Buying Your First Car
You have been saving hard to fulfil your dream, owning your first car. But how do you go about it? What's best? We explain the difference between buying a used car from a :-
If your knowledge of cars is sketchy, use our printable checklist. It gives the main things to look out for when assessing a used car's condition, and tells you the signs that point to a car which has been stolen or clocked (had its mileage altered). As a back up, take someone with you who knows about cars.
Selection of Best First Cars for new drivers
Selection of Young drivers car insurance
Selection of Breakdown and Recovery services
Selection of Finance Available for New Drivers
Buying Your First Car from a Dealer
This is the safest way of buying as you get the maximum protection of the law. But there are dodgy dealers, so look for an established firm with a good reputation. Ask friends if they can recommend anyone.
When you purchase a second hand car from a car dealer, under the Sales of Goods Act, you have the right to expect the car to:
•be of satisfactory quality (taking into account its age and mileage)
•meet any description given to you when you were buying it,
•be fit for the purpose (for example, to get you from A to B).
Know your rights. More can be found at Which?
Look for a garage whose cars have been part-inspected by the AA or the RAC. Ask to see the report on the car you want to buy. It will not be as detailed as one you pay for yourself, but will provide useful information. Or choose a dealer with a quality checking scheme, such as Ford Direct or Vauxhall's Network Q.
A trade association sign may mean that the firm follows a code of practice. The Retail Motor Industry Federation's Motorline or the Scottish Motor Trade Association can tell you which local dealers subscribe to a code of practice supported by the Office of Fair Trading.
Before buying any car, and especially a used car, it is important to check the car’s condition thoroughly and test it out on the road. How does it feel on the road? Do the brakes provide smooth, reassuring braking? Rattles and 'clunks' will soon reveal themselves, even on a short trip around the block. If the car is more than three years old, check that it has a current MOT which states that the vehicle complies with certain criteria at a given date - it is not, however, a guarantee that any fault which may develop will be put right by the dealer.
A full service history is also very important to ensure that the vehicle has been properly looked after, and check that the mileage is warranted in writing to avoid any potential problems in the future. Ask to see the registration document and service record - does everything match up?
Think about a Pre-purchase inspection
Get a Pre-purchase Inspection (with a 5% discount!)
2pass has teamed up with ClickMechanic to introduce another new and great service that gives car buyers peace of mind that the car they are going to buy is not going to leave them with an expensive repair bill. Furthermore we’ve even managed to score you a 5% discount code using code: 2PASS5.
Find out more here.
84,000 people complained to the Citizen's Advice Bureau last year about faulty second hand cars.
With such a huge volume of complaints to the Citizens Advice Bureau each year the Citizen’s Advice Bureau recommend customers get an independent inspection on their perspective new car to determine if the car has any underlying issues or not. This can leave you with peace of mind that the car is in good working order or can help you dodge a potential costly experience to put right.
How the Pre-purchase inspection works.
When you book in for a pre-purchase inspection you select a day and time that suits you and then ClickMechanic will match you with a suitable vetted mechanic who operates in the area of where the vehicle you want checked is located. The mechanic will then carry out all 118 checks that are part of the standard inspection (you can see these here) and any additional things you would like them to inspect.
What Information will you receive?
Once the inspection is complete you shall receive a full report into your email inbox giving a rating for each of the inspections given and then you shall be able to discuss the report with your mechanic in more detail.
How much will it cost?
The service costs between £73.60 - £105.60 depending on the area of the UK the vehicle is based in. To get a definitive quote head to our pre-purchase inspection page here and simply get a quote. Its super quick and easy.
Buying Your First Car from a Private Seller
This should be cheaper than buying from a dealer. It is also riskier. The car may be stolen. It may have been used as security for
short term loans or hire agreement and actually belong to a finance company.
You have fewer legal rights if you buy privately. The car must be as described but the other rules don't apply. If a private seller lies about the condition of a car, you can sue for your losses - if you can find the seller. Some dealers pretend to be private sellers to avoid their legal obligations and to get rid of faulty or over-priced cars. They advertise in local newspapers and shop windows.
Signs to look out for include:
Ads which give a mobile phone number or specify a time to call. It may be a public phone box, not the seller's home;
The same phone number appears in several ads;
When you phone about the car, the seller asks 'which one?';
The seller wants to bring the car to you or meet you somewhere, rather than you going to the seller's home.
What Does All This Jargon Mean? We try and explain everything to know about the terminology used by advertisers.
Buying Your First Car from an Auction
You can pick up a bargain at an auction but you need to know what you are doing. Go as a spectator first and see what happens.
Auctions are probably the riskiest way of buying a used car. Your usual legal rights may not apply if the seller issues a disclaimer, such as the term 'sold as seen', which excludes all or some of those rights. Read the auctioneer's conditions of business carefully to check whether this is the case.
If you don't know much about cars, take someone with you who does. Decide the maximum you can afford and stick to it. The entry form attached to the windscreen will give you an idea of the car's history.
What to look for when buying a car
Assess the car in daylight. Take it for a test drive. Our checklist gives an idea of what to look for, but take someone with you if you're not confident about cars.
If a car has been in an accident, it may be unsafe. Sometimes, two damaged cars are welded together to create a new one. These are known as 'cut and shuts' and are almost certainly unsafe. Our checklist tells you some signs which point to accident damage.
Taking delivery of a 'new' car, even if it is pre-owned, is great fun but please watch out and Good Luck.