best-car-deal-ford-fiesta-featured-imageFord has been Britain's most popular motoring brand for over 30 years, so finding a used model is a piece of cake. A company fleet favourite with a solid reputation for safety and quality - Warranty Direct put them in their Top 10 for engine reliability, ahead of Audi, BMW and Volkswagen - a used Ford is an obvious choice for second hand buyers.

All the same, there will always be good and bad examples when you buy used. Here are the five most important things to consider before you hand over your hard-earned cash:

  • Research is everything
    Finding the car you want is easy online. Simon Palmer from The Hendy Group suggests: "The best tip for buying a car, I think, is research. Nowadays it's so easy for a buyer to research what they're looking for. Get your shortlist down to maybe two or three cars and then visit the dealerships to look at those particular cars. If you're not an expert, take somebody with you who can show you what to look for."
  • Try before you Buy
    Always give your car a thorough check. Mis-matching panelling or gaps between panels, various different paint colours can both be signs that the car might have been involved in an accident. An obvious tip, but one which should never be ignored is simply, go for a test drive. Do any warning lights stay on? Listen carefully, is the engine or brakes making strange sounds? How responsive are the breaks? Can you feel vibrations through the steering wheel and is it pulling to one side?
  • Go to a registered, reputable dealer
    Buying from a reputable, registered dealers will ensure that you will be covered by The Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) this will guarantee your car is: 1. As described in the advert, 2. Of satisfactory quality without flaws which have not been previously discussed and 3. Fit for purpose. If you believe that the car does not meet the criteria set out then you could be entitiled to a full refund and maybe compensation for extra costs.
  • Look into the car's history
    Reading carefully over all the paperwork is an important step, these include: MOT certificates, and service history, the registration documents and all the handbooks. This should be able to tell you if the mileage is accurate, the past history on the car, if the car still has finance owed on it and whether or not the vehicle has been ever been involved in an accident or has been stolen. There are plenty of tools which can help you look further into the history of a vehicle, you can do a number of checks at and also use the AA, HPIcheck or the RAC to do a background check.
  • Timing can be key
    According to Jonathan Allbones of The Car People, "The best time to buy a used car is at the end of the year. You've got a lot of cars that have come off fleets, as well as part exchanges that came into the market in September and October and are still unsold. You have a lot of cars and very few customers, so prices are at their lowest."