Many of my friends have their cars on hire purchase schemes or pay for their autos monthly. But for a thrifty (tight) couple like us, buying a new car isn’t cost effective. As soon as a new car is driven out of the garage forecourt it depreciates massively. I also prefer to own my car outright and wouldn’t borrow money for one.
Buying a used car can be daunting, especially if you don’t know much about cars. But armed with the wonders of the internet, along with a determined approach, you can save lots of money throughout the lifecycle of car ownership.
Here are my favourite websites I have used for every stage of buying and owning a car:
Do you scrutinise hotels and restaurants on Trip Advisor before booking? If so, you will love the Parkers website. You can look at reviews for pretty much any car form real people who have owned them. It shows a whole host of other useful information such as the model’s tax price, luggage capacity and engine size, and also has a tool to compare different models side by side.
Finding a used car is made so easy with the internet. One can view cars for sale from all corners of the UK, from the comfort of the sofa. Using sites like eBay not only show pretty much all cars for sale (because pretty much every seller uses it) it also helps you benchmark the value of a car based on factors such as its age, condition and mileage. If you are able to pay for the car through PayPal (most sellers ask for cash) you will also have that little bit of extra protection/piece of mind in case the item isn’t as described.
Once a magazine, now also a very useful website where people can sell their cars. Each listing provides specifications of the car on sale, making it simple to compare factors such as fuel efficiency.
There are so many comparison sites that pretty much all do the same thing. I was told that all the insurance comparison sites use the same back end system which may be the reason prices go up each time you check a difference comparison site. My advice is to choose one site and don’t keep re-running your application for the same car. I also recommend phoning up your chosen dealer to confirm all your details and go direct through them to haggle a better price.
As soon as you buy a car, buy the Haynes manual for your model on Amazon. It will cost you around £20 and will provide easy to understand, step by step details on how to fix your car. Somethings you may want to leave to a mechanic, but it will save you money if you do the easier things, such as replacing a light bulb or fuse, yourself.
From how to fix your hair to how to fix your car- YouTube is amazing. Real people providing real step by step guides that anyone can watch. Last week, my left indicator failed, and Dave watched a YouTube tutorial to see how to remove the airbag from the steering column. And, the best bit; it’s free!
There are hundreds off car related forums on the internet. Just type in your car issue into Google and it is highly likely you will get loads of result. It can be time consuming to trawl through forums, reading conversations, but the time is well spent as it can help you diagnose an issue, or at least, rule out causes. When you take your car to the garage, the mechanic will charge you for looking for the causes of an issue. Sometimes it is a case of trial and error, resulting in a hefty bill. If you can test a few things yourself first, then you could save yourself lots of money. Simple things such as changing the fuel filter can relieve many symptoms and is often the first thing a garage will do, and charge you for.
This site is great for finding car tyres at the best price. Just enter the size of your tyre and your postcode and it will list the best prices from businesses in your local area. The size is displayed on the side of your car tyres or you can just Google to find it out.
Genuine and copy car parts are easy to buy from eBay, and are often a lot cheaper than what your garage will charge you. Small parts which you can easily change yourself, such as window wipers, fuses and lightbulbs can be posted direct to your door.
Sellers often ‘brake’ cars and sell the parts on eBay. If you are looking for a very specific part such as a silver electric wing mirror for a Peurgeot 206, chances are someone will be selling one from an old car on eBay. Sellers often just list the whole car for ‘spares’ so contact them through eBay and ask them how much they will sell the part you need, for. Buying a second hand part is 99% of the time cheaper and equally as good as buying a brand new part.
Scrap yards also sell parts of cars so get on the Yellowpages website and search for your local scrap yard to call. Some scrap yards will remove the car part from the original car to hand to you, whereas others expect you to remove the part yourself. Paddy the pooch has chewed through a total of 6 seat belts in Ian’s car now, and each time he has got a new one from the scrap yard for £5 apiece.
Euro Car Parts
Sometimes a brand new part is better, or even necessary, over a second hand part. Things such as brake pads and calipers (I write form experience) need to be new. Europarts are located in most major towns and items can be reserved over the phone or over the internet and collected from the counter or posted out.
I’ve used all these websites to help save me money on my cars over the years. I’ve learnt new skills, such as replacing brake pads, too.
I love telling my friends about them, so they can also save money. A few years back, a friend had her wing mirror kicked off by a vandal and it was going to cost a lot of money to buy a brand new one. I recommended she called the local scrap yard and they had one in stock for a fraction of the cost.
If you are normally the type of person to take your car to the garage for things such as changing bulbs, wipers and filters, then why not have a go at doing it yourself, learn a new skill and save a few bob all at the same time?