Buying a Used Car From a Dealer, Private Seller or Auction: Which is Best?

At Queens Park Garage in Bournemouth, we see a pretty broad range of cars from new to old. One question we often get asked is how to pick a great car when buying second hand.

The truth is that if you are not a mechanic, it can be difficult to know your alternator from your brake pads, so sometimes it is handy to ask for some professional advice and do your research. Buying a used car represents a significant investment. You’re looking at spending at least £2,000 and maybe much more depending on the age of the car.

Getting things right so you don’t end up with a dud is important. To help, we asked around the team here at Queens Park Garage in Bournemouth to find out the pros and cons of buying from a dealer, privately or at auction. Which is best?

Buying From a Used Car Dealer

There are several reasons why buying from a reputable used car dealer is a good idea. For a start, they will have probably checked over the car and put right any issues with the vehicle. The car will have had a full service even if there was nothing wrong.

You should also get a warranty, typically for 12 months which protects you should there be a problem further down the line.

Of course, there are different types of dealer. A main dealer or garage will be a lot more reliable and will have followed a reasonably strict protocol before putting the car on the market. They may also cost a fair bit more because of the overheads but the extra may well be worth it.

A driveaway dealer may give you a better price for the car but they are likely to have done less in the way of checking the car. In some cases, all they will have done is give the car a good wash and a change of oil.

All traders must comply with the Consumer Rights Act, which means you have legal protection and can claim a refund within 30 days if things aren’t right with the car.

Buying a car from a used car dealer

Buying From a Private Seller

The next option is to buy from a private seller. This is normally an individual who is selling their own car and can prove a lot cheaper if you pick the right car. You can normally haggle over the price too.

You get the chance to speak directly to the previous owner and find out why they are selling their car. A closer look will also tell you whether they’ve looked after the car or not.

One downside is that you can’t be sure that the car has had the rigorous checks that you get from many dealers. There’s also the problem of getting your money back if you find there is something wrong with the car after you drive it away. Unfortunately, you have fewer buyer’s rights and may have to live with your purchase and pay the extra cost for repairs.

Buying from a private seller

Buying a Car at Auction and Online

If you know what you are doing, buying from auction could mean you pick up a real bargain. These cars are usually up for a quick sale and that can mean rock bottom prices. However, auctions are less popular than they used to be and you could end up with a really bad deal if you are inexperienced. Having less time to decide on purchasing a car means you may rush into making a bad buying choice.

Buying online is an increasingly popular alternative and sites like eBay combine this with an auction facility. The same pros and cons apply here with the additional worry that you will need to put a deposit down. Buying a car without seeing it, does have its risks and serious ones at that.

Buying a car at auction

If you do buy a second-hand car, it’s always a good idea to give it an initial service once you get it home. At Queen’s Park Garage, we provide a full car service for any make of car. Contact our expert team to find out how we can help today.

Relax whilst we work on your car

You can leave your car with us or wait in our comfortable reception with free wi-fi, free refreshments as well as viewing panel and CCTV so you can watch us while we work on your car.

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Opening Times

Monday 08:00- 18:00

Tuesday 08:00- 18:00

Wednesday 08:00- 18:00

Thursday 08:00- 18:00

Friday 08:00- 18:00

Saturday 08:30- 14:30

Sunday Closed

Bank Holidays Closed

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