What to Look for When Buying a Used Car

Buying a used car is a good alternative to a new car at a much lower cost.

It can often be difficult finding a car that you want at a price that is affordable and suitable for your needs and budget.

It's always fun having a walk around a showroom packed full of new cars, but generally, a new car is expensive and you could get a lot more value out of the same make and model car that has been used before.

The popularity of buying used cars has increased substantially over the past few years and that is due to the ability to find good cars at affordable prices.

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Many people are unaware that you don't have to buy a used car straight up with cash if you don't want to, as finance is offered at most used car dealerships.

The process can be daunting, and so we've put together a few points on what to look out for when buying a used car.

Used car requirements

Buying a used car on finance that allows you to offer no deposit means you don't have to stump up any savings upfront.

Finance is also a great way to be able to be more selective about the vehicles you may want to buy, including any modifications or extras you might add.

It's worth trying to work out how much you'll be driving the vehicle so you can consider the extra cost of running the car, including fuel consumption.

The location you live in and the requirements of yourself and/or your family should also be considered, as you don't want to be buying something that doesn't benefit everyone that will be using it.


Car finance deals typically last between 24-60 months so you should consider just how many miles the car you are looking at has driven on average across its lifespan.

If a vehicle has driven more than 12,000 miles in a year, then you can probably assume that the car has gone through a considerable amount of wear and tear to be in the position it is now.

You don't want to be on a finance deal and continually go over your mileage allowance as that will cause excess fees further down the line.



If you're buying a used car on finance, the likelihood is it will be from a reputable dealer that would have the service history available to you.

You should also have a good understanding of any damages or issues with the car before you view it so you know exactly what you're getting yourself into.

There's no reason why you can't have a little inspection yourself, though, so when you view the car in person, feel free to check the interior and exterior for any additional damage you weren't previously made aware of.

Fuel economy

You'll want to know just how much fuel the car's engine guzzles so you can plan that into your monthly budget and make an informed decision before you buy.

Even if the car you want seems cheaper than you perhaps expected, that could be because of hidden issues that could impact the fuel economy.

The last thing you want to do is buy a car that you believe is good value, only to find that the reason for that was probably because it costs an extortionate amount to fill up regularly.

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Best time to buy

Car dealers generally have targets to hit each month and quarter, so targeting a purchase at the end of a quarter may be a good idea, especially if they haven't hit their target just yet.

December is also a great time as dealers are looking to bring new stocks into the new year while also putting on deals ahead of Christmas.


What mileage is good for a used car?

The average car will drive 10,000-12,000 miles per year, so if you are able to find a used car with a mileage below that, then you should consider that as a good lower-mileage option.

What is the best age for a used car?

If you are buying a used car that is two to three years old then you should consider that a good and smart investment, especially if it has relatively low mileage.