The three-year cycle
An article in the national press this week suggested 2019 could be a great time to buy a used car. A record number of new cars were sold in 2016 and over 2.3m being sold on the popular 3 years Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) and Personal Contract Hire (PCH) plans. This means there is set to be a surge of low mileage used cars entering the market next month which means motorists can make some huge savings by choosing to buy an ex-finance car instead of a standard used car or brand new vehicle. After the initial 3 years, the price of the car has dropped dramatically making them exceptional value – and with a glut of options, website “GarGurus” is predicting a very competitive period with dealers looking to shift their stock on at reduced prices. CarGurus also revealed the number of low mileage, three-year-old used cars available for sale has more than doubled since 2016. “While 2016 proved to be the year of the new car, 2019 could be very much the year of the used car with a vast swathe of ex-finance contract vehicles heading back into dealer stock,” Chris Knapman, Editor of CarGurus UK, said.
Why buy Ex-Finance?
Because of the finance terms and conditions, you will find ex-finance / PCP vehicles are often well maintained with regular service and maintenance. Also, due to the restrictions that are often in place, the vehicles will usually have comparatively low mileage. All this means great value for the customer.
As with any purchase, especially such an expensive and important one as this, you should always shop around and research all the potential cars thoroughly. Don’t be afraid to do some reading online and look at consumer reviews to work out whether the advertised price represents a good deal. You may also be able to look at logbook loans.
Top-Tips for buying a used vehicle
Check history: Always check the background of the vehicle and make sure it has been fully checked and serviced. Many dealers will offer this check as standard but make sure to ask.
Dealer: Go to a reputable dealer – check online and read reviews from previous customers to give you a level of trust. Think about things like after-sales care and how they might have dealt with any problems with the car after your purchase.
Spec/trim: While all those optional extras may be tempting you may find you are paying for things you don’t necessarily need – writing a list of priorities can help you to determine what you need from a used car, and how much you need to invest. There are various websites that offer search filters that allow you to find the perfect model to match your needs. For example Autotrader and GarGurus.
Consider your needs: Before shopping around, have a think about what you will be using the car for. Maybe a small hatchback would be enough to go to work and shopping, but if it’s a family and a dog in the back then a larger saloon or estate with plenty of boot space is what you need.
Price / Budget: For most people, the point of buying a used car is the price first and foremost. As the condition and mileage of ex-finance cars are usually superior to regular used cars it can mean they cost more. However, it is worth considering the investment this year due to the expected reduction in prices compared to previous years. Work out your budget before you shop around – if you are needing a finance option to purchase, do your calculations first and work out how much deposit you can afford to drive the price down further.
Running Costs: A really important factor but one that is overlooked. Once you drive the car out of the dealers there is a myriad of factors that can influence your choice. Once you have your shortlist, take a little time to do some research to find out how much you can expect to spend over the years. Things like fuel economy can vary greatly and make a big difference to your weekly budget going forward. Also, car tax, insurance and, should the worst happen and you need work doing, how much parts/labour can cost – some manufacturers and models can be extremely
expensive to repair.
Part Exchange your old car: If you are buying from a dealer then the chances are they can offer you money for your old car against the new purchase. This will usually work out more than for scrappage and is the most convenient way of getting rid of your old car. However, if you have the time, energy and knowledge you should be able to sell it yourself for more money.
Other useful linksThere are lots of websites that can offer help and advice when deciding on what car to buy:
- Check the past results of a vehicle’s MOT tests
- See if a vehicle has an MOT certificate and when it runs out
- Car history check, free car valuation and quick MOT history check.
- Car reviews and valuations
- Compare offers from local and national dealers
- Car Reviews channel
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