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Car Buying Guide General

UK Used Car Price Guide and Used Car Buying information from StrikeEngine. Includes used car valuations and Used Car listings from Privates Seller and Trade Used Car Dealers in the UK the Parkers Price Guide and Autotrader websites along with owners comments and test drives.

see also – 
uk high performance car insurance brokers
japanese car importers
bmw e46 m3 csl buying guide
ford focus rs buying guide
mitsubishi evo buying guide
nissan skyline r34 buying guide
noble m12 buying guide
renualt clio 172 buying guide
subaru impreza gc8 buying guide

Below are some links to sites we believe are absolutely invaluable when buying a used car as well as a brief StrikeEngine guide to buying a used car. No nonsense just solid used car buying information.

Used Car Buying Information

Honest John

Price Any Car

Used Cars UK

Trade Sales


Parkers Price Guide

Used Cars South Africa

Surf 4 Cars


Used Car Buying Information

Honest John
The one stop website for all your car buying need. Reviews, FAQ, Car Auction Information, Buying and Selling, Forums and Good Garage guide. Strike Engine recommended.

Price Any Car
Price Any Car is a price guide to UK cars for sale. We aim to help you understand what a car is worth, whether you are buying or selling, based on real cars currently for sale.

Try to get prices from as many price guides as you can to give a balanced view and more importantly room to haggle!

We assess the market continuously to give you a guide to how much each type of car is selling for. This mostly varies by year, however can to a lesser extent vary by mileage and specific trim/engine.

Select the car you are looking to price and check out the real examples for sale.

Used Cars UK

Trade Sales
Trade Sales is one of the largest used car UK supermarkets in Europe. Nearly new cars from all major manufacturers at discount prices. car sold include Ford, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Honda, Mercedes, BMW, Alfa Romeo,
Audi, VW, Seat, Skoda, Citroen, Peugeot, Daihatsu, Hyundai, Fiat, Vauxhall and Saab.

Probably the number used car UK magazine private and trade car sale publication in the UK if not Europe with a comprehensive online search facility. Trade dealers also advertise along with private cars for sale. All makes and models of car available including Alfa Romeo, Ford, Audi, Vauxhall. Peugeot, Citroen, Honda, BMW, Mazda, Daewoo, Hyundai,
Nissan and Toyota plus much much more.

Parkers Price Guide
Used car valuation and used car UK reviews are featured in this site. The reviews come from owners of the cars and include information such as whether they would buy the car again, ratings on value for money and main dealer service.

Magazine road test are also included form when the car was new. The site is a good place to visit to determine if a particular model has any recurring faults and can help in inspecting a potential car.

There is also a database detailing used car prices.

If your in the market for a used car then this site provides valuable information.

Used Cars South Africa

Surf 4 Cars
Find Used Cars and New Cars forSale at

With thousands of cars, finding your next new car or used car in South Africais easy.

The StrikeEngine Guide to Buying a Used Car (please read out terms and conditions)

Assuming you’ve looked through the sites above and have found the used car for you there a few things we think are important when viewing a used car.

1. If you not happy or have any bad feelings about a car your looking at then don’t buy it. Cars are not some mysterious work of magic, use your common sense, if things don’t look right or your not happy with the seller then don’t buy the car.

2. Check the sites listed above to get a guide price for the car your looking at, the Autotrader website has a search facility for nearly every aspect of a car such as spec and mileage, use this to search for number of cars at least 20 to get an idea of the market price for the car your after. Also check the Parkers price guide as this contains the suggested prices of cars in various condition average, above average and A1. Autotrader prices and the Parkers Price guide used car prices should match up. if there are big differences, although very unlikely, then go with what the prices are telling you on the Autotrader
website (see our terms and conditions). Also get some car insurance quotes for the car your interested in just so you can budget this into the total purchase price. Phone a few car insurance brokers to get the best idea of whats it going to cost, they wont mind, just tell them what your doing.

3. Print out a basic checklist which covers various points of a car such as electrical, engine, bodywork and so on. Here are a few examples.


