When buying a used car from someone else than family or friend we have basically three options – searching through classifieds in print (still used by older people who are not keen on using the Internet), browsing through online classifieds (e.g. websites like motors.co.uk or gumtree.com/cars) and visiting a used car dealer. Every option has its pros and cons.
Classified about selling a used car appear mostly in the local press, e.g. in dailies. Frequently on a given day of week there is a special motoring section which contains not only classifieds but also advice for car owners. Print classifieds are short and contain just a few words with a telephone number or a www site address. They are used mainly by people, usually middle aged and older, who have no access to the Internet and are used to check classifieds in newspapers.
Online classifieds can be found on various websites, but the most popular ones are those posted on motors.co.uk or gumtree.com/cars. Here classifieds are longer, more detailed and have at least one photograph. Moreover, a search engine allows to browse cars accordingly to our expectations (e.g. to search only car of a given brand, fuel type, a given voivodeship etc.).
Buying a used car is also possible through a dealer. In major cities there are lots of car dealers – some of them specialise in domestic cars, while others have mainly imported vehicles – from France, Netherlands, Germany, USA etc. Depending on the size of the dealer there can be a few or dozens of cars available.
Print classifieds – pros and cons
The biggest disadvantage of print classifieds is that they are short and contain a limited amount of information. We have brand and model, year of manufacturing, mileage, sometimes type of fuel and telephone number. Photographs are not available and for any additional information we have to call the owner. Thus, it is very difficult to compare different cars at first glance – for every car we have to make a phone call, gather information and afterwards make a decision whether we want to inspect the vehicle personally. It is also difficult to know something about the seller. In contrary, if someone posts a classified in the Internet, there is usually the possibility to track his or her previous transactions.
However, it is still worth taking a look at print classifieds as real bargains can be found there – cars that have not been advertised on the Internet. Not everyone has a computer and access to Internet and older generation can be devoted to traditional and tested ways of selling a car like print classifieds.
Online classifieds – pros and cons
There are plenty of classifieds on the Internet and therefore a wide variety of available cars – that’s the first advantage. If you are looking for a specific cars and don’t mind travelling to another corner of Poland, then search for your dream car on the Internet. Another advantage of online classifieds is that they are very expanded – all the most important features and equipment are there, sometimes even VIN so you can check instantly whether a car’s history is reliable. Classifieds can be easily compared and some search engines even have special options that let you choose specific cars and compare them directly.
Comparing cars also means comparing their price – since in the Internet you have all the prices from around the country, you can easily check whether a car you are interested in has a good price tag or not. The possibility to check the buyer is also an advantage when it comes to online classifieds. Perhaps he is trying to sell the car for several months which means there could be an issue with it. Or maybe he gave his full name so you can check his or her profile on Facebook, where you track that the car was involved in a minor accident. Such possibility to check the owner is not available when it comes to print classifieds or a used car dealer.
Used car dealer – pros and cons
Is buying a car through a dealer a good idea? First of all, it can be a good idea for people who buy their cars for business purposes. Only through a dealer you are able to get a VAT receipt, which is not available when buying from a private owner. Dealers have often options for financing purchase of a car either through a lease agreement or credit and can help in paper work. When buying a car you can usually leave your previous one in exchange if it is in a good condition. That will spare you time and effort to sell it by yourself.
Used car dealers have their vehicles inspected before they are offered – nobody wants to have a car wreck that is difficult to sell. It is often easy to obtain VIN and all the documents concerning car, since the owner or car dealer seller has taken care of it.
Another advantage is that some dealers give warranty for cars that are bought there. This works for a limited time or to a given mileage. This reassures us that the car we are buying will not break down after a month or even a week.
If you live in a big city or you want to go there to buy a car, you can do a list of used car dealers and check them. Such excursions for cars and driving around is a good idea when you need a car instantly and does not have a particular brand and model in mind. With used car dealers you see what’s in store and choose the car that fits you best.
A limited choice is one of the disadvantages of used car dealers. If you are after a specific car, you might not even find it. It is better then to look for it on the Internet. Another disadvantage is that you can find lots of cars that were leased, which many drivers are reluctant to buy. However, if you are not against cars previously used in company fleets you can usually compare a few vehicles of the same brand and model and choose the one which you find most suitable – with lowest mileage, interior in better shape or where chassis is in good condition. When buying a car through Internet or print classifieds, it is not possible to compare two or more cars in one place at a given time.