HomepageBlogBuying & selling used carsNew year, new car - how to buy your next car safely
19 January 2022

New year, new car - how to buy your next car safely

A new year traditionally represents a new beginning. Even though a few weeks ago it was just a Saturday following a Friday, it has a lot of meaning for most people – from new beginnings to good intentions, everyone interprets the New Year differently.

For many, a new year could mean the desire or need for a new car – particularly, a used car. For some people this may be triggered by the start of a new job or move to a different location at the beginning of the year and are therefore suddenly dependent on having their own car.

Buying a used car is not always so easy. On the one hand, the used car market is currently plagued by high demand and low supply. As a result, the selection is much smaller and suitable vehicles are often much more expensive than in the past, or inferior vehicles are offered as "top deals." On the other hand, there is so much to consider when buying a used car that it is easy to lose track of the situation.

As a buyer, there is nothing you can do about price trends, but how well prepared you are to buy a used car is something within your control. In order to start the car search well informed and to recognize vehicles with hidden defects at an early stage, CARFAX, specialist for vehicle histories, has developed the "periodic table for the used car purchase".

Periodic Table of Buying a Used Car

Everything you need to know about buying a used car

Download now

It’s not uncommon for traps to lurk when purchasing a used car, which in turn can become expensive quickly if you’re not careful. This begins already with the selection of the model. Buyers should visualize what they need a vehicle for. Is it only to be used for commuting to work, or is space also needed to transport larger goods? Should the vehicle also be suitable for vacations and long distances? Once this is clear, the search can be narrowed down to suitable models.

A fundamental aspect of buying a used car is not only the purchase price, but also a close look at the follow-up costs. For example, a vehicle may have a low purchase price, but high follow-up costs such as insurance and maintenance. This is often the case with popular models such as a VW Golf. Since a lot of people drive this model, the insurance costs can be significantly higher compared to other models in this vehicle class. On the other hand, many independent garages specialize in Volkswagen cars, so maintenance and repair work costs much less.

Once you have found the right vehicle, there is more to do before you buy. For example, a look at the vehicle's history is essential. Was the vehicle imported, was there previous damage, and is the mileage correct? This and much more information can be obtained from specialists such as CARFAX using the vehicle identification number (VIN) or, in some countries, the license plate number.

If the history is correct or inconspicuous, the vehicle should be inspected inside and out, a test drive should be conducted, and the vehicle should be checked in a workshop. The more you know about the vehicle, the safer and more confident you can be with your purchasing decision.

Periodic Table of Buying a Used Car

Everything you need to know about buying a used car

Download now

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