Things To Look Out For When Buying A Used Car

When buying a used car it is so easy to get ripped off and have to pay for the consequences through a series of repairs and in worst case scenarios breakdowns. In order to help you avoid this, we have created a list of all of the things to consider when purchasing a used car.

This is especially important unless you are buying a used car from a dealer you are unlikely to receive any form of warranty or coverage on the car. This means that should anything go wrong, it will be up to you to foot the bill to repair it. Therefore it is imperative that you know everything is okay before paying and driving away.

Things to Look Out in Buying a Used Car


This is the single most important part of the car so it is important to make sure it is in good working order:

  • Check the oil level: It should be just beneath the max oil level, if it is too low it may well be a sign of neglect. Also check all other fluid levels to ensure they are where they should be.
  • Are there strange noises when the engine starts up?
  • Do any warning lights remain lit on the dashboard?
  • Has the cambelt been replaced recently? If not is it due to be done soon? If it is due to be done then it may be worth requesting a reduction in the price as this is an extensive job.
  • Check that the car’s VIN number under the bonnet and the one in the logbook match.
  • Check under the oil cap for a white mayonnaise like residue, as this is an indicator that the head gasket has gone. If this is the case it means the car needs a new engine.
  • Look for any signs of rust or leakage around the engine bay- these are often expensive to fix.

Exterior/Interior Checks:

  • Check the mileage is consistent with the past MOT records.
  • Ensure the tyres are above the legal minimum tread depth of 1.6mm and that the spare tyre is in good working order.
  • Try out all of the internal features to ensure correct functioning- seats, windows, radio etc.
  • Check for any inconsistent gaps between panels, as this is an indication of repair work following a crash.
  • Make sure doors, boot and bonnet all close properly, as inconsistencies here is an indication that the car has been in a crash.
  • Are locking wheel nuts fitted on the vehicle, and if so ensure that the special adaptor is included.

The Paperwork:

  • Check that the seller is the registered owner as demonstrated by the V5. If not, enquire as to why they are selling the car on someone else’s behalf.
  • Make sure you can see the V5C. This is important as you cannot tax the car without it. Additionally, this enables you to check that the car’s registration matches.
  • If the car is over three years old, ask to see all of the servicing records and MOT certificates, ensure that the mileage is consistent with these.
  • Get a full service history, if this is not available ask why.

If you still have doubts or questions on buying a used car, feel free to contact us! You can also check our high quality services for future reference!