Caution pays when buying a used car

During an economic downturn or periods of economic uncertainty it is more important than ever to ensure that any car you buy or service you pay for is legitimate.

We in the trade always look a little more closely at part exchanges and all the supporting paperwork. For example when someone says their car has a “full service history” is that really FULL or have they had a small oil service 2 yrs ago by a neighbours son who is training to be a mechanic?

On closer inspection we often find that the tyres can need replacing or the customer has been quoted a fortune to get it through an MOT and therefore don’t want to spend the money and would rather change the car.

Of course it is only natural to want to save costs during when money is tight, but if customers are behaving like this out of necessity, you can bet that your average unscrupulous car seller will be doing far worse in order to cut corners and make some money.

In the criminal underworld they reckon that during a recession drug lords never see their profits diminish because they just adulterate the drugs with a greater proportion of cutting agents (in other words put more rubbish into the drugs) to make them go further and sell it slightly cheaper, and therefore it’s always the customer that loses out and it’s a similar story with cars.

The car dealer, in trying to save on the amount he pays to make a car look lovely, will cut corners and hope he gets away with it and it is up to the buyer to ensure the car has everything the dealer claims it has.

I may just point out that I am talking about sellers in general and not specific dealers because I know that most car sellers want to provide good value for money for the service they offer and the cars they sell, however there is a tendency to try and “wing it” and hope it doesn’t come back and bite them.

It is worth remembering that a buyer can validate almost everything about a cars history and its provenance and we would urge buyers to do so especially at present, call it “due diligence”. If buying privately ensure that you either purchase a car data check or ask to see evidence of a dealer having carried out the relevant checks to guarantee the vehicle has the correct amount of owners stated, has not been stolen or written off or is still owned by a finance company.

Most sellers will happily provide that information and it is not usually a problem but far better to check and check again before parting with any money, whoever you are buying the car from, as it could certainly lead to more financial heartache if you don’t.

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