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Auto Trader: The best place to find a car

When searching for a used car to buy, if you only look in one place, Auto Trader should be it. But I am not talking about the old paper-based magazine (that’s yesterday’s news), I am referring to their massive website:

They have by far the biggest selection of used car adverts in the UK (typically, over 300,000 cars), and in most situations, if you see a car advertised on another website, you will probably find it on Autotrader too.

So, here are my top tips to help you get the most out of

1) BE DETAILED IN YOUR SEARCH – On the left side of the website homepage is a search box; however I always recommend clicking the “More search options” link as it will take you to a page that allows you to select lots and lots of other details on the car.

2) BUT… BE CREATIVE – Some adverts have incorrect information listed. With this in mind, if you cannot find many of the type of car you want, try widening your search a little. (I once got £2,200 off a Vauxhall Zafira because the dealer had mistakenly listed it as a manual, when it was actually a rare Easytronic Automatic, but most people hadn’t noticed so it had not sold.)

3) WATCH OUT FOR DODGY ADVERTS – There are a few scammers around. If an advert does not have a working telephone number or states that contact should be made by email rather than phone, leave it well alone!

4) TELESAFE NUMBERS – Any number that starts 070xx is a ‘Telesafe’ number which masks the true telephone number of the seller, but can cost up to 37.5p a minute. However, hidden behind these numbers are often very genuine private sellers.

Be careful though, it is easy to get distracted – just select “Ferrari” and see how long it takes you to wake out of your daydream…

Happy hunting!

Ashley Winston
(Founder & Owner)

At Palmdale we specialise in taking all the hassle out of the car buying process:


  • YOU tell us exactly what car you want
  • WE search for every available car in the UK that meets your description
  • WE negotiate with the seller
  • WE make sure that the car is perfect
  • WE collect the car and bring it to your door
  • YOU enjoy your new wheels for many years to come

These newsletters are our attempt to teach you everything we know about car buying; however, if you would like us to find and buy your next car for you, all you have to do is ask!