Buying a used car can be very exciting. But it can also be nerve-wracking. Many of us (quite understandably) go into shopping for a used vehicle with our guard up. We see the cons and scams everywhere we look. While there's nothing wrong with being cautious, we can also find ourselves focusing our efforts in all the wrong places. Whether you're buying privately or from a dealership, it's a good idea to consider some of the most common mistakes that lead people to either invest in a lemon or inadvertently pay over the odds.
Here are some commonly used car buying mistakes which are best avoided if you want to get a great deal today that still looks like a great deal in 2 years' time!
Making decisions based solely on price
Of course, nobody likes to overspend on a vehicle. But if a deal looks too good to be true it usually is. Making decisions based solely on price can leave you with more expenses later on down the line. Very often private sellers will sell vehicles which need a little love cheap to avoid bearing the expense of repairs. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Especially if you're a good mechanic. However, if you see a car
Pinning all your hopes on one model
There's nothing wrong with having a clear idea of what you want. But falling in love with one particular model can create problems for you when car shopping. It can blind you to other great deals on makes and models with the exact same spec. Instead, figure out what features you value in that model and find a dealer who can show you comparable cars.
Failing to do your homework on the dealership
The stereotype of the dodgy car dealer is something that, mercifully, shoppers don't have to contend with in this day and age. Vehicle retailers are strictly regulated by several bodies. Still, it's also fair to say that some dealers have better reputations than others, especially when it comes to going the extra mile in terms of aftercare. Choose a dealer with a sterling reputation and a long history like Georgeson Cars. In the online age, it's easier than ever to do your due diligence. Make sure you scrutinise customer reviews and pay special attention to aftercare.
Foregoing the test drive when buying privately
Test driving at a dealership is fun. Test driving with a private seller, however, can be just plain awkward. Getting into a car with a stranger whose car you may or not buy. It's not the most socially comfortable prospect. Still, that's absolutely no excuse not to do it. If you discover something's awry and you didn't take a test drive, you have no means of recourse and only yourself to blame.
Passing on a great car just because it's a fixer-upper
Finally, it's important to look beyond the surface when choosing a used car. Something that's a bit of a fixer-upper aesthetically may have a lot going for it under the bonnet. Take a look at our guide on turning a banger to banging!