When your old, four-wheeled reliable finally gives up and stops working, a decision has to be made; do you go for a new or used car?  The choice can be tough as often the advantages and disadvantages weigh each other out.  Buying a new car is pretty straight forward; you just go to a dealership and make the purchase.  Being covered by warranty and guarantees gives you piece of mind in case anything goes wrong.  However, buying a used car is a different story.  It can be difficult to trust someone selling you a new car for fear that it has dodgy suspension, or the engine will explode when you drive it more than 200 metres.  Follow these top tips on how you can spot a good second-hand car, and which ones to steer clear of.


Obviously the main factor enticing you to buy a used car is the cheaper price.  You may see one of your favourite cars on sale for a mere €1,000 and think that it’s a bargain.  Be wary; low prices can often mean a lot of work needs to be done to the car, or perhaps the car is irreparable.  When facing a low-priced car, be on your toes and don’t be fooled by the seller’s attempt at fobbing it off as needing a simple paint job.


Your first contact with the seller of the used car should ideally be by phone.  An e-mail will give them time to think of a good excuse as to why they’re selling it, but if you catch them on the spot they may be more inclined to stumble over their own lies.  Ask the seller questions that you already know the answer to from the advert.  If they give different answers, it’s probably best to steer clear of them.  Take down everything that they say, as you can use this later as back-up if you go to see the car in person.

Car’s History

Next you should do a car history check.  Look at reviews online for the particular car model and see if there have been overwhelming problems with it.  Obviously there will be a few Moaning Michaels who aren’t happy with anything, but if the general consensus is that these cars are good and reliable, it’s a good sign.  For example, a new or used Audi would usually get rave reviews.  Don’t be deterred if there are one or two bad reviews.

Specific Car

Once you have the car registration and mileage (this should be disclosed by the seller; if not, be sure to ask him/her for it) you can go onto various car check websites and enter these details in.  Upon entering the registration, you will be given a brief description of the car.  If it is the correct car, you can then pay a fee to see the full car history such as how many owners it has had, how often it is sold etc.  A sign of a bad car can be if the car has been sold on after a month or two on numerous occasions.

Hopefully with these helpful tips you can now buy a healthy, working used car.

At AAMCO Colorado, we love older vehicles as much as you do. But we also want your vehicle to drive in a safe and properly operating condition.  If you live in  Colorado, and need a Transmission Service,  Radiator RepairBrake Repair,  or any other Auto Repair, please contact your local AAMCO Colorado Location to schedule an appointment.

Written by Joe Duffy, who recommends Joe Duffy Motors for new and used Audis.