Sales of used cars are booming, but if you’re considering buying one, think about how you will cover repair costs if something goes wrong.
Used car sales in Great Britain increased by 7pc year on year in the last three months of 2015, according to credit reference agency Experian.
Around 1.63m cars were sold between October and December last, and of these, 292,610 were between three and six years old, while 257,854 were in the six to nine-year age range.
Andrew Ballard, head of automotive at Experian, said: "New car registrations have been buoyant for the last four years so it is natural to now see this reflected in used car sales. Vehicles which were sold as new cars in the years since 2012 are coming back to motor traders as used cars within the typical change cycle.”
The Ford Fiesta was the most popular up to six years old, while the Vauxhall Corsa was the most commonly sold car between six and nine years old. Buyers purchasing cars over nine years old favoured the Ford Focus over any other model.
Even used cars that have high mileages can still appeal to buyers. Car-price guide specialist Glass’s Guide says that cars with ‘starship mileages’ – those which have covered 150,000 or more miles – don’t put off buyers provided they are prestige vehicles in good condition.
Rupert Pontin, head of valuations at Glass’s Guide, said: “It’s a cost effective way of getting behind the wheel of a nice car that will impress the neighbours.
“Buyers are waking up to the fact that these vehicles represent something of a bargain and we are seeing an increase in demand. There are also a number of specialist dealers that specifically supply this sector.”
According to Pontin, a high-level Mercedes- Benz, BMW, Audi or Jaguar that has covered 100,000- 150,000 miles at five to eight years old is probably worth at least 10pc less than identical models that have only done an average of 10,000 miles per year.
He said: “However, if it has been properly maintained, the starship car probably looks every bit as good and, thanks to good build quality, is probably not much less reliable or much more expensive to run.
“If you make the basic checks on condition and ensure that they have a comprehensive service history, these vehicles can make an excellent buy. They are potentially no more than half way through their lives.”
Pontin added that what tended to drive older cars of this type off the road was not the fact that they were no longer viable vehicles, but that the repairs needed to keep them going were no longer economically sustainable.
Protecting your second-hand car from high repair bills
If you are thinking about buying a used car and want to protect yourself against potentially expensive repair bills, it may be worth considering an extended warranty if the manufacturer’s warranty has already expired.
Compare extended car warranty policies
Don’t just go for the first policy you find though, as cover limits can vary widely depending on which provider you go to. Ideally, you should ensure you are covered for the replacement cost of your car, or a minimum of £5,000. Any policy should cover parts that fail as a result of wear and tear.
Check the reliability of the car model
It’s also a good idea to check how reliable any make of used car you are considering buying is. That way you can get insight into the most reliable car manufacturers, with figures based on the number of times a car fails and its top fault areas.
According to the site, Honda, Suzuki and Toyota are the most reliable manufacturers, followed by Chevrolet, Ford, Skoda, Peugeot and Fiat. The worst cars in terms of reliability are the Audi RS6, the BMW M5 and the Nissan GT-R.
Get a quote for an extended car warranty or call Telegraph Warranty Services on 0800 454 0508.