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The recent used car shortage in the UK has seen a spike in costs, with more people hanging onto their cars, and then selling them on for a higher value. By September 2012, average used car prices had risen by 4.5 per cent from 2011 to around £6,158. Older cars are also becoming more available as people resist selling after a few years. One of the problems this situation has created is that the used car market has become oriented towards sellers, leaving buyers with greater challenges to find a bargain. However, by looking into some of the following areas, it’s possible to get a used car for a good price, while considering some of the associated risks with second hand vehicles.

Online Deals

One of the advantages of buying a used car online is the flexibility and the range that it provides. This can cover everything from classic cars to specialist prices, as well as the opportunity for competitive bidding. However, buying online also carries its own particular risks – not knowing the seller creates the problem of risk, while an Internet purchase means that you may not have the chance to test drive a car until you’ve made the purchase, or at least a deposit on the car.


An alternative, more traditionally secure option for buying a used car is to go through a dealer that either specialises in used cars, or is able to provide competitive part exchanges for new cars. The advantage of going through a recognised dealer is that you’ll be able to both receive legal guarantees over the state of a car, while also being able to organise a financing plan. Many dealers now offer 0 per cent financing on some deals, and you have advantage of knowing that a warranty and a cooling off period are in place.

Private Sales

Like online sales, private deals involve going around the traditional dealer route to go through a single person. The advantage of doing so is that a deal can typically be completed much more quickly, and often on a cash in hand basis. The seller will also be able to answer questions on the car’s history, and will be able to provide documentation on its past. However, the risk of going through a private seller is that they may not be reliable, and may disappear after you’ve made the initial deal, leaving you with significant problems.


A used car auction is another option if you want to find a bargain. Cars can be found at great deals, and can be picked up in more specialist models that may not be available from other sellers. Deals can also be completed on the day, and with all paperwork attached. However, an auction can mean that you get stuck into a competitive price bid, and that you end up with additional tax and license fees after the initial purchase is made. In this way, it’s important to weigh up the risks and the benefits of all of these different ways of buying a used car before making a final decision.


Ben R is an experienced blogger, petrol and part-time head travel, recently he has been mainly concerned about used cars in nottingham.