That rattling noise doesn’t seem to be getting any better and it’s pretty clear that the red light you’ve been pretending you can’t see, isn’t going anywhere so maybe it’s time you upgraded your wagon for something a little more reliable.
And why not? There are times when an upgrade is just what’s called for, like resurfacing your driveway or repainting the house, some things are just worth investing in. And with a car you want to know that the safety of you and your family is paramount so we have a look at whether you should go down the private seller or dealership route.
The benefit of buying through a private seller is of course the cost which is likely to be significantly less than going through a dealership. However, you do not have any guarantee or warranty attached to your sale and you’re in a position of what you see is what you get, unless you can’t see those hidden problems.
There’s no reason to assume anyone wants to rip you off but what might be a quirk to one owner can raise serious concerns for another. The best solution is to pay for the services of a mechanic to come with you and give the car a once over to check that’s it completely sound.
If you are confident in your own knowledge, then you have an advantage but do make sure that engine numbers and glass match and look out for any signs of patched body work or bumps that might have been hammered out.
Do some research and figure out what the average mileage should be for that make and model and if it looks suspiciously low or too high, be prepared to walk away. You absolutely must take it for a test drive before making any commitment to buying it.
The main disadvantage here is the cost but there are ways you can help keep that down by waiting for sales and end-of-financial-year deals that will knock some of the cost off. You should also look out for offers that include a free warranty, insurance or servicing for a year or two.
Always go in to a dealership knowing your limit and be prepared to make it clear that you’ll walk away if the cost gets too high. Also bear in mind that the little extras you add on to any basic model will add up, so you’ll need to decide which extras are necessary, such as heated seats and which you can live without, such as a sun roof.
Buying a car can feel like threading your way through a minefield, especially if you don’t have much knowledge about them. By carrying out careful research and spending some time reading around and talking to friends and family, you should be able to banish that rattling old vehicle once and for all and pick up a new car that keeps your family on the road for many years to come.