Buying a budget friendly car

by Leeds Building Society

A Guide to Buying a Second-Hand Car

For today’s drivers, the idea of going without their vehicles, even temporarily, is almost unthinkable. The ease and practicality of car ownership, the time-saving aspect and the convenience, all mean we’re a nation of dedicated motorists. However, the expense of a new car can prove prohibitively expensive.

For some drivers choosing to purchase a second-hand car can seem like a more financially-friendly alternative. There are a number of money-saving measures you can take to make sure you get a great deal as well as a reliable vehicle.

Set your budget and know what you want

Start off with a clear budget and a defined list of requirements in mind. Consider who will use the car and how. Will it be used for long distance work trips or just tootling around town? Do you need certain entertainment features for the kids or space in the boot for two dogs? As well as setting a budget for the initial outlay, be prepared to look carefully into the running costs of any car that catches your eye. What will the fuel, maintenance, tax and insurance cost you over the course of a month or a year?

Do your research

Once you’re clear on what you want, it’s time to get searching. Today’s car buyers are lucky in that they can turn to online driver reviews to find out which cars perform well and may be suitable for their needs. Take your time to understand the market and keep an open mind – the ideal car may be one you haven’t considered before.

Take a test drive and check the vehicle’s paperwork

When buying a secondhand car there are three essential pieces of paperwork to check. These are the Vehicle Registration Certificate or V5C (formerly known as the log book), the MOT certificate and the service history.

Test driving a car is like trying on a pair of shoes - you need to make sure the car is a good fit for you as a driver. A test drive will also give you the chance to experience how smoothly the car’s engine feels. As well as a test drive, you should look out for flaws on the car’s bodywork, such as dents or scuffs.

The Money Advice Service has a number of tips on what to look out for when buying a second hand car.

By knowing what you’re after, researching what’s on offer and using a little bit of know-how, you could bag yourself the ideal secondhand car at a budget-friendly price.