The Motorparks Used Car Buying Guide

The Used Car Buying Guide

Buying the right used car can be a bit of a headache. Read our used car buying guide to discover how you can avoid pitfalls and pick up the best vehicle for your budget, as well as receive tips on spotting issues and saving cash.

Early steps to take

The first step in any used car buying guide should be to help you understand what it is you’re after. Here are some quick factors to consider before buying used.

  • Decide what you need: Hatchback, saloon, 4×4 or family car? What are your requirements?
  • Consider overall cost: This includes running costs and insurance. That Focus RS may seem a good idea until it’s time to fuel up.
  • Research prices: Certain models may be more expensive than others. Decide which best fits your budget.
  • Prepare to haggle: Prices can generally be negotiated if you’re reasonable with your expectations.
  • Select the conditions: Never buy a car in poor light or bad weather. You need a good view of all its features and potential flaws.

Where to buy your used car


Buying a car privately can net you a bargain – but it’s also a bit of a gamble. If you’re not a car expert, you may fail to spot any problems with the car and end up seduced by a low price but driving a dangerous set of wheels.

Always take along someone knowledgeable in cars and do a proper inspection of the vehicle. If the owner protests, there’s something amiss.

Used car dealerships

When it comes to buying from a dealer, do your research on reputation online before visiting. Looking around on the web before visiting also helps you select which car you want and to pick availability. Avoid dealerships with bad reviews.

You may pay more for an ‘approved used’ car but they come with better warranty and legal protection. Check out our range of used cars here.

Whether you buy privately or from a dealership – always test drive the car.

Pitfalls to avoid

When it comes to buying privately or from a less than reputable garage, look out for the following pitfalls:

Clocking: This is when a cars odometer is wound back to decrease the amount of miles ‘on the clock’. Less miles means the seller can ask for more money – but you’ll end up with a car that has travelled further than claimed and in a worse condition.

Car cloning: This is when a car is given the identity of a different one by using number plates from another vehicle. This is extremely dangerous, as you will not get any accurate history for the vehicle you’re buying.

Cut and shut: This is when two cars that have been declared written off are fused together. This is often done in such a near-perfect manner that you can’t outwardly tell.

Invest in a data check to ensure your potential future car is safe.