The resolutions 1-4

  • Don't buy used before reading this
  • Must read rules of buying used cars
  • Top tips for 2010, too
Words By What Car? Staff

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Planning to buy a used car in 2010? Make sure you shop wisely with these handy car buyers' New Year resolutions.

We've also asked some of the UK's leading experts on used car sales to give us there top tips for buying used in 2010. Make sure you check out their tips at the end this feature before you even think about handing over any cash.

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1. I will always check a car's paperwork
Make sure the registration document (V5C) matches the car you're buying and that the service history, MoT certificates and invoices all tell the same story. Consider a vehicle history check to expose possible outstanding finance and accident write-offs.

2. I will always compare prices and haggle
Don't just accept the first price you see, or believe what a dealer tells you. You need to satisfy yourself that you're getting the best deal possible. That means looking at as many cars as possible and haggling over the price. Consider travelling farther afield for a decent discount, and look to private sales for no-frills prices. Car supermarkets can offer good-value buys, too.

3. I will always test-drive a used car
By test-driving the type of car you're looking to buy, you'll not only make sure it suits your needs and that you feel confident behind the wheel, but you'll also know what the car is like to drive. Try a few and you'll be able to pick up on subtle differences between cars, helping you select the one in the best condition.

4. I will always check out the whole-life costs of a car
If you simply look at the sticker price of a car, you could end up massively out of pocket. Fuel consumption, servicing bills, the price of parts, insurance and depreciation will all have a huge effect on how much it'll cost you to run. Some of the cheapest cars may hide a dark secret when it comes to running costs, so look at a car's vitals before shelling out.