What about nearly new or used?
There are of course downsides to buying a brand new car in retirement. In particular, you’ll pay a hefty premium for a new car and depreciation starts as soon as you drive it off the dealer’s forecourt. With that in mind, let’s look at the alternative: buying a nearly new or used car.
Nearly new cars
You may prefer to opt for a nearly new car. You can slash the purchase cost compared to a new car, and avoid huge depreciation. Buying nearly new also means you can still benefit from much of the latest performance and features of a new car.
When you see nearly new cars advertised, you might notice that they typically have fewer than 30,000 miles on the clock. That’s because when a brand new car is bought on a finance plan, the driver is restricted to a maximum mileage per year. Although some ‘company car’ drivers will put in huge mileage each year, private motorists generally stick to these mileage limitations.
Another benefit of a nearly new car is that it may still be covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty. Look into this carefully though, as there may be some limitations or exclusions.
Older used cars
There’s nothing wrong with buying a used car in retirement. It just means there are a few additional things to consider, especially when it comes to safety and reliability.
Start by checking out the car’s history with the free online vehicle enquiry service from the DVLA. This tells you the car’s model, year of first registration, colour and engine size. Any discrepancy between this information and the seller’s description should set alarm bells ringing.
Another useful free service is the DVLA’s MOT history check service. This records all the vehicle’s MOTs since 2005, or from 2017 in Northern Ireland. The test shows the recorded mileage at each test, whether it passed or failed, the reasons for failures, and whether there were any ‘advisories’ for minor problems.
For a more detailed report on a car’s history, you can use a paid-for service that includes checks on whether the car has been stolen or written off, and whether there is outstanding finance on it. MotorCheck, and CarVeto are just two of many companies that provide this service online.
If all these online checks look good, and your initial look at the car goes well, you may wish to book a physical inspection from a mechanic. Companies such as the AA, the RAC and ClickMechanic will give the vehicle an inspection. Another option is to ask a trusted local garage to carry out an inspection, perhaps at their premises with the car on a vehicle lift for a thorough inspection of the underside.