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A buyer's guide to nearly new cars

Although it is ideal to buy a new car, in reality for many people, a pre-owned car makes more financial sense. While the second-hand car makes sense financially at the time of purchase, it does come with the inherent risks which come with a pre-owned vehicle, such as possible fatigue problems and even the possibility of ownership issues. To learn more about buying a second-hand car, read this article.

How to avoid buying stolen cars and cars with manipulated histories

Clocking The value of a pre-owned car is affected by many determinants and one of them relates to the mileage of a vehicle. A clean five-year-old car with low mileage, for example, will fetch a higher price than a high mileage five-year-old car. It is a common scam to roll back the mileage on a vehicle either physically by manipulating the tachometer, or even electronically in cars, which have electronic tachometers. In the case of cars with a physical tachometer, it is worthwhile checking to see if there are any scratch marks on the clock, which are tell-tale signs of manipulation. Regarding electronic tachometers, the only way to check is via a detailed report from a service such as the AA or Experian, which have information on the last recorded mileage of the vehicle. The last recorded mileage has been noted down during the most recent car service. Car cloning This takes place when the car seller swaps the identity of the car for another car. Often, registration plates are swapped and car logbooks are either swapped or forged. This technique is used either to sell an older car and pretend that it is newer, or to sell a stolen vehicle. It is important to take a good look at the car ownership papers and then to cross reference the car frame numbers (which are stamped onto the engine bay, usually near the front windscreen), in order to make sure that they match. It is also a good idea to use a car history service, as suggested above, in order to validate that the car registration matched the make and model number of the car which is on sale.

General considerations

Finally, once assured that the car is legitimate, it is also important to check out the mechanical worthiness of the vehicle. It is imprudent to buy the cheapest car, rather it is a better plan to spend slightly above average prices and purchase a really reliable car. The best way to ensure this, is to arrange for a qualified mechanic to check over the car prior to exchanging money. While this incurs a fee, it is a cost-effective option, since a mechanically deficient car will be expensive in the long run.

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