Top tips for buying a used car

Motoring 2019-7-11

Get a great price on a used vehicle with these buying hacks.

Minimise the impact of depreciation

The shiny new cars look great, but the ‘rumour’ that cars lose 20% of their value as soon as you drive them away from the dealership, is unfortunately accurate.

Depending on the make and model you buy, a new car taken on finance could mean that you’re immediately in negative equity as soon as you drive away in it.

This issue is generally alleviated when you buy a used or even a pre-registered car instead so have a look at what ‘nearly new’ alternatives are out there before you commit.

Remember, the power is in your hands

With a new car, the dealer holds all the power. With an older car, the power is in your hands, as the dealer wants to make room for the newer, more valuable cars with a higher profit margin. Meaning they’re probably more willing to do you a deal.

Hitachi Top Tip: Make sure you have the cash in the bank ready to buy as this puts you in a great position when it comes to haggling. Take a look at a low cost car loan from Hitachi Personal Finance for a quick and easy solution to getting the money in your pocket.

The best of both worlds

One of the main reasons people tend to lean towards new cars is that they’re often covered by warranty policies, offering the buyer peace of mind. However, depending on the make and model you’re looking to buy, a pre-registered or used car is not necessarily out of warranty. 

You’ll have to do your homework, but manufacturers such as Kia, Hyundi and Toyota have been known to offer warranties of up to 7 years, regardless of how many previous owners it’s had or miles it’s driven.

Timing is everything

When it comes to buying a used car, the deal you get could be heavily influenced by the timing of your buy, so don’t underestimate getting that right.

Generally speaking, the following times work best:

  • March/September - when the new registrations are released, or just before
  • March/June/September/December – end of the ‘quarter’ usually means that a dealer will be pushing to hit sales targets
  • End of the month – similarly, they may have monthly targets to hit, so I’s worth giving it a try

Introduce some healthy competition

Always check multiple dealers to make sure you’re getting the best price possible. When you see a car you love, it can be tempting to just go for it, but without any haggling or comparison you’re bound to get a bad deal.

Make sure each dealer you’re working with knows you’re doing your homework, then they’ll take you more seriously and are more likely to give you a good deal.

If at first you don’t succeed…

A discount isn’t the only way you get can more for your money. Sometimes dealers just won’t be able to give you the price you want, but if you still really want the car, see whether there are any additional freebies they can throw in to make it worth the money. Everything from additional warranty protection to a tank of petrol can help you out and make the purchase better value.

If you’re looking to get your hands on a new motor, check out our low cost Car Loans from just 3.3% APR Representative between £7,500 and £25,000.


Hitachi Hints and Tips is intended to be informative and interesting. It does not constitute financial advice, and you should always do further research when making any financial decisions. All information was correct at date of publication.


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