Car on the blink? Here are 7 essential tips to help you work out whether it’s cheaper to buy a new car rather than fork out for expensive repairs on your existing car. PLUS how to make money on the old parts if you do decide to start afresh.
Guest Post by Mike Teesdale
My car’s head-gasket went recently.
We were returning from a nice day out when I suddenly noticed the temperature gauge wasn’t where it should be.
Luckily, I noticed it in time so the engine didn’t seize up… but as you may well know, the cost of replacing a head gasket on any car induces teeth-sucking from a mechanic. Teeth-sucking, followed by a heavy sigh and a gigantic price tag.
Rather than fork out the expense of replacing the head gasket I decided to get a new car and most of this week has been spent browsing local used car listings.
In the meantime I’m going to trade in or sell the old one on a ‘spares and repairs’ basis and get a bit knocked off the purchase price of a newer vehicle.
The first thing that I was surprised about was that you can actually get quite a lot of money for trading in your old car or selling off old parts.
This is great news if you’re searching for a used car (but obviously not so great if you’ve just driven a brand new car off the forecourt and then seen it’s value depreciate at £100 a nanosecond– so it’s worth bearing in mind!)
7 simple tips to help you decide whether it’s better value to get your old car repaired or to buy a new one
1. Always calculate how much your fuel, insurance and road tax costs for both your old car and the prospective new car, and compare them
If you’re used to paying a set amount of tax and insurance per year, you might get a nasty shock.
2. When you contact the seller, actually ring them up and speak to them rather than communicate via text or email
You’ll get a better service and they’re much more likely to open up about the car and divulge valuable information to you.
3. When you’re inspecting a used car, always do a history check
This is extremely important. Make sure there isn’t any outstanding finance on it, and that it hasn’t been reported stolen or written off.
4. Check the log book and service history against the actual car
Pay attention to the mileage, look under the bonnet and examine the body work for rust, different paint tones and obvious gaps between panels.
5. Compare the Vehicle ID Number
You’ll find this under the bonnet and on the chassis by the driver’s seat. Make sure you check this against the logbook, and also look for signs of tampering.
6. Take it for a test drive
Check that all the car’s features work as they should and see how it drives on different types of road.
7. Don’t be afraid to haggle (it’s expected!)
Know what you’re willing to pay. If it comes with several months of tax and MOT left, bear that in mind. If the price goes beyond your top figure, walk away – there are many more used cars out there.
I hope you found these tips useful. If you’ve got anything to add please leave a comment below.