June 18, 2024

South West News

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Driving Deals: A Strategic Guide to Getting the Best Value on Used Cars

If you’re looking to pick up a used car, then being able to negotiate the best possible price is a key skill. Or, rather, it’s a whole set of skills – and scooping up those deals means paying attention to all of them.

The used car market can seem a complicated and intimidating place, if you’re not used to dealing with it. Let’s therefore run through all of the factors you’ll need to contend with, and how you might approach shopping for that bargain vehicle.

Research and Budgeting

The start of your journey should involve setting out your objectives. How much money are you looking to spend, and which types of car are you interested in driving? By setting out your priorities early, you can avoid being distracted by deals that don’t suit your needs.

Your budget should ideally be conservative. View it also as a maximum rather than a target. Divide your spending between your deposit and your monthly payments. The more you can put down up front, generally speaking, the better the deal will be overall.

Inspection and Test Drives

You’ll want to inspect your purchase in person, and drive it, too. Be on the lookout for any obvious defects in the paintwork. Even if nicks and scratches are superficial, they might indicate a broader pattern of neglect that might show up in other, less superficial ways. Check for visible rust and blistering, and make sure that you open and close each door.

During the test drive, you should pay close attention to the responsiveness of the steering, and the suspension, too. Look at the tyre tread depth, and whether the tyres all match one another.

For best results, it’s a good idea to get the opinion of a professional mechanic, if you know one. You might even throw in a cash incentive, since this is going to be an extremely consequential decision for you, financially.

Shopping from a reputable, approved dealer will give you some peace of mind. Look for local ones. If you’re in Staffordshire, for example, you might look at car dealers in Cannock.

Negotiation Mastery

You’ll want to go into every negotiation with a strong idea of the market value. If you’ve noticed any defects or trouble spots, then be sure that you bring them up, and use them to leverage the seller. If you’re able to pay the seller quickly, then you might be able to secure a more favourable deal – but you might equally give them a time limit on your offer, to pump up the pressure and close the deal.

Financing Wisdom and Additional Costs

The cost of your used car isn’t going to be paid in one go. You’ll also need to worry about road tax, registration fees, and any alterations that might get the car into acceptable condition.

If you need to finance the purchase via borrowing, then you’ll have several options to explore. You might look at a personal contract purchase, which sees the driver make monthly payments based on the interest rate and the price of the car. Alternatively, you might consider personal contract hire, which is a form of long-term rental.

The options are myriad, and you’ll want to consider each of them before committing.