Buying a used car shouldn’t fill you with dread – but it probably does. A lot of people don’t know what to look for – specifically when it comes to tyres. Did you know that a set of 4 new tyres on the average car now costs about £350 to replace? So read on to discover how you can save money and not get ripped-off.

It doesn’t matter if you buy from a dealership or from a private individual, purchasing a secondhand car can be stressful. Which is exactly why we have created this comprehensive used car buying guide. When shopping for a used car, focusing on those which are around three years old is a great way to start – the mantra goes “buy at three-years old, sell at five”. This is assuming of course you aren’t looking for a less expensive set of wheels – there is advice for such buyers in here too.

1. Get your finances in order first

The first thing to do is work out your budget and stick to it. If necessary, find out the best way to finance your car, whether it’s a personal loan, vehicle finance or straightforward cash. Work out how much you can put down in deposit, and then calculate the monthly payments that you can afford. Do this, and you won’t end up on a forecourt with the car of your dreams looking baffled when the salesman asks, “how much have you got to spend each month?”

2. Don’t overlook tyres

Buying new tyres costs so much money –  we should know. If you know what to check for, then you can haggle on the price if the tyre(s) are getting low. If they’re below the legal limit then immediately walk away, the seller is shirking his responsibilities in looking after the car.  There’s no point attaching any value to the tyres that come with a used car if you’re not prepared to check them out. Start by running your fingers over the tyres and check for the wear indicator, then check the logbook registration and chassis numbers against those on vehicle.

3. Make sure to get a vehicle check

Loads of companies offer this now, and the DVLA gives out a wealth of information. The cheapest one we found is this, for £8.75 for what appears to be the full checks service, you won’t find a better price arguably. Larger players like HPI Check have the name/brand cachet so can charge more – about £20 per check.  Hidden histories, write offs and more – all very scary and it pays to get an HPI check whenever you can. Even if you don’t think it’s worth forking out, we’d still recommend to put your mind at ease.

My name is Ephraim, I am a consumer advocate and like motorbikes.

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