Although it might be a bit of a pain having to pick up the phone, it’s a useful way of getting some information about the car before you leave the comfort of your own home. Plus, you’ll be able to make sure it is still available so you don’t waste your time.
If you are looking at an ad from a private seller, make sure you start with: “I’m calling about the car you’ve advertised for sale.” It may seem daft not mentioning the car, but if they’re a trader selling multiple cars but pretending to be a private seller, you’ll catch them out since they won’t know which one you’re calling about. Be on your guard.
Few people simply head down to their local car dealer to see what’s there these days – so much the better, because there’s a wealth of places to look for a car online. Facebook marketplace, Gumtree and online auction sites such as eBay are great hunting grounds. But the best deals are to be had at car auctions.
Car auctions are where many vehicles that have come from lease and company car fleets are sold on to dealers to go out into the wider market. But private buyers can take part too – and because you effectively cut out the middleman by buying at an auction, you cut out their profit on the deal, meaning you can make some great savings.
However, buying at auction is a very different process from buying a car normally. You’ll need to register with the auctioneer as a buyer and, if you do want to buy a car, you won’t get to test drive it first. You only get to hear it run and inspect it as it’s driven into the auction hall. And once you’ve left the premises, the purchase is final, meaning you need to be clear on what you’re looking for.
If that doesn’t put you off, visit a few auctions first to make sure you understand how it works. Do your homework to make sure you’re happy with what buying at auction entails. Get it right, though, and you’ll make a significant saving on your next used car.
You might think electric cars are the stuff of the future. Not so – with plenty of used examples flying around, they’re very much of the here and now. And some of the best electric cars around are available for peanuts on the used car market, simply because they’re still an unknown quantity for many people.
Some electric cars come with a battery lease, which will push their prices down further. It means you have to pay a monthly fee to lease the battery from the manufacturer but, with some of these, there are benefits – for example, some car makers will guarantee to replace the battery once it starts to wear out. That being the case, it’s worth considering these models as they can be great bargains with added peace of mind.
Whether an electric car will work for you depends on your lifestyle and how many miles you usually have to do in one go. But if you’re tempted, check out our guide to the best used electric cars.
If you are looking to purchase a car registered after 1 April 2017, then it is important to know how much it was when it was new. Any car registered before this date has to pay an annual vehicle excise duty (VED) based on the carbon dioxide (CO2) figure produced by the engine and this information is usually quite easy to find out. After this date, it is a flat rate fee of £140 with an additional £310 surcharge for any car that had a list price of over £40,000 when new. That last point is very important because this extra charge applies for five years, starting from when the vehicle is two years old and finishing when it reaches six years of age.