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Read the Reviews Before Buying a Used Car

By: Scott McBride - Updated: 14 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Reviews Reading Research Used Cars

Competition in the car market is fierce, so whether a buyer needs a two-seater convertible or a diesel estate there are bound to be a host of manufacturers vying for his cash. At first glance, there may appear to be little to choose between the various cars on offer in any particular class and it can be difficult for a buyer to reach a decision.

Luckily, help is at hand. Newspapers, magazines and websites are packed with information on all types of cars and the savvy buyer will heed the advice on offer. Before parting with his hard-earned cash, a buyer should take time to do a bit of research by reading all the reviews he can get his hands on.

Of course, different people will like different cars and what one reviewer describes as a design classic another may dismiss as an ugly collection of nuts and bolts. Ultimately, the person buying the used car must trust his own instincts, as he is the one who must live with the decision, but reviews can be an invaluable source when it comes to guiding buyers in the right direction.

Take Reviews Seriously

It is worth taking reviews seriously because most of the motoring journalists who write them have driven hundreds of cars in their time. This means the reviewer can give an honest, informed opinion of a car and compare it, favourably or otherwise, with the other cars in its class.

Typically, reviews will offer the reader an overall rating for the car and break this down further with ratings for styling, handling, safety, reliability, running costs, value for money and equipment that is fitted as standard. The best reviews will also show how these ratings compare with those of other cars in the class.

Perhaps even more importantly for those buying a used car, reviews can point out any problems that specific makes and models are known to develop. Armed with this information, a buyer will know what to look for when he goes to inspect a used car.

Avoid Big Repair Bills

Reviews may also reveal when the car’s cam belt – sometimes called a timing belt – needs to be replaced and how many miles the gearbox and clutch should last for. Buyers can then check the service history of the used car in question and find out if this work has been carried out or not. It may help to avoid hefty repair bills.

In many respects, the internet is the best place for buyers to study car reviews. There is a huge amount of information freely available and it is easy to compare prices, fuel economy, emissions and running costs of cars across a class. Those interested in a sports car may want to compare brake horsepower, whereas those looking for a family saloon may be more concerned about boot space. Whatever the query, the information is available.

While the professional motoring journalists provide the most reliable information on cars, buyers should not dismiss reviews written by car users. After all, these people have lived with their cars over time and so know as well as anyone the good and bad points of particular makes and models.

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