Buying a used car is a sensible choice, in our opinion. Especially considering just how much a brand new vehicle depreciates as soon as it leaves the forecourt.
However, there are many things to consider before you take your new purchase home.
By making the below checks, you can make sure that the used car you are buying is not only realistically priced, but also fully roadworthy. After all, your safety is the number one priority.
Checking a Used Car’s Vital Signs is the First Step to Buying Success
However, there are other things to look out for as well, such as:
Do your research on the internet or by using auto magazines to work out the true market value for your potential purchase. Be aware of any problems that the dealer could be trying to hide that could affect the value of your new, used car.
The last thing you want to deal with with your new, used car is to discover it was written off or stolen in the past. To add to the problem, you might also be responsible for the debt of the car. Prevent this from happening by having the details checked for a small fee.
Ask the seller about the used cars MOT and servicing history. If they hesitate or are unable to answer, this is a probable indication that the vehicle was stolen. Above all else, have a vehicle history check. It can help you avoid big problems further down the line.
Make sure that your potential new, used car comes with an up to date V5C document, many of which have now been replaced by a new red coloured version which came about in 2020. Be wary of blue V5Cs as they should no longer be in circulation.
Successful test drive
Always test drive a new, used vehicle before committing to purchasing it. It’s surprising at just how many problems this can uncover. Just make sure you are insured to drive other cars with the owner’s permission.
Poor vehicle condition
In full daylight, have a good look over the car, keeping an eye out for scratches, dents and bumps. Look under the bonnet and underneath the vehicle for any rust and check the condition of the tyres, making sure the tread is legal, and the tyre walls are in good condition.
Presence of VIN
Check either the bottom of the windscreen, under the bonnet or the framework for a vehicle identification number. Check this with the one listed in the V5C document. It should match it perfectly.
Compare all locks on doors to make sure they are all original and haven’t been changed or swapped over. If they have, this could be a sign the vehicle has been broken into before. Other signs of forced entry can also explain this.
Parts welded together
Have a look behind carpets and trims, checking whether any sections are welded together which don’t look original. Having a full history check can also uncover similar problems and could even reveal if the car was written off or stolen.
Signs of clocking
If the mileage looks unusually low for the age or condition of the vehicle, the used car could have been ‘clocked’. This is when the mileage has been lowered to increase the value of the car.