Essential Checks Before Buying a User Car

Most used car transactions go through without a hitch. In general, the newer the car you buy, the less risk there is of having to pay for expensive repair work. But, sometimes, people can’t afford to purchase a car that’s only a year or two old.

Are you someone that prefers to buy cars that are five to ten years old? If so, it’s likely you might come across vehicles that aren’t shining examples of how cars should get looked after by their owners.

That’s why it is important to do plenty of checks before you hand over any money for a used car. Keep reading to learn about the most common checks you must do before you buy one.

Check the Paperwork

Let’s say that you’ve come across a used car for sale that you like. You want to make an offer for it. The first thing you should do is confirm that the vehicle comes with all the necessary paperwork.

In the United Kingdom, all cars must have a V5C document. In a nutshell, this is the British equivalent of the “title” that cars have across the water in the USA. Without these documents, you cannot sell a car to someone by law.

They are proof of ownership and are essential documents to keep. After all; you can’t sell a car you don’t legally own! It’s also important to scrutinise the documents themselves. Some unscrupulous sellers try to sell stolen cars with fake ownership paperwork.

Check that the documents have watermarks, no spelling mistakes and show the name and address of the person you are talking to. If you suspect fraud is getting committed, walk away and contact the police.

It doesn’t matter whether you are buying from a private seller. Or even a trusted dealer like Car Giant, always check the registration documents!

Although not mandatory, it also helps if the car you’re buying comes with a full service history. For some reason, many sellers “lose” their paperwork. In some cases, it’s possible to track down where the car may have got serviced in the past and request copies of paperwork.

VIN checks

While you got access to the paperwork, be sure to compare the written VIN with the one stamped on the car. The usual places you can find it on the car are by the windscreen and in the engine bay. Some cars also have the VIN stamped by the driver’s footwell or door pillar.

Be sure to do a HPI check and enter both the VIN and the car’s licence plate number details. That way, you can confirm the vehicle wasn’t stolen or written off by an insurance company in the past.

Mechanical checks

Once you have confirmed that the car isn’t dodgy, the next stage is to get some mechanical checks done before you hand over any money. If you’re spending five-figure sums on a used car, it always pays to get these checks done first.

They will flag up any significant problems with the car. And they can give you room for further negotiation on the price in case you need to do any repairs.