Top ten Questions you should ask before buying a used car

By Sandyford Jul 08, 2022

Here at Sandyford Motors Centre, you can be certain of finding that second hand or preloved car of your dreams. We are proud of our well-earned reputation for good value, excellent after sales service and our quality used vehicles.  Full history checks give an assurance of the lineage, condition, and history of each vehicle that we sell. These reassurances are not always there when and if you choose to buy a car privately or from an unknown seller. Car buying can be fraught with pit falls and opportunities for scams and fraudsters.  There are questions that every car buyer should be asking as they contemplate spending hard earned cash on a new-to-you vehicle. We list the top ten questions that should be asked as you kick the tyres and assess the buy -ability of a used car.

1. Is the seller reputable? Meeting late at night in an empty car park does not bode well for a good driving experience.  Common sense and your own gut instincts should come into play when buying a secondhand car. If it feels dodgy, then don’t do the deal.  Ask lots of question including the reason for sale and bear in mind that a modicum of caution and a purchase from a reputable source can often be a saving in the long run.

2. A Full History Check/ NCT. If the buyer is not offering a full history check, then it might be a good idea to purchase one.   The full history check available to those of us in the motor industry is a bit more comprehensive than those available to private buyers. However, even a short history will give some ease and a fair indication of the cars DNA.  A valid NCT will offer some reassurance on the car’s road worthiness, but it’s always a good idea to have the car checked by trained mechanic before purchasing.

3. Is everything working? Seatbelts, lights, wipers, radio. Check the wheel arches, the tyres and look for signs of oil leaks. Check the spare tyre and keep an eye out for cosmetic fixes on upholstery, bodywork and in the engine itself. Don’t be afraid to be fussy in the eyes of the seller.

4. Are there two Keys?   Two keys for every car. That’s the rule. An extra set of keys can cost hundreds of euros. Losing your car key is a bit of nuisance when there is one safely at home. It’s a disaster when its your only key.   There have been some scary stories of cars sold with just one key and disreputable sellers returning later to claim the car. If the seller does not impart confidence and there is only one key, you should reconsider the purchase.

5. Motor Tax Costs/Fuel Costs.   Lots of drivers have fallen in love with cars that have hidden running costs. High motor tax and crippling fuel consumption could mean buying a fantastic car that sits in the drive while you cycle to the shops! Check the brand reviews online and make sure you can afford the cost of running that preloved car. This is not an issue when you are purchasing from a motor dealer with years of experience and the full knowledge of all the cars, they sell at their fingertips.

6. Finance. At Sandyford Motor Centre, we have many options for car finance and are pleased to deal directly with financial institutions on your behalf. If buying privately, there are many other options from the bank, the bank of Mum and Dad to your local Credit Union. It is probably not wise to hand over wads of cash with no record or accountability to a seller. Try to ensure that there is some accountability and record of the transaction in case you need that proof later.

7. Insurance.   Check that the model of car can be easily insured and in the case of young drivers, it is recommended that you choose your car first and insurance second. Not all cars will be approved by insurance companies and if you are on a learner license you are unlikely to get cover on a high-end model older than ten years. Check out our advice for first time insurance here 

8. Warranty. Will there be a warranty with the car and if so, what will this warranty cover?

9. Maintenance/Servicing and Replacement Costs. Some cars incur costly repairs and replacement parts than others. Checkout the reviews for the model of car you are thinking of purchasing will be helpful here. Note what is likely to need repairing or replacing, including tyres, and what the cost of maintenance and fixing is likely to be.

10. Is this the car or your lifestyle? You need a car that suits your lifestyle. Whether you are just driving a few hours a week or never off the road as you collect children and run constant errands. You need the car that matches your needs. It makes little sense to drive a seven-seater SUV if there is just you and the dog. Or you may need to fit in three or four child seats, golf clubs, buggies, and a cat basket. An experienced sales executive in any motor dealer can marry a car with its owner after just a few simple questions, directing the buyer to the optimal choice for their budget and lifestyle.

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