the best place to actually buy a car? Where you choose to buy will depend
on the risks you're prepared to take to get a bargain, the kind of service you
expect and how far you're prepared to travel.
far the most secure is at a franchised dealer - the local official dealer
for a particular car-maker. Most have 'approved used' schemes and they may well
be able to track down a car that suits you if they don't have one in stock. You'll
get a well-checked, clean & presentable car, a long warranty and plenty
of legal comeback if things go wrong.
always get a car insurance quote from Direct
as they don't take part in the price comparison websites.
what you get in service and security, you pay for in price, and you'll
only find one make of car at each location. Franchised dealers have
so charge a lot more than for a similar car bought privately.
dealers vary hugely in quality, ranging from glossy showrooms
on waste ground, and there are usually plenty around your area. They'll normally
keep a good choice of often older, higher mileage stock, and
so be able to
offer better deals. The cars will often not be so well prepared as
at a franchised
dealer, and may even still need some work done. So it's always worth getting your
own inspection (see AimVI
and the RAC
for more info). But they have the same legal obligations
to you as a franchised dealer and they'll normally take your car in part exchange.
You could get a better price for it too, as they might re-sell it themselves,
and you'll often still
get a short warranty. However, they're not so hot for
finance, which is often expensive.
supermarkets operate on the 'pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap' principle.
Buying power and high turnover
of stock lets them offer all the dealer facilities
and also knockdown prices.
They mostly stock mainstream, ex-fleet cars and you'll find a wide range at one
On the down side, they might be cheap but don't expect much
price. And they might not want to part exchange your car either.
If they do,
they're less likely to give you the best price for it.
supermarkets do also tend to be few and far between. Distance isn't just a problem
for viewing a car you like the sound of. Even if you buy, you might
able to drive your car away the same day and will have to return to pick
up. Worse, if something goes wrong under warranty, you may have to return
to the supermarket to make a claim.
privately is more risky - what you see is what you get and if the engine falls
off the next day there's almost no comeback.
Searching privately is
also more time-consuming as you can only see one car
at a time and there'll
be no part exchange, so you'll also have to sell your own
car yourself. You'll
also have to arrange your own finance and, if you want one,
buy an after-market
But there's an upside: mainly, that by cutting out the middle-man,
it's easily the cheapest way to buy. You'll also be able to talk to the owner
about the car's history & reliability (while remembering they actually want
to sell you the car!).
private, but investing in an expert AimVI
inspection to make sure you know what you're getting, can make a lot of sense.
Often the inspection will either give you bargaining chips to haggle the price
down, or prevent you
making an expensive mistake.
on for our KwikGuide to giving a car
a thorough DIY inspection or read
more about your legal rights when buying
a used car.
are for people who know what they're doing. There are serious
be had, but auctions are also a dumping ground for tat and so
very high risk.
There'll be a wide choice of cars, but opportunities for testing
cars are limited and you might get a very limited warranty. As
privately, there's also no part exchange.
General rules are: visit an
auction several times before bidding for anything - it's definitely an acquired
art; follow the car into the ring to listen for any problems; decide on an absolute
maximum you'd pay and don't bid past it; and make sure you understand the conditions
of sale before bidding. And if at all possible, take
internet now offers a growing number of 'direct' dealers who don't have the
costs of plush showrooms, so can offer some really great deals. Buying sight unseen
is still a risk, but if you're looking for a nearly new car there are now
companies offering bargain prices and who'll bring the car to you for inspection.
You may even get a short test period or money-back guarantee in
case you discover
faults or you find you can't live with the car.
where to buy your next car means weighing up what's most important
security and convenience, or lowest possible price.
to view a car >>