Top tips on how to buy a used car

Used car buying tips UK

If you are in the market for a used car in the UK, it’s important that you do your research. Make a list of things to check before you book your test drive.

Top 10 tips on buying a used car in the UK.

    • Check for recalls Ask for references and check that the lender’s references are recent.

    • Check MOT history available for free here..

    • Check the VIN number on the vehicle matches the VIN number printed on the V5 log book.

    • Search online for feedback from the previous owner

    • Ask to see the HPI report or purchase one yourself

    • Mock up the car in the driveway or garage to make sure it fits

    • Go for a test drive

    • Request a vehicle inspection report

    • Review the contract to check whether the extra charges are included.

    • If the inspection reveals issues, ask the dealer to fix them before agreeing to buy the car.

What To Look For when buying a used car...

Make sure you check the history and open any service notes and check anything that looks suspicious. It is also worth taking note of how many previous owners the vehicle may have incurred.  Make sure that the MOT certificate on the car is up-to-date, as any outstanding repairs could fail and may invalidate the warranty. Check with the manufacturer or ‘Main Dealer’ if there are any outstanding recalls on the vehicle that need attention. If you are buying from a private seller, you can use Autotrader to make sure the vehicle has been registered by the DVLA. You can also make sure the car is fully roadworthy by asking the seller to provide a test drive on a public road.

What To Ask

The sales assistant will usually be able to answer most of the questions you have about your car’s history. However, here are some questions that are often overlooked:

1. Does the car have any issues with its bodywork?

2. Is there rust?

3. Are there any known mechanical or electrical faults?

4. Is it reliable?

5. How long is the MOT?

What is an HPI report?

A hire-purchase investigation report (HPI) can help put your mind at rest when looking to purchase a second hand vehicle. It will inform you of any historical write off, finance, colour change or even mileage discrepancy that may not be immediately apparent from the advertisement. There are various websites that offer this service with a check costing anything from £8-£20, some dealerships will offer a copy for free when purchasing a car from them. 

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