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Test Drive Is EVERYTHING When Buying a Used Car

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Test Drive Is EVERYTHING When Buying a Used Car


I have never bought a brand-new model ever since I started buying cars from the tender age of eighteen. The main reason for that is because in spite of my best efforts I am still nowhere near rich enough not to care about money and depreciation and all that. I buy used because nine times out of ten I get a much better deal.

Of course, it has not always been like this. When I was new to this game a fair few times I lost more money buying used than I would have getting a brand-spanking-new car, running it for some time and then selling it on. Sometimes it’s the prowess of the used car salesman in selling you an overpriced car and basically robbing you of your hard-earned cash, and sometimes it is the repair bills that make up the difference. But the highlight of all those failures is almost always the lack of information about the product you are buying.

That leads me to the main topic of this post and what I really want to talk about. When buying a used car the first and foremost thing you need to do is test drive it. And I mean really test drive it. Test drive the hell out of it! It is only through a prolonged and thorough test drive that hidden faults come to surface and the car shows you its true colors. You should have enough time with the car to push every button and turn every knob, drive it on a variety of surfaces and put it through the wringer… a dozen times. You should be able to park the car on your driveway and see if it looks right.

And there lies the problem with the traditional used car market. Visit a used car lot and even if you manage to navigate through the minefield that is the used car salesman innate cunning safely, you only get like ten minutes behind the wheel to sample the car. And it is during this ten minutes that the salesman feels the need to share with you the story of his life – anything to distract you from concentrating on the test drive. But let’s say you have your wits about you and point out some of the car’s fault to the guy. That’ll launch the salesman into the most eloquent, gleaming speech about why that particular fault doesn’t really matter. You cannot help but agree with him.

I personally buy most of my used cars through classifieds these days. This way I will have to deal with a guy of my own rank and in a much safer environment than a dealership. Here nobody is trying to trick me into buying anything other than what I came here to buy. I also get to spend a lot more time with the car and have a more substantial test drive. But this is also less than ideal, because in the presence of the owner you can’t really thrash the car, and without thrashing it you can’t be sure it is faultless.

So, what are you loking for? A used Peugeot, DS or Citroen car? You have definitely heard of Robins and Day. They have used cars in over 40 locations, and being a large dealer group they have the flexibility to transfer their used car stock within their network, so if you think of a car that takes your fancy but it’s too far away, it could be closer than you think.

It’s a pretty cool system for buying used cars, isn’t it?

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