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buying a car privately - what do I need to check?

(9 Posts)
ministryofsleep Fri 22-May-09 19:28:29

I've just been made redundant and my company car goes back in a few weeks time, having to buy a car for the first time and am a bit clueless, but have sussed out that I'll get a better deal if I buy privately rather than from a garage as I haven't got a car to trade in. Looking at cars around 3-4 years old, but what obvious things do I need to check before buying a car privately? TIA

Jbck Fri 22-May-09 19:40:21

Word of warning we bought a car not even really privately, the guy had a car spares & repairs business & bought and sold the odd 4x4. Turned out he was one of the front men for a big ring.
We got the car data check from the AA but it was such a good ringer that the police thought they had actually tracked down the original when they came to take it away. Basically the thing wasn't worth the paper it was written on as the vehicle had a genuine registration plate & VIN so that's what they checked and it came back clean. It took 5 years wrangling to get some of our money back, we lost thousands so beware.

In this climate with no trade in I'd go to a garage and haggle. grin

ministryofsleep Fri 22-May-09 22:13:46

thanks Jbck - I've heard a couple of stories like this, think it might be better to go to a garage!

DadInsteadofMum Sun 24-May-09 00:56:41

say you will pay for an MOT - even if the current certificate has months left to run, its a cheap check and just the threat of it can flush out the dodgy.

ministryofsleep Sun 24-May-09 21:51:57

thanks dadinsteadofmum, if anyone else has any good tips I's like to hear them as DH is keen to go the private route as he thinks we will get a better deal (unless we buy a stolen car of course grin )

mosschops30 Sun 24-May-09 22:01:31

You will strike a better deal at a garage without a part-ex.
Buy from a garage, marginally better but not always fool proof.
Good luck, whats your budget and do you have anything in mind?

Heated Sun 24-May-09 22:04:28

If you buy from a private seller, say you are phoning about THE car. If they say "which one?" then you know you have a trader, who legally should have put T or the word 'trade' in the advert but is trying to get away with it as a private sale. The other question to ask is 'how long have you owned the car', if it's less than 6 months ask them directly if they are a trader or a private seller.

ministryofsleep Mon 25-May-09 10:38:28

Hi Mosschops, our budget is £3000-4000, have been looking at Citroen Zsara Picasso and Ford Focus, but seems we can get more for our money with a Citroen, we also have 2 children in stage 2 car seats so the Citroen might be better room wise?

HumpingAnteater Wed 03-Jun-09 19:07:07

IF you find a car privately consider an AA inspection and a HPI check.

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