Used Car

A Guide to Buying a Used Car

When you are looking to buy a used car, there are a few questions you should always ask the seller to make sure you are getting a good deal. There are some great bargains to be had out there, but how do you know if the car you are interested in is going to break down within 5 minutes of driving? You’ve had a good look at the car and everything looks ok, but are you really sure if the car is a good deal? To avoid being ripped off, make sure you ask the seller the following questions:

Overview – Have a good look over the car. Check for bumps, dents and signs of rust and make sure to point anything you find out to the seller. Check that all the locks work and the petrol cap fits correctly. Have a look at the engine and asked if it has been changed in any way. Check that the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the car matches the one on the Vehicle Registration Certificate.

Ownership – how many owners has the car had? Generally the less owners the better, and if you are buying from the original owner they will be able to tell you everything about the car’s history. Be wary if the owner is selling after having the car for a very short time – ask them why they are selling. Also, the type of owner can indicate how the car has been driven. Are you buying it from a woman or are you buying it from a 20 year old man?

Mileage – how many miles has the car done? Does it equate to roughly 10,000 – 12,000 per year? If it is much higher, be aware the engine will have suffered more wear and tear so try to haggle the price down.

Service History – Does the car have a full service history? Ask to see the Service book and check the records and make sure each service has been stamped by a garage.

Accidents – Has the car been involved in any accidents? You can check this by contacting the DVLA as they have records of every car in their database.

Reason for Sale РAre you buying from a private seller or a used car dealer? If it is a private sale, why is the owner selling? Ask them to be honest and admit any problems the car may have (e.g. oil leaks). Ask the seller if they have been happy with the car.

Extras – What extras does the car have? (Air conditioning, electric windows, CD player etc) Check that they all work.

Fuel Efficiency – Ask how many Miles per Gallon the car does. If you plan to drive the car over long distances you will want a car that is fuel efficient.

Test Drive – Always take the car out for a test run to see how it handles. A test drive is a good way to see if the car has any problems.

Price – How much are they asking for the car? Make sure you are paying a fair price – have a look on websites like Auto Trader to get an idea of what other sellers in your area are asking for the same car. Can you haggle the price down?

Whether you’re buying the car as your main family car, or a little run-around, you want to make sure the car you are buying is reliable and dependable, and that you are paying a fair price. If after inspecting the car you are still unsure about it, the AA provide a Vehicle Inspection service where, for a fee, they will undertake a full safety check of the car to give you peace of mind.

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