The UK is a massive market for second hand cars. There is demand for all kinds of models, from city runners to family cars, SUVs to EVs. Some people even keep an eye out for their dream classic vehicles. However, you should always be a little cautious when you buy second hand. This is the case whether you buy from a dealer, a private seller, or with help from a car broker.
One of the most attractive things about used cars is they can be incredibly affordable. However, sometimes the price may not be as impressive as it first looks. There could be problems lurking that could result in thousands of pounds of hidden costs. This could include repair bills or even fines. To reduce the risk, you need to ask the seller a number of important questions. If the seller can’t answer or refuses to, it may be best to look for a different vehicle.
Is there a warranty?
Most second hand cars will be far past their warranty period. Many manufacturers only offer one for the first three years or 100,000 miles. However, there are some that have longer ones. Kia is well-known for providing 7 years, so even with a 5 year old car you could still have some of it left. Manufacturers like Ssangyong and MG offer 7 years too (the latter primarily on MG3 models from after 2018). It is best to think about the age of the car and ask about any remaining warranty time.
What is the maintenance history?
The single most important thing to ask is what has been done to maintain the car over the years. Here you want to look at everything including MOT and service history, as well as repairs and replacements. The older the vehicle is, the more likely it will have had parts replaced. If so, you want to be sure this was done properly using the right products.
A good maintenance history will give you peace of mind about your purchase. It could also show that even older vehicles with more miles on the clock are still a good buy. Any seller should be able to tell you about the history of the car. If you work with a car broker, you can get them to enquire.
Are the tyres and brakes in good condition?
One of the biggest potential hidden costs with second hand cars is having to pay for new tyres and brakes. It can cost hundreds of pounds for four new tyres. You can then get a similar bill for replacing the brake discs and pads. Together it could add £1,000 or more to the price of the vehicle.
With that in mind, you should always take the time to inspect the tyres and brakes. Ideally you want to check each tyre in three places to get an idea of the condition and tread depth. Ask about the brakes, especially when they were last replaced.
Is all the important paperwork available?
Cars need a number of different documents, including the MOT certificate and the V5C. You should make sure the seller has all of them. This will ensure the car is legitimate and also saves you money on having to procure them. A proof of purchase is also a really good idea.
Do you want to be a car broker?
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So, if you have an interest in becoming a car broker, browse our website and take a look at the products. You can also contact us if you have questions or want some advice.