Have a quick look around the car first to spot any obvious things and to confirm that the car is in the condition described to you by the seller, if its not, ask yourself why?If on first glance your happy with the car then go through the checklists. Don’t be shy or thinks its rude, the seller should be happy for you to do so. Also the Parkers price guide website has information for other owners of the car which will highlight
common problems and characteristics of the car. You should read these well so you have a good idea of the car your looking at, this will pay dividends throughout the car buying procedure. Something you may feel is faulty may be a characteristic and is easy to fix. It will also give you an idea of running cost such as fuel economy, servicing costs and the cost of parts.

4. Ask the seller lots of questions, how long have they owned the car, who has been driving it, who services it, how many miles they do it a year, what problems they have with the car, has it been in any accidents, how do they find it to drive, why are they selling it, where did they buy it from and so on and so on. You can ask these questions as your inspecting the car.

5. If your happy so far then it is essential to do a history check on the car do be sure there is no outstanding finance on it, its not insurance write off its not stolen, the vin matches with the engine number and so on. Here is a link to a used car uk history check service.


6. All good so far? then the next step is to take the car out for a test drive, incidentally the car should be cold when you come to view it and tell the seller this how you would like the car to be when you come to view it, if its not then walk away. Assuming the car is cold make sure have adequate insurance before starting the test drive. Let the owner drive the car first and observe how they treat the car, do they thrash it, are they generally unsympathetic mechanically etc etc. This will give you a rough idea on how the car has been treated, assuming the seller is the one that normally drives it.

7. On the test drive. When the owner is driving the car feel what the used car is doing as your more likely to feel a rough ride as a passenger than as a driver. Is it smooth, are there a knocks coming from the suspension, how does the engine sound rough smooth how does it perform, is it sluggish compared to what you were expecting? Also take this opportunity to test the interior electrics, does the heater blow hot when the car is warmed up does the engine overheat, are the seats comfortable and supportive, does it fell safe etc etc.

8. When you test drive the used car you should drive it as if your testing it and not take it easy, you want to find out how solid the car is, nursing it is not going to tell you much.  Make sure the route that you take it on has some high speed driving, some country roads, (or as close as you can get) and stop start traffic. On the test drive you should test the brakes, the suspension and the engine. Brakes: Carry out some high speed stops, how does the car feel does it pull up straight or does it wander under braking, are the brakes smooth or do they judder and vibrate, are they snatchy or do they lack power.Suspension: Does the car float around or does it feel tied down to the road, is there a lot of body roll, are there any banging
or crashes coming from the suspension.

Engine; Accelerate at least once from low speed to high speed, a slip road onto a motorway is an ideal place for a test like this. Does the car pull cleanly, does it misfire, does it have the power you were expecting, how does the engine sound.

9. Your happy with the test drive? If so you can now start to haggle for a price if your 100% happy with the car you should take the observations you’ve noted from the inspection and the test drive into account and bring them up in the bargaining process. The brake pads are a bit low, the windscreen has a small crack, the tyres are low on tread, the oil is black and not golden, all these things can be used to bring the price down. Keep the compliments to a minimum and the negatives to a maximum but be polite!

If your not happy taking the plunge after your own inspection then contact and independent professional inspector to double check the car for you, these checks also include a history check, even though you have already paid for one the service is still worth it if your not 100% happy. The RAC and AA both offer used car inspection services. Bear in mind that the car inspections may not be 100% positive at the end of the day, they will look for every possible fault so be prepared for the report and use our own opinion on whether too go ahead with the sale.

10. Paying for the car. Try and get a loan from your bank if possible as the loans offered from used car dealers tend to be on the expensive side. All that work you put into haggling the price down could go out the window with an expensive loan. Nevertheless,  if you cant get a loan from your bank or building society the Used Car Dealer loan could be your next best option but try all the usual channels first and compare them all to ensure your getting the best deal.

11. If your not completely happy with the car then don’t buy it. Just because its the car you always wanted or it looks so fantastic is not reason to buy it. Go with your head never ever with your heart. If your ii any doubt there is no doubt and at the end of the day there are millions of cars available and probably thousands with the same spec your looking at, so don’t be pressured into a sale, ever.

And thats it, our brief guide to buying a used car. It is by no means comprehensive but hopefully you can use it conjunction with the other sites listed here to provide you with a rough guide to buying a used car.


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This page was last modified Jun 25, 2018 @ 4:00 pm

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