If you’re in the market for a used car, there are a few different avenues you can go down. You might decide to visit dealer, pop into a car auction to find out what’s on offer, or you may get in touch with a private seller.
Buying from a used car dealership is often the cheapest and most reliable way to purchase a car, helping you to avoid additional costs and save money on the price of your next second-hand car.
We’ve put together the reasons why buying from a dealer is the best option, including:
- Avoiding additional costs
- Being able to negotiate price
- Part-exchanging your car
- Finance options – if you need them
- Protecting your consumer rights
- Benefiting from a warranty
- Getting a reliable purchase
When buying your used car, you want to get as good a price as possible. While it’s possible to get a bargain at auction, there are often extra costs that you need to be aware of when buying this way.
These include inspection fees, seller’s fees, payment and handling fees, storage and delivery fees (if you can’t drive the car away straight from buying) and any fees around valeting or refurbishing your car if you require it.
These extra fees can mean that you end up paying beyond the original sale price of the car, which could be the difference between you getting a good deal and paying over the odds. However, by choosing to buy from a dealer, you can circumnavigate some of these fees and save yourself money too.
Although not always possible, there is the chance of negotiation on price when buying from a dealer. This is unlike buying at auction, where you’ll often have to pay the price given without much room for manoeuvre.
If you decide to negotiate at the dealership, it’s important to do some research first. Look at similar cars to the one you wish to purchase and find out what they are on the market for – if it’s lower than the price your dealer is offering, there may be room to haggle.
However, it is important to remember that most cars at a dealership will have already been price competitively and for many, negotiation just isn’t an option.
One of the key benefits a dealer has over an auction or private seller is that they can offer you the option of part exchanging your car for a new one. This can help you to reduce the price of the car by trading in your existing vehicle as part of the payment.
Part exchanging can also eliminate the hassle of selling your existing vehicle. Doing a part exchange will allow you to hand over your old car when you collect your new one, so you don’t have to sell your car separately - saving you time and no end of hassle.
Many people choose to buy from a used car dealer because they can offer finance options to help purchase the vehicle. This isn’t the case with a private seller or auction where you will be expected to pay the full price for a car upfront. There are other options available such as getting a personal loan, but car finance tends to be the preferred method.
If you would rather not pay for your car upfront, the majority of dealers will have finance options to suit you. These include hire purchase, where you pay for the car in regular instalments over a set period of time until it’s fully paid off, or personal contract purchase (PCP), where you also spread costs over a set number of instalments, but don’t have to pay off the full value of the car unless you want to.
These options offer much greater flexibility with some dealers even offering 0% finance to prevent rising costs. Because of this, buying from a dealer will be the best option for those hoping to avoid paying for their car in one lump sum.
Although buying from auctions or private sellers can be tempting, it’s important to consider your consumer rights.
When you buy privately, the only rights you have are that the car must be roadworthy and ‘sold as described’. If you have any issues with the car after you’ve bought it, there’s little you will be able to do unless it falls outside of these criteria. Similar rules tend to apply at auction too, though you can check the auction website beforehand to find out more information about your rights.
If you decide to buy from a dealer, your consumer rights will be stronger. This means you are better protected if something goes wrong after you’ve bought a car, offering you peace of mind about your purchase.
When buying a car privately or from an auction, you probably won’t have any sort of warranty. The only exception is in the rare case that the car is under three years old and still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
However, if you buy from a dealer, you are much more likely to get a warranty on any car you buy. Most dealerships often offer a warranty as standard with every car, which lasts a set amount of time or miles. After this warranty runs out, you’ll have option to extend it further for a cost.
It’s worth checking with your dealer to find out what their warranty includes – in some cases, you may be able to upgrade to a higher level of cover. Warranties can prove to be invaluable covering you for most repairs (provided they fall within the limits of the warranty).
Alongside getting a good price for your used car, it’s important to make sure the car is reliable and worth the money you’re spending on it.
When it comes to reliability, buying from a dealer is your best bet. Dealers put their cars through pre-sale checks to ensure they are fit for the road and there are no underlying issues – so if a car is on sale, you can be confident it’s in relatively good nick. Checks are less consistent when buying at auction (unless you’re willing to pay extra for an inspection) or when buying privately, so you’ll need to do your research to find out what tests are in place.
Most dealers will allow you to test drive any car before you buy it, which is a great opportunity for you to spend time with the car and make sure you’re comfortable before buying. It’s also worth asking questions, such as what the car’s service and MOT history is, as any reputable dealer should be able to provide the answer.
The checks performed by dealers, as well as your own checks and questions, should ensure that any car you buy is in good condition. As already mentioned, you will also benefit from increased consumer rights and warranty cover in case something does go wrong.
Although there will be the potential to find bargains at auctions or through private sellers, it’s important to consider the wider picture when looking to buy a used car. Dealers can offer value due to the increased consumer rights, warranty cover and quality checks on their cars, which can help you to save money in the long run. Negotiation, finance options and part exchanging can also help you when it comes to cost, allowing you flexibility in your payment.
If you’re still unsure about where to buy from, download our Ins and Outs Guide to Where to Buy a Used Car to find out more about each option.