There are countless hints and tips about buying a used car. Research the model, check the history, haggle hard - the list is endless.
Who you buy from can also have a big impact. A dealer will always be pricier, but after-sales support is stronger. The real bargains are with private sellers and at auction, but you've got less to fall back on if there's a problem.
So you know what to look for, and you know who to buy from - but do you know where? Most buyers will source their car as locally as possible for maximum convenience, but that could cost you extra.
A study by classified site revealed the top ten UK towns and cities where second-hand car prices have dropped the most year-on-year.
Anyone after a used car in the North West of the country should get themselves to Leeds or Manchester, where average prices dropped by a huge 47- and 12.94 percent respectively.
Punters in the Midlands and the South West have it next best, as values in Coventry fell by 21 percent and Birmingham's prices dropped by 17.29 percent. Buyers in Bath now pay 15.12 percent less than they did last year, while cars in Exeter now cost 6.55 percent less.
Check out the full list of results below:
Town/City Average car price Value drop (year-on-year) Leeds: £1,739 -47% Glasgow: £1,877 -23% Coventry: £1,817 -21% Ipswich: £1,718 -19% Birmingham: £1,923 -17.29% Bath: £1,893 -15.12% Manchester: £2,253 -12.94% Brighton: £1,689 -10.38% Middlesborough: £1,487 -7.11% Exeter: £2,049 -6.55%
Location, location, location Before you hot foot it to Leeds in search of a bargain, remember that you'll quickly negate any saving by racking up hefty travel costs. Fuel and train fares are not cheap, so the best thing to do is pick the town that's closest to you and start searching for bargains there.
There are other ways of slashing your overheads, though. Our guide below reveals how to search for a used car at minimal cost to you.
It's possible to buy a car without even seeing it in the metal. Sites like and allow you to browse their stock online, pay for the car and arrange for delivery. It isn't free, but each site allows you to calculate the cost of delivery before you buy. Both firms have plenty of pictures of each model and they're known for good customer service, so there's no need to worry about not seeing the car beforehand.
These companies buy their cars from fleets and former business car users. These would normally be sold at auction, bought by dealers and then put on a forecourt - so they'd pick up extra costs on the way, which are added to the asking price. Autoquake and Carsite buy directly from fleets to keep their overheads - and prices - lower than average.
Avoid window shopping
Repeatedly turning up at forecourts in the hope of finding your perfect set of wheels can be a waste of time and money. You're better off making a list of the qualities you want from a car then whittling down the contenders from there. Researching the particular models from Yahoo! Cars' backlog of road tests and features will help, too.
Work the dealers
Buying from a dealership? Feel free to play one off against the other. Check out similar cars from local dealers - most will advertise their stock online on sites like Auto Trader and Pistonheads, so you can browse without leaving home.
If you've found two or more similar cars that you like then contact or visit each dealer and ask them for their best price. As long as both cars have about the same amount of equipment and they're in good condition, the cheaper option is a no-brainer. Still not satisfied? Tell one dealer that you've found another car for less down the road. They might just sweeten the deal.
Good service is worth paying for
Don't be afraid to go further for good service. Yes, we've just told you to avoid travelling and save money where possible, but that's more relevant to those who haven't made their mind up about what car they want or where to buy.
If you've received good service before and/or you're confident that you'll find the car you want at the right price from a reputable seller, then there's no reason not to travel a little further to get there. The lack of hassle and the ownership experience will be worth it.