20 expert tips for getting the best deal when buying or whipping out a used engine

DO YOU THINK you can get the most bang for your buck – or not overpay for a new set of wheels?

Used car prices have hit record highs in a so-called “used car gold rush.”

Used car prices have hit record highs in what has been dubbed the


Used car prices have hit record highs in what has been dubbed the “used car gold rush.”Photo credit: Getty

Some new models are experiencing delays of up to a year due to supply chain issues and a shortage of microchips.

So customers have to buy used vehicles instead, and demand is pushing prices up by thousands of pounds.

The Sun on Sunday’s used car expert and friendly used car salesman Ask Alfie said: “Prices for used cars are unprecedented at the moment.

“Growing up we were all taught that used cars go down in value, but right now that’s not the case – it’s a gold rush.

Tesco driver stuck in narrow street for 15 HOURS, blocking traffic

“It’s a seller’s market, so buyers need to be careful not to overpay, and my message is do your research.”

Below are his top ten oxen for buyers and sellers. . .

buying tips

Ask Alfie says:'Used car prices are unprecedented'


Ask Alfie says: ‘Used car prices are unprecedented’Photo credit: Shutterstock
  1. Create a budget: Find out what you can afford, especially if you plan to take out a loan. Calculate monthly repayments – and stick to them.
  2. Please investigate: Check vehicles of similar age and condition so you don’t overpay. And if a car doesn’t have its V5C (logbook), walk away.
  3. Watch safely: If buying privately, verify that the listed owner is selling the car from the address listed on the V5C. Don’t meet in an isolated place. Also compare the V5C with the VIN and registration.
  4. Check paperwork: This includes the maintenance history and the MoT history online. Make sure the mileage matches the papers. How long does the MoT stay and are there any clues?
  5. Examine carefully: View the interior and exterior in daylight so you have a good view. Uneven gaps or mismatched paint finishes can indicate poorly repaired damage. Check that all windows are open and closed and that the air conditioning is working. Frayed seat belts and shiny steering wheels and pedals indicate heavy use – does that go with the odometer?
  6. Take a decent test drive: Watch out for noise or handling quirks. Check if it is cold when it starts. If they preheated it, it can hide cold start problems. Any danger signs of blue smoke from the exhaust are more likely to show up when it’s cold.
  7. Check that everything is there: This includes the spare wheel (if you have one), the vehicle manual and spare keys. Does the car have lockable wheel nuts and is the adapter included?
  8. Check his story: Before agreeing to any payment, do an HPI check with a company like the RAC.
  9. Do not carry large amounts of cash with you: Be careful as you may be scammed or robbed. And always get a receipt as proof – even from private sellers. Get the new V5C owner’s license too.
  10. Keep your options open: Got other cars in the pipeline. Be ready to walk away if it’s not what you expect.

sales tips

Ask Alfie says:


Ask Alfie says: “It’s a seller’s market, so buyers have to be careful not to overpay.”Photo credit: Getty
  1. Clean it up: If your car looks dingy, potential buyers might think you haven’t looked into it. Pay for full valet parking, then snap quality photos for display.
  2. Research: Check other cars with the same mileage and specification. If yours had extras when you bought it, list them. There are rating services that traders can use, but you pay. Check out sites like Auto Trader and Parkers instead.
  3. Preparation: Gather paperwork – your V5C (log book), owner manual, MoT and full service manual if you have one. Oh, and find those spare keys.
  4. Retailer or online? What more do you want – a quick sale or a great price? If the former is the case, check out websites that offer to buy cars quickly. They take a hit on the price but now the market is strong so sites are offering better prices. If you want more money, you have to list it yourself on a site like Auto Trader. And retailers are desperate for stock right now.
  5. sales pitch: Describe your car to the maximum, list all the features and include all those expensive extras.
  6. Be honest: Be open to minor mistakes. Or it will cost you later.
  7. Leave some room for haggling: If you want at least £15,500 then maybe you should list it at £15,995.
  8. Security: Once you have a potential buyer, you might meet in a garage or supermarket where there is video surveillance. Anyone who is shady will know they’re being filmed.
  9. Vehicle crime: Give a prospective buyer basic information over the phone, but don’t give the vehicle identification number – a real buyer can find this on the car, usually at the base of the windshield. Do not reveal details that could lead to identity theft.
  10. test drive: A buyer wants a test drive. But you must see a certificate that they are insured to drive your car and a valid driver’s license. If they’re real, they won’t be offended. Always accompany your customer on a test drive. And leaving the engine running while changing seats is an opportunity for thieves, so turn off the car and take the key with you. Don’t let a prospect loose in your car without you.
Dacia Sandero - Used: £12,481, New: £10,172


Dacia Sandero – Used: £12,481, New: £10,172Credit: Handout
Audi A1 – Used: £24,871, New: £24,587


Audi A1 – Used: £24,871, New: £24,587Credit: Handout
Ford Fiesta - Used: £22,108, New: £17,905


Ford Fiesta – Used: £22,108, New: £17,905
Toyota Yaris – Used: £42,356, New: £21,080


Toyota Yaris – Used: £42,356, New: £21,080Credit: Handout
Mini 2-Door – Used: £39,218, New: £22,565


Mini 2-Door – Used: £39,218, New: £22,565 20 expert tips for getting the best deal when buying or whipping out a used engine

Fry Electronics Team

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