Home Automobiles The top 3 things to check when buying a used car

The top 3 things to check when buying a used car

The top 3 things to check when buying a used car
Image by Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay

Buying a used car can be far more economical than buying a new one. It can also give you the opportunity to buy what you really want without compromising because of cost. 

Plus, if you’re after the cheapest car insurance quotes, buying a used car can also help you, as the car’s value is lower than a brand-new version of the same make and model. But if you’ve never bought a second-hand car from a private seller and want to know more, here are the top three things you should check before you hand over your money for a used car. 

1) Official documents, including the V5C

Always ensure the car you buy comes with its V5C registration form, also known as the vehicle logbook. The V5C contains vital information about the car and includes details such as the car make, model, and color, vehicle identification number (VIN), and registered keeper. 

This is important as you’ll need the V5C to tax the car. The seller can order a replacement from the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) if there isn’t one. 

If the car is over three years old, it should also have a valid MOT certificate to prove it’s roadworthy. You can check this at GOV.UK. 

2) Safety and signs of damage

If you can, arrange to see the car during the day rather than in the evening. Good lighting will help you spot any signs of heavy repair work, including uneven paint finishes or gaps in paintwork or panels. 

Daylight also means you can check tire tread depth which should ideally be between 2 mm and 3 mm. Anything less than this means you’re likely to change tires sooner rather than later (a full set can be expensive). 

Make sure seat belts are not frayed, and you can buckle up without resistance or drag on the belt. All the lights should work inside and out, and check that wipers leave the windscreen clear and smear-free on the car. 

It’s also wise to double-check the mileage is consistent with what you’d expect for a used car of its age and condition. You can look back at previous MOT certificates, which record the mileage at the time of the test. You should notice that the mileage has increased consistently over the years. 

3) Road handling  

It’s always worth taking the car out for a test drive to see how it handles and to ensure you feel comfortable behind the wheel. 

Listen for any squeaking when you brake, as this could be a sign of wear, and that brake pads or discs need to be replaced. If you’re driving a manual car, you should be able to transition through gears smoothly without any grinding noises or sticking. 

Try out each of the car’s features, from the radio to Bluetooth connectivity, sat nav to the heating and air conditioning. These should all be in working order unless it’s been declared otherwise. 

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to walk away from the sale if the car doesn’t feel right for you. Remember, you’re not obligated to buy the car, even if you’ve taken it for a test drive. 

Don’t forget to arrange car insurance before you drive away.

If you decide to buy a car, you must arrange suitable car insurance before driving it away. You can be fined £300 and given six penalty points if you don’t have insurance. If you’re taken to court, you could be given an unlimited fine and even be disqualified from driving. 

You can opt for temporary cover if you don’t have time to search for or compare annual car insurance policies. Short-term policies are typically very flexible and last from a day up to several weeks or months. This should give you ample time to find a policy at a later date. 

You can start your search for temporary or annual car coverage at comparison sites like mustard.co.uk. Alternatively, you can speak to an expert about all your car insurance needs on 0330 022 8825.

Featured Image by Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay