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Guide to buying a second hand car

Date Published 18.09.2017
Topic Car Insurance

Guide to buying a second hand car

Although buying a brand new car may be the dream, buying a ‘new to me’ car is the reality for most of us. On top of the initial cost, a new car depreciates as soon as you drive it off the forecourt so it really isn’t great value either (which is what we tell ourselves until the lottery win!).

A car is probably the second most valuable asset you will own, other than your home, so getting it right matters. What do you need to consider when buying a second hand car in Ireland?

1. Where to buy? Dealer Vs Private Sale

We would always recommend buying a second hand car from a Society of Irish Motor Industry SIMI registered car dealer for a number of reasons:

a. If something goes wrong with the car shortly after purchase you have consumer rights under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act.

b. You should be offered a warranty on the vehicle so any issues or repairs during the period of the warranty will be completed for free.

Although many private sellers are genuine, the risks with buying a car in a private sale are much greater because if something does go wrong you have very little legal protection.

The Age of the car 

There are a couple of reasons why the age of a car matters more today than it may have in the past. First of all cars less than four years old don’t have to complete the National Car Test (NCT). If the second hand car you buy is over 4 years old than you only have to pass the NCT once every two years. Cars over 10 years old have to pass the NCT on an annual basis. It is also becoming more difficult to insure older cars.

 What about mileage?

Mileage still matters, although maybe not as much as it once did, when cars were not as well built or tested. What you so need to know when you are buying a second hand car is where the mileage was done? If it was mainly motorway driving, the impact won’t be as great as less mileage on country roads or around towns. Miles in urban or rural areas means more wear and tear on the:

  • Engine
  • Clutch
  • Brakes
  • Gearbox

So really the more information you can gather on previous owners the more informed decision you can make.

It’s also worth knowing, on average, the annual mileage on an Irish car should be less than 20,000kms.

man driving

Background Check 

An essential step for a car buyer today is to carry out a history check to find out if the car has ever been:

  • Written off
  • Crashed
  • Stolen
  • Failed the NCT
  • Been used as a taxi

SIMI members have access to a car history checker so they can provide you with this information.

What paperwork should I get?

There is a list of paperwork that you must receive when you buy a second hand car:

  • Vehicle registration cert
  • The cars handbook containing a full service history
  • Written record of the mileage
  • NCT certificate

Buying a second hand car doesn’t have to be risky business, once you do your research and use a registered dealer you should end up with a great motor that serves you well for years to come! When it comes to insuring your new wheels, AIG Ireland offer comprehensive car insurance

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