5 different ways of buying a used car in Manchester

A McLaren supercar on police patrol in Dubai
A McLaren supercar on police patrol in Dubai

Currently Manchester has the fewest cars per head of population than any other UK City (outside of London) due to its extensive public transport system. However, despite the need for Government to encourage people away from cars, it appears that the tide is starting to turn in favour of vehicles again; mainly due to the constant price increases on trains, trams and buses.

Second hand cars are becoming increasingly popular in urban environments as people become less precious about their motors and use them more for the kids drop offs, weekly shops and the best way of getting out of the city for weekend breaks with the family.  For many urban dwellers who use on street parking, why would you opt for a brand new car?

So where are the best places to get your next reliable work horse? We’ve lined up the five best places to buy a used car in Manchester.

Hertz Rent2Buy

Hertz have come up with a cracking scheme to buy their ex hire cars and it’s so easy to use.  With used car sales on Hertz Rent2Buy, you choose the car you are interested in online, you can then collect the keys from a Hertz branch and take the car for an extended test drive, up to 5 days.  If/when you decide to buy the car you don’t need to return it Hertz, just send you all the necessary paperwork.

The selection of cars is vast and the low mileage on most of them is amazing.

The major perk to buying an ex rental is the full maintenance history. Many rental agencies, especially the reputable ones like Hertz, have strict policies about oil changes, annual services and other maintenance issues. In fact, Hertz service vehicles more often than private owners do.

Some large locations even have on-site mechanics to perform services on vehicles. If you are nervous about purchasing a used car, Hertz could be the way forward for you. It’s the peace of mind from buying from a dealership but with the speed, service and selection of a rental company.

Ex police vehicles

If you want to save big money you could consider buying a police car. By the time a police force disposes of its vehicles, virtually all traces of its blue-light history will have been eradicated.  You won’t get the local community hoodie running in the opposite direction every time you pull into your local supermarket (although that could be a plus for keeping the florescent stripes).

Police cars can be picked up at specialist auctions. Due to the sheer volume, some auction houses hold two auctions each month.

The advantages of police purchases are that most of the vehicles are driven by highly trained professional drivers and are well serviced.  On the downside, you might want to consider the mechanical sympathy of the drivers, so opt for the PCO panda cars, rather than anything that might be used for police chases.


Autotrader could be considered the serious site for car sales. People have paid to advertise their vehicles so a level of trust has already been established.  Before the likes of eBay and other online sites Autotrader was the go to destination for your vehicle, and even now it still manages over 10 million transactions per year with over 7 million of them on a used vehicles.

The selection of vehicles is undeniable but their stock could be the same as those found on Gumtree and Facebook so you need to make sure, as with most used car purchases, that you have done your homework. Keep a copy of any descriptions and photos because as a private buyer you are protected under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 if the reality of the used vehicle doesn’t match the sellers rather imaginative description.

Facebook marketplace

A relatively new concept to Facebook, but one going from strength to strength. It is free to post your advert and very simple to upload and get your vehicle live.  The beauty is how local you can make the search. Potential purchasers can make the search from two miles to the entire country.

You can communicate with the seller directly and as instantly as Facebook Messenger will allow.  You can search filters to find a ride with a specific type, make, model, mileage, or transmission.  It’s proving very successful for individuals and dealerships alike.


As with Facebook there is the same trepidation as online dating. Make sure you arrange to meet the owner somewhere safe, a public place, and inform someone where you are going.

You can get some real bargains on Gumtree but you must be prepared to put the leg work in yourself.  Ask lots of questions of the seller; the more you ask the more you will know.

You need to see logbooks and obtain as much service history as possible. You can even  get a vehicle background check from the DVLA.  I wouldn’t recommend getting in the car with a stranger with a wad of cash.  Either bank transfer or PayPal seem like perfectly reasonable methods of payments to me.

Gumtree is popular with students which might give you an indication to the type of vehicles sold; little run-arounds that don’t cost a packet, but would be perfect for nipping round the Northern Quarter of Manchester.


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