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Buying advice

Who would have thought that buying a car you've never seen from a seller you've never met would ever take off? Well it certainly has thanks to the internet, and now more and more of us are purchasing new and used cars online. But, how do you pick a winner and not a banger?

The following tips from the UK's premier car selling and buying website will show you what you should do when you shopping for a car online.

Preparation is the key

Before you start shopping, you first need to make two vital decisions: how much do you want to spend and what kind of car are you looking for? This is where the internet can really help. Several sites, including have buyer's guides that can help you compare one model to another within your budget. You can also read comprehensive reviews and ratings from leading car magazines and consumers who drive your potential future car every day.

As helpful as the internet is, there is one thing it can't offer, and that's first hand experience of how a particular model handles. So as soon as you know which car you are interested in, go down to your local dealer and take it for a test drive.

Know your price

Once you've selected the car you want, read all the reviews and taken your future car out for a test drive, it's time to research prices. If it's a used car you are thinking about buying, first check for the car's current value. You can do so by clicking on the link below:

Value my car

To determine the price you are willing to pay for your future car, you need to find out the minimum price being offered to private sellers on online sites, the maximum price from retail dealers and the going rate from an average of the prices asked in the classifieds.

What you also need to include in your budget for your new car is the cost of insurance. can search all leading insurers by filling in one simple form. Within minutes we can provide you with the cheapest quote for insurance. Search for quotes now by clicking on the link below:

Car insurance

Start searching

Looking for your new car online as opposed to the local newspaper, gives you the opportunity to search and compare prices for thousands of cars in your area and scanning multiple pictures can also help you to get an idea of the car's overall condition. is a great place to start your search. You can search using a range of different options, such as new or used car, private seller or dealer, price, engine size, automatic or manual and so on. All searches require your postcode, so that every listing returned includes the distance in miles from your location to the seller.

We recommend limiting your search to vehicles within 20 or 30 miles of your home. This way you can easily test-drive them and get them inspected by a mechanic you trust. Start searching for cars now by clicking on the link below:

Used cars for sale

The test drive

Once you've selected a potential vehicle to buy, a test-drive is a must! Try and arrange the test drive at the seller's home, this should give you a better feel for the car by visiting the seller's home and talking to their family. Also, never be swayed by shining looks: a quick valet and a new set of number plates will make any old banger catch the eye.

Insist on viewing the full service history from new to the most recent service and check that all the paperwork is in order. And, if it is more than a couple of years old pay for a full independent mechanical inspection.

Buying the car

Before money changes hands, make sure you're up to speed on the legal aspects of buying and selling by reading the AA's advice for private car sales, by visiting

Check its history can also help you get an independent car check. This checks the records to make sure the car hasn't been written off, stolen or has outstanding finance. To perform a check on any car simply click on the link below:

Car check

By arming yourself with used car knowledge and know-how, beginning with these tips above, you'll greatly minimise your risk of buying a vehicle that will be more of a costly headache than a joy ride.