It’s all too easy to get carried away when trying to purchase your dream car. There are so many used cars available – with the possibilities of purchasing privately or via the trade industry - and it is a competitive marketplace. There are certainly some excellent gems to be found if you invest in a little research, but sometimes, a car can seem too good to be true. If you're not careful, you may fall foul of some very modern day pitfalls.
If you are fairly knowledgeable about cars, you’ll no doubt look at the main areas of concern, checking for any signs of damage and listening to the engine. Many buyers, however, have ended up with far worse than a car with mechanical problems: they have purchased vehicles that are simply not safe to be on the road. Either that or, they have lost their cars due to ringing or cloning, and they find that the car was originally stolen.
To avoid being caught out, always purchase from a reputable dealership. Even better, go to a company that has been recommended. Take your time when choosing your car: consider what you need in terms of economy and comfort, and then make your physical checks. Don't just check the exterior, but the interior too. Has the paint been re-sprayed? Is the mileage low, but the pedals have extensive wear and tear? Is the paperwork in order? Most importantly, do the VIN plates and registration number match the V5?
Car crime is rife. Although you are safer buying through a good dealership as there is some recourse, avoid paying in cash. Use a bank draft so that there is a trail to follow if need be. The key rule to follow is instinct: if something feels wrong, don’t buy it.