What’s lurking in the dark?

Convenience__a_convivial_seShane Teskey from HPI is offering some top tips to used car buyers trying to get a hot deal during a cold snap.

It’s cold outside, so winter really is the time for only the most serious of used car buyers. However the long dark nights can also offer the perfect cover for someone trying to shift a dodgy used car, which is why HPI is offering its top tips to used car buyers trying to get a hot deal during a cold snap.

Shane Teskey, Head of Consumer Services for HPI comments, “The winter period, particularly the festive season, can deliver massive savings. It’s almost halfway between registration plate changes and most dealerships will be quiet, leading to heavy price cuts to maintain sales.  Private sellers will also mean business – if they are selling their car during midwinter, it probably means they have to, and there could be a bargain to be had. To maximise the potential savings, it’s a good idea to plan what type of car you want in advance and be clever about it – no one drives around with the roof down in the middle of winter, so now is a good time to consider buying a convertible as demand is low and in turn so are prices. Conversely, if you are looking for a 4×4 to handle snowy roads, the seller will probably be asking for top money.

“But it’s not all about values. The dark winter weather can also be a friend to dodgy sellers, as it is a lot harder to spot damaged bodywork or the tell-tale signs of wear and tear under cover of darkness. However taking some small steps you might not immediately think of can make all the difference, such as what type of clothing you will be wearing when viewing a car.

“Wearing gloves removes the all-important sense of touch, so taking them off could help you find flaws you wouldn’t with your gloves on. Similarly, bring a change of shoes from your bulky winter boots so that you can feel how the clutch etc will run for the rest of the year.

“It’s also a good idea, if the owner allows it, to have the car washed – at your own expense of course. This helps during winter as you will be able to see if there are any leaks, because seals aren’t as tight in cold weather.”

An HPI Check from www.hpicheck.com will confirms whether a vehicle is currently recorded as stolen with the police, has outstanding finance against it or has been declared an insurance write-off, making it the best way for consumers to protect themselves from fraudsters looking to make a fast profit. In addition it includes a mileage check against the National Mileage Register as standard, now with over 160 million mileage readings.  Furthermore, the HPI Check provides a £30,000 Guarantee* in the event of the information it provides being inaccurate, providing added financial peace of mind for savvy car buyers.

Teskey concludes, “While it might not be the most appealing time to buy a used car, winter can certainly offer some benefits when it comes to picking up a bargain. However, as with any time of the year, it pays to come armed with the information you need to protect yourself. HPI urges buyers to take sensible steps to make sure the wool isn’t pulled over your eyes.”


HPI’s Top Winter Car Buying Tips

1.    See the Light

Vehicles can look a lot more attractive in low-light, especially those which have a few dents here and there, so try to view the vehicle in daylight or at least under a very good light source. Take a torch.  A good light source will also help you check under the bonnet to ensure chassis numbers match the car’s documents.

2.    The Coat Conundrum

Buyers will want to check how the car will perform in both summer and winter. A good way to try this is to leave on your coat at first and see how well the car’s air conditioning cools you. Then, take it off and see how long it takes to warm up.

3.    Take the Test

Winter with its cold, damp weather presents unique challenges when it comes to test driving a used car. However you should try to drive as you would in the summertime, take the vehicle up to speed then hit the brakes to test the ABS (when it’s safe to do so). When braking, see how straight the car comes to a stop, as pulling in one direction can indicate brake or alignment problems. Also try taking the car to a large car park and see how it handles on areas where black ice can appear.

4.    Get  a History Check

Always check the history of the car. One vital check the buyer can do is to find all the VIN/chassis numbers on the vehicle to make sure they match each other, and then use the HPI Check to ensure they tally with the registration number of the vehicle.


16th December, 2013



Author: wheelsforwomen

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