Car Buying

Different Ways to Buy a Used Car

Buying a new car is not a small task. There are so many different ways to buy used cars that things can become a little confusing if you’re unsure about the best ways to do it. There’s an awful lot to it after all (and it costs a lot too!). We’re here to help you figure out which way is going to be the best for you and to help you understand all of the options that you have out there.

Finding a Used Car

To get things started, it’s important to look at where it is that you’ll be buying the car. This has quite a big impact on what choices you have after all. Each of these is a more than viable option as a route of purchase, and for many, it simply comes down to preference and convinience when making the choise.

Private Sellers

Buying privately is one of the most popular ways to buy a used car. Anyone can be a private seller, they just need a car to sell. It’s one of the easiest ways to get the best price for a used car, and chances are, they’ll still charge you less than a dealer. It’s a win-win for everyone involved price-wise if you find a good car. The problem is that you have more risk. That’s the trade-off. The phrase buyer beware is extremely important here. Always be thorough.

When you do this you’re going to need to pay by cash. Whether that’s your own or a bank’s, you’ll need to pay all upfront.

Dealerships & Dealers

The next most common way to buy a used car is from a dealer. This is one of the easiest ways to buy a used car since that’s what the dealer is for. All you need to do is pick a new car that you can afford, and you can pay any way you want. You’ll probably get a warranty and a guaranteed safer deal too. This is because your consumer rights are in full force here, and you have these to fall back on if anything goes wrong (unless you can’t prove fault)

To buy this way, you have any option you could want at your disposal. Cash, loan, finance, part exchange, it’s all up to you! In fact, many dealships even have online or delivery options that help with this too, but this only adds to the uncertainty. Buy with caution.


Lastly, we have car auctions. These really are the luck of the draw. That’s the same with any auction, car or not. You may be able to get some kind of scheme to pay, but it’s doubtful. Here’s how to buy cars at auction if you need more information.

Cash is the best bet here, and again, you also have online options that you can use if you don’t want to attend in person. Be really careful with this one, and remember what car auctions are all about.

Ways to pay for your used car

Once you have chosen where you’re buying your car, you need to decide which of the payment options that are available is going to be the best fit. Everyone has their own situation to deal with after all, and you want to do what’s best for you.


One of the first routes a lot of people go down is buying a used car on a finance scheme. There are many different types. Two of the most popular are:


Hire purchase, or HP. This is where you pay a high monthly fee, but when you’re done, you’re done and the car is all yours. You don’t own the car until you do finish, but there’s no big cost at the end. You basically own the car when you’re finished renting it, and pay interest while you do. It costs a lot, but it has its perks.


Personal Contract Hire is a little different. This one means you are literally renting the car pretty much, but for pretty low costs per month. That sounds great, but when you finish, you don’t own the car. Instead, you have the option to buy it for a balloon payment, which is less than the car’s value. It can still be a hefty sum.

Personal Loan

After finance, a personal loan is often the next port of call for a lot of people looking to buy. It’s kind of the middle ground between all payment options, and for that reason, it can be one of the best ways to buy a used car. The whole point is that you’re borrowing the money for your car. The debt is on you, not the car. You own it outright and can sell it whenever you like. You’ll still pay monthly, but chances are, at a lower interest (if you borrow the right amount of money).

Part Exchange

The next stepping stone has to be part-exchange here since it can be partly another method and partly using your own capital too. The whole idea of part exchange is that you’re trading in your old car for money off your new one. The rest of the money can come from wherever you like! It can be really quick and efficient but may not be the most cost-effective (here are the ins and outs).


The last of the most common ways to buy a used car is cash. There’s not much to be said here. However you get it, you pay what the car is worth. You have a lot more bargaining power so you may get a better price, and you have nothing to hold over you when you’ve done it. The literal only risk is if you bought cash and private, you may get stung by a hidden issue. That can always happen, but once you’ve paid cash, you’ve paid. You have rights, but they’re hard to enforce (here’s more).

Whatever you do, take care of your car, and make sure it’s all above board! You’re still buying the risks that come along with a used car after all, and you need to deal with those if they turn into anything bigger.

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