Buying a used car is the cheaper option for most people when it comes to car ownership, making the idea of having your own luxury car even more affordable as well. But when it comes to used cars it’s important to be fully aware of what you are buying before you part with your money.

Sadly second hand car dealers do have a bad reputation and the last thing you want is to drive away only to find your seemingly perfect car is full of potentially very expensive problems which need fixing.

Here are five key mistakes which people commonly make when planning on buying a used car, which you should avoid at all costs:

  1. Don’t buy a car on impulse

Okay, so you might have a dream car you have always wanted so when you spot a used version at a cheap price it can be tempting to dive straight in. However, it’s important never to buy a used car purely on impulse.

You need to think about what kind of car you need to suit your daily requirements – think about what features are important to you and also think about the budget you have available and make sure you only search within those parameters.

  1. Search outside of your own area

Don’t limit your search to just a few miles from where you live – many dealers can now deliver cars to a dealership near to your house so if the right car is far away it might still be worth the trip just to make sure you get exactly what you need for the right money.

You can start with a phone call to assess if the car meets everything you are looking for, to decide whether or not to make the long journey to see it and test drive it, but it could well be worth it if you end up with your dream car.

  1. Not doing enough research

Once you know what features you need in the car, and have found out which kind of make and model meets those needs, then it’s time to start researching that particular car before you consider buying one.

Have a look at websites and consumer reviews so you can see if there are any likely problems which other people have had with that make and model in the past. You need to learn as much as you can about the car before you start looking – it may be that one particular year is better than the others so it can be really beneficial to do this research in detail.

  1. Never agree to buy from a photo alone

You should never agree to buy a car from a photograph as they can be incredibly misleading. You always need to go and see the car in person so you can have a really good look around all of the bodywork and also take it for a test drive to make sure it works properly.

It’s also always worth buying a car inspection report so you can check out the car’s history and if it has ever been in any accidents, before you decide to purchase it as this could have a big impact when you try to insure it.

  1. Take a mechanic with you

Many garages will offer an inspection service so if you can do this, or you know someone who is a mechanic, take them with you. The inspection service is definitely worth the cost as they will be able to look the car over and check for any problems or potential problems which could cost you dearly in the future.

They will also be able to spot issues during the test drive which you might not notice, due to their car expertise so it’s definitely worth taking someone along with you to check the car over before committing to a purchase.

While buying a used car can raise concerns and issues, it should be a relatively stress-free process when done correctly. Deciding what you need the car to do for you, and researching the right car to fit those needs really does have to be the first step in the process.

Once you find the car, do be careful and get it thoroughly checked out before you buy it. There are many approved used car schemes out there now as well which can also help to give you even more peace of mind, with warranty offers and guaranteed checks.

Buying a used car should be an exciting time and as long as you are careful, carry out thorough research before committing to buying and avoid the five mistakes we have listed here then there is no reason your new car won’t be a joy to own.