This is a contributor post from Dronsfields Independent Mercedes Specialists

Buying your first car is an exciting time, but many first-time car buyers can’t afford to purchase a brand new car. The good news is that there are loads of great second hand cars out there that are perfect for first time buyer. That said, you do need to check for the right things to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

I spoke to the mechanics at Dronsfields, an independent Mercedes specialist, to learn more about the most important things to remember when buying your first second hand car.


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Check the history of the car


When buying a used car, it’s vital that you check the vehicle’s history before parting with your money. The car might look and drive like a dream, but you won’t have it in your possession for long if it’s been stolen.

How do you check the history of a car? There are a wide variety of vehicle search companies that you can use check car history at a reasonable price. You can often get a full comprehensive search done for about £20.


Find out its market value


You can do this before viewing the vehicle to avoid being overcharged. Second hand car websites, like Autotrader, are your best bet. Check how much the vehicle is being sold for, but take into consideration the car’s age, mileage and any damage (i.e. scuff marks or rust).

If you suspect that a seller is trying to overcharge you, don’t be afraid to tell them. The power is in your hands here, use your haggling skills to negotiate a fairer price. You’d be surprised how much you can knock the price down when you have cash to hand.


Arrange viewings for during the day


If possible, arrange car viewings during the daytime. It’s harder to see a vehicle in full light during the evening, you may miss a scuff mark or scratch.

TOP TIP: Try to avoid viewing a second hand car in poor weather conditions for the same reason.


Always ask to see the car’s service history


This is useful to know for two reasons

  1. You will be able to see if the car has had any ongoing issues over the years
  2. You will be able to see how much the seller knows about the car


The seller should know the history of the car, they should be able to provide MOT certificates and the car’s service history upon request. If they are unable to provide these documents, or they don’t seem to know much about the car, you might want to question whether they are the actual owner.


Take a list of questions with you


It can be tricky remembering everything, that’s why it’s important to take a list of questions with you to ask the seller. Some good questions include:


  • How long have you owned the car?

  • Why are you selling the car?

  • Has the car ever been damaged or involved in an accident?

  • Are there any issues with the car that you did not show in the photos?

  • When was the car’s last MOT?

  • Have you had any ongoing issues with the car?


This list is by no means exhaustive. If there is anything you would like to know that the seller hasn’t included in the advertisement, don’t be afraid to ask. If you don’t get the answer you’re looking for, walk away.


Check the mileage


Most of the time, car sellers are honest. However, there are times when dishonest sellers may tamper with the car’s mileage to make out that it has been driven less than it actually has.

There is no sure fire way of testing this during your viewing. However, if you are viewing a car that’s 15 years old with just 10,000 miles on the clock, alarm bells should start ringing. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.


Take someone with you


If you take someone with you to view the car, you’ll be able to check important features like indicators and brake lights. You’ll also be able to discuss with them what they thought of the car after the viewing – they might have spotted something you didn’t!


Check under the foot-well mats


Underneath the mats in the foot-well is a great place for rust to hide, so make sure you check under here to avoid costly welding repairs later on.


Make sure the electrics work properly


There are a variety of features that you need to check on your viewing, that you might not necessarily remember to check during your test drive. These include:


  • Air-conditioning

  • Heating

  • Windows & sunroof

  • If the car uses remote central locking, check this works correctly, making sure all openings are secure


About Dronsfields


Dronsfields is a specialist family-run business offering Mercedes car and van parts, as well as repairs, at highly competitive prices.

Since opening their doors in 1968 the company has grown from strength to strength, now employing over 50 highly qualified staff that work across our various departments. Not only supplying high-quality services to most of the UK, they now also ship and export parts around the world.

The Manchester-based breaking yard sees a high turnover of vehicles but while the company continues to expand and develop, Dronsfields still pride themselves in commitment to quality and family values.

Visit their Facebook page

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