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7 ways to bag a used car bargain in 2018

Planning to buy a used car in 2018? Don’t take the plunge until you’ve read our seven top tips for getting the best deal

Words By Alex Robbins

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Buying a used car can be a hugely daunting experience, so if it’s something you’re planning to do in 2018, we don’t blame you if you’re feeling a modicum of trepidation – especially if, like most people, you want to make sure you get the best deal out there.

Unfortunately, that’s not likely to happen if you simply wander down to your nearest car dealer and stump up the price on the screen for one of its offerings. But there are some simple tricks and techniques you can incorporate into your buying process to help you get a great deal. Here are our recommendations.

1. Shop around for finance

The majority of used cars are bought on finance these days and many buyers take out hire purchase or PCP deals with the dealer from which they’re buying the car. This is a convenient way of buying, but it doesn’t always translate to the best rate of interest.

By contrast, a personal loan, if it’s available to you, can work out much better value for money. Because you don’t have the added financial instruments open to PCP and hire purchase buyers (ie a large deposit and/or a balloon payment), the monthly repayments are higher, which is why this option isn’t as attractive to many. But there are two key positives: first, of course, if you have good credit, the interest is usually lower with this type of finance arrangement; in effect, you’re paying less for the credit because you pay more off sooner. Second, you own the car throughout – something you don’t do until the finance is paid off with the other two options.

However you obtain your finance, though, it’s key to remember that you don’t necessarily have to get it from one place. Independent finance houses, some specialising in car finance, offer alternatives, while other dealers might offer a very similar car with a better finance deal. Do your homework, shop around and make sure you aren’t paying over the odds.

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