4 articles Tag used

The Dos And Don’ts Of Buying Used Cars

We all know that buying used cars will work out far cheaper than buying brand-new vehicles. But not many people know exactly how to go about buying second-hand. More often than not, they will end up going to a private seller and paying slightly over the odds for the make and model that they go for.

There’s no reason to end up fleeced if you follow our guide though. These dos and don’ts of buying used cars should help you save some money and come away with a very reliable vehicle that you can use for a good few years.

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Do Buy From A Reputable Trader

For starters, it’s really important that you buy your car from a reputable dealer. If you don’t, then you risk being conned into buying something that really isn’t worth it. Ideally, go to your nearest second-hand car dealership as these will have to follow some industry standards. This is also a good idea if you want a used 4×4 or something a bit more specialist than just a basic family car. The staff will be able to give you plenty of advice on the vehicle that’s best for your needs.

Don’t Forget To Check How Eco-Friendly The Car Is

It’s really worth looking into how eco-friendly a car will be. Even though this won’t help you save any money on the initial cost of buying it, you should find that it will be cheaper for you to run. For instance, environmentally friendly cars often pay lower road taxes. Plus, you can be happy knowing that you are doing some good for the environment!

Don’t Ignore Your Head

It can be very easy to listen to our hearts when we go shopping for a used car. You might spot a car that looks absolutely fantastic, but are you sure it’s the best option for you? Instead of following your heart in this case, you really should follow your head. This will prevent you from overspending on a vehicle that will be too small and not meet any of your other needs and requirements.

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Do Take It For A Test Drive

Before you agree to purchasing any vehicle, you should always take it for a test drive. That way, you can get a proper feel for the car and can see how well it drives. If you notice any issues with it or it has very poor driveability, then it could be best for you to move on and look at another one.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Haggling

When you buy second hand prices aren’t always set in stone, so it could be well worth trying to haggle with the dealer. You might be amazed at the discount you can walk away with!

There are plenty of things to try to remember when you buy a used car, but these dos and don’ts are some of the main ones. Hopefully, if you follow these you will be able to find your ideal vehicle when you go car shopping!

What to Consider When Buying a Family Car

We’re at that stage again where we need to start thinking about buying a new car; we’ve had our current car for just over a year, but it wasn’t exactly brilliant even when we bought it, and we’re desperate for a vehicle with more space. We’ve been thinking about what sort of car we want and we’ve got some pretty specific criteria, so I thought I’d share them with you in case you’re in the same position:

New or Used?

While it’s tempting to go for a new car, the fact is that used cars probably offer better value. New cars decrease in value the second you drvie them off of the forecourt and often have teething troubles, all of which are usually resolved by the time they’re sold on. Unbeatablecar have some great used cars on offer.

Function

What are you planning to use your car for? We do a lot of milage each week, doing a long school run on country roads, so we’re planning to upgrade to an SUV-style car, but if you only do a few miles a week on mainly urban roads, you could probably go for something small like a Fita 500.

Space

How many seats do you need? Do you need a lot of boot space? Is an estate car for you or would a hatchback suffice? There are only 4 of us (plus Maureen) but we’d love to be able to fit more people in the car, so a 7-seater with decent boot space would be ideal.

Fuel

Our current car is petrol, but if we opt for an SUV, we’ll probably end up buying a diesel, however it’s worth remembering that older diesel cars will be taxed higher than newer ones, so brushing up on the new laws will be essential before we spend a lot of money.

Features

When you buy an older car, it’s often possible to get one with better features for less money. Our ideal car is a Volvo XC90 and many of them come fully kitted-out with luxury features, costing WAY less when you buy second hand.

What would be an absolute must for you when buying a new family car? Leave me a comment below.

Things To Consider When Buying a Family Car

Last year, we decided that our old Volvo was probably on it’s last legs and needed replacing. We were on a bit of a budget and managed to find a Ford Focus on a 52 plate which was within our price, but ultimately it’s not been the perfect car for us, so we’re looking for something new. I have certain criteria when looking for used cars and I thought I’d share them with you in case it helps with your own search.

