Wednesday 24 April 2024

Important checks when buying a used car

The used car market can be a great place to find a car for an affordable price and your money will go a lot further here, but you do need to know how to check over a vehicle to ensure that you are getting a good deal.

There are many damaged cars and unscrupulous sellers in the used car market, so it is important to know how to find the right car. This post will show you what the main checks are when buying a used car.

Where to buy

The used car market is huge and there are many places where you can buy a second-hand car. You could buy from a private seller and this is usually the cheapest option, but keep in mind that there are fewer rights, the vehicle will not have been tested and you also open yourself up to used car scams.

Generally, it is best to buy from a trusted used car dealership, a trader or an independent garage. This is because the vehicle will have been properly checked, you get more protection and you can also benefit from finance options at many places.

Once you have found a vehicle, these are a few of the main checks to conduct:

Exterior & interior

You should always carefully examine every inch of the car’s bodywork to look for dents, dings, scratches or paint damage. Keep in mind that some cosmetic damage is fine and to be expected (and could help to negotiate a lower price), but you do not want to buy something that is too banged up. You also want to check the interior, including the upholstery and interior electronics.


You should also examine the tyres carefully to assess their condition. You should look for cuts and bulges as well as check the tread depth – 1.6mm is the legal minimum, so you want well above this otherwise you will have to change the tyres before long (or you could again negotiate a lower price).

Under the hood

Checking under the hood is daunting because many people do not know what they are looking for. You will want to pop the hood and look for signs of fluid leaks, corrosion or damage to hoses and belts. If you do not feel confident, it is worth hiring a mechanic to give their assessment.

Test drive

You should always test drive a used car before making a decision and this is a good chance to check the overall condition and performance of the vehicle.

Check insurance quotes

It is also good practice to check car insurance quotes online before making a decision – car insurance is generally cheaper for used cars, but some older models might put the insurance cost up.

These are the main checks to perform that should help you to find your next car in the used car market.

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