Top Tips for Buying a Second-Hand Car

By Leeds Credit Union
11/08/2021

When the time comes to find a car, purchasing a used motor can be very cost effective compared to buying a new model. And with the news that second-hand car sales are currently on the rise amid a shortage of new cars, we've grouped together the top tips to follow when browsing the second-hand market.

Put your finances first

Buying any vehicle is a big investment so make sure you are in a good financial position to purchase a car. Have a budget in place and find out the best way to finance your car. Whether it's through a personal loan, vehicle finance or straightforward cash, Leeds Credit Union can help.

The running costs

Once your finances are in order, you can then decide what type of car you need. Think about how practical it needs to be, how often you will be using it and what size you need it to be.

You should also take into consideration the running costs of owning a car:

  • Fuel Fuel price, the type of fuel, the car’s consumption and the way you drive your vehicle. Take a look at these tips from AA to keep the cost down. 

  • Tax Tax for used cars is based on their CO2 emissions and can range from £0 to more than £1,000 per year. Remember that the way cars are taxed has changed for models registered from April 2017, so ensure you pick the correct scale on which to measure your costs.

  • Maintenance If the used car you want is over three years old, it will need to have an MOT every year. It will also need an annual service to keep the manufacturer’s warranty valid.

  • InsuranceInsurance is one of the most expensive costs associated with owning a car. Take a look at which insurance group your car falls into in order to budget accurately.

The car costs calculator can help calculate all of these costs on your potential new vehicle for a full year. 

Condition of the car

One of the main things you need to look for is the car’s mileage. The average distance covered per year is around 10,000 miles, so if the odometer’s figure appears wildly out for its age, ask why.

You should also look at the overall condition of the car and keep an eye out for scratches, dents and other potential problems. Does the car seem safe to drive? Trust yourself – if the car looks to be in terrible condition, continue your search elsewhere.

Securing the deal

When you’ve agreed on a price and decided you’re going to purchase the car, make sure all terms are agreed in writing, with a receipt that both parties can sign. Remember to keep a copy - it should show vehicle details, price, terms of sale and both the seller’s and buyer’s name and address.

Be careful about taking large sums of money to pay for a car. If possible, use a money transfer. 

How we can help

At Leeds Credit Union, we can help your plans become a reality. We have a variety of loans that can help make investments such as these more affordable.