STEP 1 - Setting your budget

Before you start to search for that perfect car, think about how much you realistically have to spend.

If you currently have a car you are wishing to sell, ensure you know the value of your car and then decide to sell it privately or part-exchange it with a dealer
If you need to take out finance for the new car, make sure you check different finance companies to get the best rates.
Remember, the total cost of your car is not just the asking price, you should also to factor in the price of fuel, maintenance and transfers.

STEP 2 - Choosing the right car

With the vast array of cars available now, choosing the right car for you can be a tricky process.

Make sure you really think about what you need from the car, for example think about:

What purpose will the car will be used for
How many passengers will be carried on a regular basis
How much will the car cost to fuel, insure, service and repair

STEP 3 - Contacting the seller

When speaking to the seller for the first time, make sure you ask them the right questions to gather as much useful information about the car before a viewing.

Ensure you ask questions about the cars past and its current condition
If you arrange a viewing with a private seller, arrange the viewing at their homes, and if the seller is a trade seller, arrange the viewing at their premises.
Do NOT arrange viewings after dark as it makes it much more difficult to see any damage or major scratches on the vehicle.

STEP 4 - Inspecting the car

You don't need to know a lot about cars to make a useful inspection of a used car, there are just a few golden rules you should follow.

Check the car's documents closely to spot if the cars odometer has been tampered with.
Look for rust, mismatched paint and uneven gaps between body panels. This could be a sign that the car has been involved in a traffic accident
Check all the car's electrical features to ensure that they all work

STEP 5 - Going for a test drive

The test drive gives you the opportunity to asses every aspect of the car, from how it feels on the road, to making sure all its equipment works correctly.

When taking a test drive make sure you select a route thats at least 15 minutes long and utilises different types of road
Try to start the car when the engine is cold, to check for excessive smoke and unusual noises
Check the gears, brakes, steering and suspension work as they should, with no unusual noises and vibrations

STEP 6 - Negotiate with the seller

It is normal practice for buyers to make a reduced offer on the car they would like to buy, so don't be afraid of trying to negotialte on the price.

Make sure you know what the car is worth, and stick to what you're willing to pay
Start with a lower bid and then let the seller try to bring the price up
Show the seller you are commitment to the deal, stay calm and don't be confrontational
If the seller won't sell the car for what you are willing to pay, don't worry there are plenty of other cars available.

STEP 7 - Doing the paperwork

A car's paperwork is essential and provides information on the history and ownership of the car, so you should check it thoroughly.

Check all paperwork looks and feels genuine – photocopies and print outs could be fake
Ensure the address and recorded keeper's information tallies with the person selling the car
Make sure the buyer writes a receipt for you both

DISCLAIMER: This information is for advice and guidance purposes only. does not guarentee results.