Fuel Economy

Buying a second hand car means you’re probably not buying the most up-to-date vehicle with the best fuel mileage, but it’s still something worth considering. Given the fact that our Focus has a smaller engine than the Volvo and is a smaller car in general, I thought the fuel economy would be better, but it’s actually almost identical to the Volvo – not great when fuel is my biggest expense each month.

Insurance

When we bought the Focus, we knew that the insurance group was high, which is apparently something to do with the sheer amount of them on the road influencing average statistics, but we decided to take the hit because of needing something quite quickly. However, next time, I’ll be aiming to go for a car which is a much lower insurance group than this one.

Comfort

As a driver, I’m largely ambivalent to what I drive and have no major preferences on cars, but comfort is something which my passengers have to have a say on. When we switched from the Volvo to the Focus, Husband lost a lot of leg room in the front seat, and that impacts how far back he has his seat, and in turn how much leg room the seat behind has. Next time we buy a car, I’ll be making sure it’s comfy for everyone.

Safety

This is probably the single most important factor for us; one thing we really miss about our Volvo is knowing that it was an incredibly safe, heavy, well-built car, and unfortunately the Focus doesn;t inspire the same confidence. Husband and I will be checking the safety stats of everything we consider when it’s time to buy something else.

Parts

The one and only thing that we’ve liked about the Focus is the fact that the parts are pretty cheap, which is lucky seeing as we’ve needed to have SO much work done to it in a year. Any car we consider in the future will be checked to see if the parts are ridiculously expensive before we buy!

Feeling Rather Used…

So, you may remember last month, I wrote THIS post about an interview I went for? The job was as an Assistant Road Safety Officer for Southend on Sea Borough Council and the interview was a two-part process. I had to answer various questions and do the usual interview bit and then I had to do a ‘practical exercise’ and give a presentation on the following brief:

Drinking and driving is a major concern and high profile campaigns are regularly run to educate drivers of the danger. Despite this, road accidents involving alcohol remain high.

Many drivers are fully aware of the risks from drinking and driving and choose alternative transport when going home but are unaware that their alcohol levels are very likely to affect their driving ability the next morning.

How would you promote an awareness of this issue ? Be prepared to have a short discussion on your ideas for educating drivers including any slogans, events and publicity.

I spent quite a while preparing for this part of the interview and came up with a ton of ideas and even produced a mock-up poster that the Council could use for their hypothetical campaign. I uploaded the poster to my Google Drive account and showed the interviewers on my iPhone, hoping that saving paper and being tech savvy would earn me a couple of extra Brownie points in the process. This is the poster:

I went to great lengths to talk about how, when it comes to drink driving awareness there wasn’t any need to show smashed up cars and gore, that everyone in the country knew what flowers on a lamppost or by the side of a road meant and that it could provide far more stark and striking imagery than anything that’s too in-your-face and shocking.

I didn’t get the job, as you’ll know if you read the previous post, and I was pretty cut up about it, especially as the interviewers had congratulated me on how well I’d done and asked what my start availability was like. Then, yesterday, the local free paper dropped through my door. This was on the front cover:

A lovely Christmas infomercial, dominating the entire front page, using my ideas and imagery pretty much verbatim.

So, I wasn’t good enough to do the job I applied and interviewed for, but I was good enough to have my ideas stolen from me and used in a Borough-wide Drink Driving campaign by the Road Safety Team, the ones who’d rejected me.

When I opened the folded paper, I was really shocked. Then I felt mind-bubblingly angry. Now? I feel completely used. This is the second time this year that I’ve applied for a job with a creative aspect and had my ideas used, despite not getting the jobs. Is this really how things work? People do a recruitment drive with a creative assignment attached to the process and then just use the ideas for free? Is this how our Council is saving money, by stealing advertising instead of commissioning it?

I’m sure I don’t have a leg to stand on, in terms of the legalities of it. The only proof I have that this was my idea is the uploaded file to my Google Drive account, showing the date I saved it and a Facebook conversation where I shared my ideas with some friends in a private group, but I’m not clued up enough on intellectual property to even know if this makes a difference.

Either way, I feel totally used and let down. And STILL without a job. No thanks to Southend Borough Council.

Oh well, if I’ve learned anything it’s that I DO have some good ideas after all…