What Used Car Should I Buy?

How to Choose the Right Used Car

What's the right car for me?

So you have decided it’s time to replace your car, but you are on a budget and buying a used model. There is an inexhaustible supply of cars for sale and you want to get the right deal, but the choice is mind-boggling. So how can we help you narrow it down and work out the right one for you?

Can I afford it?

It can be tempting to stretch a little further than you’ve budgeted to get the model you want, but life has a habit of throwing up unexpected costs when you least need them. Think carefully before committing to more than you had planned. And we’re not just talking about the sticker price in the front window – we mean on an ongoing basis. Any car, new or used, has associated running costs.

It pays to have your monthly budget in mind. Think about what you can afford to spend on insurance, road tax and fuel; if you need affordable, no frills transport, shop accordingly. If you are considering part exchanging your current vehicle, you can use our free online valuation tool to get an instant price, which may help you with deciding your monthly budget.

You might find that a diesel is what you need, especially if you cover a lot of miles. This might set you back a little more up front, but save you hundreds in the long run.

Is it what I actually need?

This sounds obvious, but it’s easy to be seduced by the sporty model when what you really need is a spacious family car with room for the dog.
If you regularly drive on country roads that get covered in mud or ice, consider the reassurance of four-wheel drive. Otherwise, buying an SUV or crossover may be a frivolity – these cars are very fashionable and demand a higher price as a result.

Let’s take an active, growing family as an example. They will be best served by something with flexible seating, a big boot and a hard-wearing interior. SUVs often tick these boxes, but estates and MPVs are practical alternatives. They’re not as cool, so the market reflects this – they make great-value used cars.

Your (and your passengers’) mobility is something to remember as well. Look for cars with an elevated seating position and easy access to the rear of the cabin if you are regularly transporting young children, or those who are older or disabled.

What’s essential, and what’s a nice-to-have?

Think about the home comforts you can’t live without. For some people that’s a great stereo. For others it’s air conditioning. A flash paint job and alloy wheels may look nice, but remember you spend more time in your car than you do looking at it.

If you’re covering lots of miles, never underestimate the importance of comfortable and supportive seats. Your back will thank you for it.

Keep an open mind

Once you’ve worked out what kind of car you need, spend a little time doing research online and assemble a shortlist of models from various manufacturers. Going a little off-piste with a less well-known brand can sometimes give you a bargain, but remember this can make maintenance and insurance more expensive.

You might have a specific make and model in mind, but remember you don’t have to buy the first one you see. Be patient and wait until you find the perfect one, and be open to other models that come along in the meantime.

Ask the experts

If you’re still stuck, get in touch with Peoples Ford and we know all the right questions to ask to help you find the right car. Pop in to your nearest showroom or pick up the phone today.