What are the important key things you should know before buying a used car?

buying a used car

Purchasing a used car might help you save a lot of money. And if you enjoy negotiating and cutting down the prices, that can be better than getting yourself a bargain. However, there are dangers, and they may come back to harm you. Here is the list of the documents you should review and double-check before paying.

Are second-hand cars worth it?

In recent times, you can see the hike in the used car market due to the demand for semiconductors, reducing the new car registrations. Also, Electric vehicles come into play as their sales are quite improving than the last year.

In a typical year, millions of second-hand cars are sold. And the fact that you have so many options is probably the best reason to buy a used car. Another significant advantage is that you avoid the financial hit of depreciation – a new car’s value is wiped out as soon it leaves the showroom. After three years, few new cars are worth more than half their purchase price, and many have lost up to two-thirds of the value.

Buying a used car from a dealer or private:

Buying from a dealer gives you specific legal rights, and you can buy the vehicle based on your requirement.

How can you be sure that a car purchased from a private seller is dependable, has not been in any accidents, and is mechanically sound? There is no guarantee that you will find everything unless you spend a significant amount of time and money researching the car’s past life. Few dealers offer used cars with its hidden history to make your purchase at ease.

If you buy privately, we recommend that you be responsible for identifying all of the potential issues. While the seller is not required to provide much information, it is up to you to ask the appropriate questions. However, if it is a dealer or private seller, you should carry out the vehicle check report by yourself.

Buying a used car checklist:


Here are the essential seven checklists you should inspect before buying a used car.

  1.  Engine – Examine the oil level, leaks, the condition of the head gasket, and the exhaust system.
  2.  Gearbox and clutch – The smoothness of the gear changes, and test the clutch’s biting point.
  3.  Bodywork – Examine the vehicle for scratches, rust, and flaws in the paintwork.
  4. Wheels and tyres – Tread depth, rubber condition, and tyre manufacturer are all factors to consider.
  5.  Interior – Evaluate the boot, dash, and electronics for mileage and warning lights.
  6.  Test drive – Drive the car until you have finalized all of your inspections. Kindly take your time with this.
  7.  Finance and previous history – Check the car’s history to ensure that all finance is paid off, the vehicle hasn’t been in any accidents, and the MOT history is clear.

Five Important documents need to check for buying a used car:

V5C (registration document):

The most important thing is to check the registration document and logbook(V5C). The V5C file contains information about the vehicle and the person who owns it. You need to check a few things here that The V5C has to be watermarked with ‘DVLA’ from top to bottom.

MOT certificate:

Every vehicle above the age of three years must pass an MOT and have a current test certificate. GOV.UK allows you to look up a vehicle’s MOT history. Check the certificate’s expiration date. Also, if the mechanic has left any advice notes, it’s a good idea to read them. These are issues that would not have prevented the car from passing its MOT, but they must be addressed.

It’s important to be aware of these in order to avoid any costly surprises a few months down the road.

Car history check and service:

When buying a used car, a full-service history is always a positive sign. You want to know that your new car has been properly cared for. And a service book is an easy way to find out. This one will set you back a little, but a thorough car history check could save you a lot of time and money in the long run. It will inform you that:

  • Outstanding finance
  • Write off and damage history
  • Tax status
  • MOT status
  • Yearly fuel and tax cost
  • Valuation and mileage recorded
  • Stolen, export and import check

You can check all the above information from the leading vehicle history check service.

Buying a write-off car:

When an insurance company determines that a car has been severely damaged, it is cheaper to declare it a total loss than repair it.When a car is beyond repair, it is frequently declared a write-off by insurance companies. It’s typically less expensive for them to do this than it is to get the car back on the road. Based on the severity of the damage, each write-off is assigned to a category. They’re labelled as:

  • Category A: Only scrapped vehicles
  • Category B: Should never be driven again, though salvaged parts may be used.
  • Category S: The vehicle has sustained structural damage and must be repaired by a specialist before it may be driven again.
  • Category N: The vehicle has received non-structural damage and can be driven again without having to re-register with the DVLA.

It is advisable to buy a write-off cars which are classified under Cat S and Cat N and strictly avoid buying a Cat A or Cat B vehicles.

Avoid purchasing a cloned car:

Car cloning is done by altering the number plates or changing the VIN and create fake documentation showing the vehicle is issue-free. So, you need to know the car is being cloned or has any adverse history where the seller tries to hide it. Hence, inspect the vehicle’s VRM and VIN matches or is there any discrepancy through the online total vehicle check report.

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