Car Buying guide

Buying a Used Car in Essex, England

Buying a used car is a great way to get a vehicle for much cheaper than a new vehicle. However, there is a long process to go through that has a greater risk for you as the buyer. We have created this step—by—step guide to help used car shoppers in Essex know what they will have to do so they can avoid making any critical mistakes that could wind up costing them thousands of pound.

Step 1: Preparation

Before you start looking for used vehicles that are for sale, you should do some preparation that will make the rest of the process much easier.

1.1 Pick Your Ideal Vehicle

In general, you should figure out what your needs are when shopping for a vehicle. Someone who lives and works in Essex or Hertfordshire might want a small hybrid that has great fuel economy and can maneuver and park easily. Meanwhile, someone who lives in Cambridgeshire or Stansted and goes on weekend fishing trips might prefer a crossover SUV to fit their gear and deal with bumpy country roads, and construction workers everywhere usually need a pick—up truck.

1.2 Set Your Budget

First, sit down and set your budget. This includes the maximum amount you think you can afford to spend on purchasing the car as well as all the other payments and costs associated with owning your car. Remember to factor in taxes, licensing fees, and license plates. Some people think the general rule is that you should not be spending more than 20% of your income on your vehicle. There are other costs to consider that will only be a factor once you actually own the vehicle:

  • Depreciation — some cars tend to be worth more as they age than others
  • Fuel Economy — if you’re shopping for a used car in Essex or Hertfordshire fuel efficiency can save or cost you a lot of money in the long run
  • Insurance — payments will vary according to your age, driving experience, and the vehicle
  • Repair & Maintenance — some vehicles are more reliable and cheaper to repair

When you’re setting your budget on how much you want to spend on a used car, make sure to keep these additional costs in mind and not just the cost to purchase it.

Step 2: Research

This step is optional. If you know your budget and just want to start looking at what is available in your price range then you can skip to Step 3 below.

Now you can start doing some research to find out what used cars satisfy your criteria. There are a number of things to look for in a vehicle that will make sure you find a used car you like and that you can afford.

You can look up websites to find detailed breakdowns and comparisons of every vehicle being sold so you can see which ones fit your criteria. In addition, you can see how reliable specific vehicles are, how expensive they are to fix, and things like depreciation to get an idea for its cost—to—own. 

Step 3: Search

Now you can start searching ads and listing to see what is for sale in your area. There are a number of different ways to search for used vehicles, and each of them has its own benefits and drawbacks.

3.1 Decide Between Private vs Dealership

If you want to know what the difference is between buying from a private seller or from a car dealership, there are pros and cons for each that you should keep in mind.

  • Condition
    • Private seller — used vehicle comes “as is” so any issues that exist when you buy it are your responsibility
    • Dealership — used vehicles are usually cleaned and fixed up before being sold
  • Reliability
    • Private seller — more likely to encounter scams from private sellers
    • Dealership — cannot afford to be dishonest due to legal and industry regulations
  • Choice
    • Private seller — usually only have the one car to sell
    • Dealership — will have multiple on their lot to examine and choose from
  • Certified Pre—Owned
    • Private seller — does not have them
    • Dealership — used vehicles with fully certified histories and sometimes come with additional manufacturer warranties
  • CarProof
    • Private seller — does not have them
    • Dealership — can provide independent report that has more thorough and accurate vehicle history


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