taken a loan or dealer finance you will need to factor in any interest and your repayment scheme. You will also have to factor in other costs such as tax, car insurance, fuel, MOT’s, servicing and parking permits, where applicable.

Compare Dealerships

To make sure you are getting the best deal possible you will want to invest the time comparing your local dealerships. Ask the dealers in your area for their best possible price and see how far you get them down on the price. Don’t be afraid or shy to negotiate, it’s part of their job and most of them thrive off the process of bartering. There are usually two prices when it comes to buying and selling cars, the advertised price and the actual price that it can be bought at, so enjoy the challenge of getting as close to that second price as possible. Also think about really playing the game and go to dealers with a cheaper price you’ve found elsewhere to see if they can match it. They may be happy to match it for a slightly superior car.

Know Your Top Second Hand Car Brands & Models

Look for a dealership that offers an extensive range of the model you are looking for. Put in the time to find the specialists in your area for the brands and models that you are particularly interested in. Subarus are great cars at maintaining their value so buyers want to keep their eyes peeled for brands such as Subaru whose models tend not to depreciate too greatly over time.

The Subaru Outback, as a family car, has held its ground as one of the top models for holding value in the family category. So any buyers looking for a top family car, this is a great model to consider. The Subaru Outback not only packs a real punch when it comes to space, it is also a really versatile ride, of which you can find out more from Chatham Parkway Subaru. It is nifty and agile in the city and can take on tough terrain in the countryside, which is the reason it is such a firm favourite with families looking for safety and versatility in a second hand car.

For customers looking for second hand cars at the more luxurious end of the scale then Audio is a really good brand for holding strong value over the years. The Audi A6 continues to have second hand executive buyers really excited about its luxurious interior and excellent drivability.

If you are looking for a smaller car, the Volkswagen Golf tend to offer a really solid investment for second hand buyers. As they offer top-tier safety features and really reliable engineering they are a great car for second hand buyers, looking for something stylish, slinky and a lot of fun.  

Therefore it is recommendable really put some thought into the types of brands and models that you are looking for. Top brands such as Audi and Subaru offer great value for money for second hand buyers and offer longevity when it comes to used cars. So make sure sure you are looking at not just the brands but also the models that offer buyers a really solid long-term investment.

Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate

There are a few tricks when it comes to haggling and practice can certainly make perfect. If they can’t move on the price, chances are that they can add to the price by adding something on top of it. So see if there are any freebies that they can add in that will add value to your purchase.

Cars that have already been discounted generally have more flexibility so make sure that you are keeping your eyes on those deals. Silence can be awkward in any situation with someone you don’t know, but in negotiation it is your ally. So as the negotiation is coming to an end make sure that you stay silent and let them fill it with further negotiation.

Be tough with them and learn to walk away if you are not getting the price that you want. Sometimes it means that they will come back to you and say that they have reconsidered and are happy to accept. Also look for defaults and flaws in the model that you are looking at and try to use them to get a lower price. It is all about attitude, so make sure you are are firm but fair, no-nonsense but friendly and amiable and see how far you can charm them into giving you the best deal.


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About Sean Mackay

Sean writes about cars, golf and events going on in British Columbia, Canada. He is also the editor for The Automotive Review - an automotive publication bringing a West Coast flavour to its editorials.
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