Ireland's Publication for the refinishing & associated Industries

What to avoid when buying a used car

The number of new car registrations in Ireland is on the rise. In January 2015 – traditionally the busiest month of the year for new car sales – the Irish motor industry recorded a 31% increase in registrations. The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) confirmed that 29,948 new cars were bought in January, versus 22,893 for the same period in 2014. But while an improving economy makes a new purchase attractive, buying a used car can prove to be an excellent investment given the rapid depreciation rates of new vehicles. 

However, a degree of care is required when buying a used vehicle; here are a few pointers on what you should avoid.

1. Don’t pass over the chance of a test drive. Buyers have to ensure a vehicle is running correctly before making any purchase decision.

2. Don’t go car shopping without your financials in place. If your budget isn’t fixed, you could end up buying a car you can ill-afford or worse, end up with a high-interest finance deal from a car dealership. 

3. Don’t purchase before a mechanic has checked over the car. While this isn’t always easy to arrange, a mechanic looking for any hidden issues will provide peace of mind before you make a commitment. Also check if the car needs a National Car Test (NCT) or has recently passed one. 

4. Don’t drive away without a car check service. Checking the vehicle’s history online can also reveal problems the car has had in the past. This is a recommended step, particularly if it’s a private sale; the “sold as seen” culture of private sales can leave buyers with additional repair costs on top the original price. There are a number of companies providing this service on the internet, such as

5. Don’t buy a car on looks, buy on need. By understanding what you need the vehicle for from the outset, you will reduce the risk of an impulse purchase that isn’t fit for purpose.

While new cars avoid the issue of “previous owners”, the steps above will ensure the purchase of a used car goes as smoothly as possible.