4 top tips to save money buying a used car in 2020

Let’s be honest - cost is one of the single biggest factors involved in choosing a used or salvage car, whether you’re a private buyer looking for a personal vehicle, or a mechanic looking to fix one up and sell it on for profit. So now that we’re into a new year, you may already be weighing up your strategy for how to nab yourself a bargain in 2020. Well, as experts at online car auctions ourselves here at RAW2K, we’ve got quite a bit of experience in this area - so we’ve got a couple of tips for you that should really help your money go that extra mile!

Timing is everything

Lots of first-time buyers (and even experienced drivers) can sometimes miss the fact that car sales trends are seasonal. For examples, you’ll see more nippy convertibles gracing our streets in the summer, while the more heavy-duty SUVs tend to fare better during the winter. That means that sales of convertibles tend to be naturally higher during the summer, while in the winter SUVs tend to be more heavily favoured as people are on the lookout for sturdy cars that can handle the winter weather. So what does all this mean for you? Well essentially, if you manage to pre-empt those trends, you can save yourself potentially hundreds on your car. Convertibles are less in-demand during the winter, just as SUVs are less in-demand during the summer, so tend to go for lower prices. These rules can often hold true for online car auctions too, so be on the lookout for deals at these times. The end of quarterly sales periods are also another good time to look - that means the closing days of March, June, September and December. January is also an excellent time to buy, as most people tend to be recovering financially from Christmas, making sellers even more keen to shift their cars.

Take the time to research

We can’t stress this one enough. In fact, it’s probably one of the most important rules for buying any car, salvage or otherwise. After all, they’re one of the single biggest purchases that most of us will make in our lifetimes, so it makes sense to take things slow, get prepared well in advance, and carefully consider what you’re buying. This is and always has been primarily the buyer’s responsibility - if the seller doesn’t volunteer certain information, it’s up to you to get it out of them. If they don’t have that information (or refuse to give it), then again it’s up to you. This is such a universally accepted rule that it’s even written into the contracts of most auction houses. As a bare minimum, you’ll want to get the car’s history and find out about any repairs it’s had, or any work done on it. This is also the point to find out if it’s missing any paperwork or documentation, or if there are any gaps in its history. We’ve taken steps to make that process a little easier with our own listings here at RAW2K, which detail the general condition of the car, the date of its latest MOT (if known) and whether or not it has any insurance. Those are just a few examples!

Consider how climate affects your car

We’re not just talking about how it’ll perform in inclement weather - specifically, we’re focusing here on emissions tests. Buyers of the most polluting cars pay the most tax, and with the current climate emergency, these rules are likely to only get tighter. That’s not likely to make a triple-figure difference to your purchase, but if you’re looking to save money in the long term, it’s worth considering that it could add maybe a few hundred pounds to the cost of the car over its entire lifetime. Meanwhile, if you’re lucky enough to spot a hybrid car, their eco-friendly nature means that they’re completely exempt.

Where will you be driving?

The way you drive your car, and the area in which you drive it, often makes a tangible difference to its performance and value. If you’re planning on using your car for short city trips for example, it doesn’t make the most economic sense to get a hulking four by four, since it will be spending a lot of its operational life sitting in traffic, burning fuel with a larger engine. On the other hand, if you’re getting a smaller car for regular cross-country journeys, be aware that a smaller engine will have to work harder to achieve and maintain higher speeds over long distances, which will impact its overall efficiency. Most people will be somewhere in between, but these factors are still worth bearing in mind! And of course, another great way to save money is to choose your car from our stock right here at RAW2K. Our auctions refresh on a daily and weekly basis, so you’ve always got a great chance of finding a bargain here on our site. We’ve got models from a range of leading global manufacturers, including Audi, BMW and Mercedes. Why not take a look around our site, and see what you can find?