In this economic climate (how many times has that phrase been used), those looking to invest in a new vehicle are often tempted to find a cheaper, used alternative to the extensive range of shiny new models that sit glumly on the dealership forecourt. There’s nothing wrong with this; if anything, the price and speed at which new cars depreciate is often such a turn-off that many buyers are perfectly justified in searching for a new car in the second-hand section.

However, even if you can’t afford the price tag of 2017 nissan maxima or any other new car, there are options available that will allow you to own the car without forking out the cash up front. Specialist car credit providers can arrange a finance package to suit your needs, even if you have a poor credit history. If you’re still convinced a used car is for you, there are a few tell-tale signs that should make you stop, close your wallet, and walk swiftly away. Read on prospective buyer!

  1.    No Service History

All cars will require some sort of work within the course of their lifetime. And cars with several years under their belt will have amassed a substantial amount of documentation detailing any work carried out and the service history of the vehicle. If the current owner/seller can’t supply any form of service history, be very wary. Enquire as to why, and, even if you believe their excuse, conduct a thorough examination of the vehicle prior to handing over a penny. Take the car for a test drive but be sure to start it cold; does it rattle, splutter or emit any fumes? It doesn’t matter how much the owner swears on his grandmother’s life that he’s kept it in the very best nick; be ruthless and always assume the worst.

  1.    Different Tyres

Tyres should – if the car is driven properly – all wear out at similar rates. The rule is fairly simple: if one tyre needs replacing, odds are the others will too (or least the front/rear counterpart if not the whole lot). With this in mind, each tyre should match, and all four should have similar wear and tear. Be very cautious of cars with different tyres; it could be a sign of an accident, careless driving (which may have caused further problems), or a cheap alternative – steer clear of bargain brand imported tyres; they won’t last, are unsafe, and will cost you a great deal to replace.

  1.    Night Time/Secluded Car Viewing

If a seller requests you come to view the car in the evening, there’s a chance that they may have something to hide. Anyone trying to sell a car should be willing to cater for your requirements – after all, you have the money – and should be happy to arrange a day-time viewing. If they make excuses as to why this isn’t possible, walk away. In poor light it’s difficult to conduct a proper examination of the car, and the seller probably knows this. Similarly, for obvious reasons, ask to view the car in a public place – basically, don’t meet in the woods at midnight with a suitcase full of cash and you’ll probably be alright.

If a bargain sounds too good to be true, guess what – it probably is. Be cautious and use your common sense and you’ll soon find yourself the proud new owner of a used car. Although they may seem cheaper, second-hand cars can be expensive to service, fuel and maintain, so it’s always worth browsing the new section as well.