Going for a used car is the best way to own a four wheeler at an affordable rate. It is a way of fulfilling your dream of buying a car when you cannot spare money for a brand new car. It is not only a nice feeling but also helps young drivers with less polished driving skills. However, if you could not purchase a vehicle in good working condition then you will end up spending much more on the maintenance cost of the vehicle.
According to the Office of Fair Trading, people in the UK spend £85 million per year on fixing a used or second hand car. That means you lose around £425 every year if you could not find a good used car. This way, the amount spent on fixing the vehicle will make a big hole in your pocket. Therefore, you should do some good research before buying a second hand vehicle.
Checklist to consider while you buy a used car:
Review the vehicle history: Ask all details from the owner of the car. Make a good history check to ensure that the car is not stolen, has outstanding finance or written-off previously. Check all the documents. Many vehicle history checking companies would offer car history checks at a cost of £20 and give you quite a lot of details. It will also show if the car is still under the loan agreement or not.
Find the market value of the car: You can find this online or contact a car dealer to find the actual market price of the car you plan to buy. As in many cases, the seller may try to hide any damages or issues with the car so, it is always advisable that the buyers does a proper research before investing their money.
Inspect the car and check the seller: Take a first-hand look of the vehicle. Do not check it in the dark or during a rainy time. Book an appointment when you have ample time to check the car from inside and out. Check for rusting, scratches or any visible damage. Also, take a test drive to see if there are any hiccups in the working of the car. Ask the seller about the car’s MOT certificates and service details. If the seller cannot show all these docs then there are chances that the car is a stolen one.
Go through the physical inspection: Check the car’s locks, window pans, sunroof and doors open smoothly. Also, if you find that the locks show dissimilarity from each other then, it means that the car could have been broken. If the seller does not give you those details then they may be hiding something. If you feel that the mileage reading shown in the odometer is quite low then there is a chance of clocking, which is purposely changing the meter readings. So, take a close look at everything. Do ask questions about any suspicious sign.
Tires and welding check: Check the tires to see if the wheel alignment is proper or not. Next, check for any ‘cut-and-shut’ that is welding of any damaged parts. You can check under the carpet and trims. This will help to find any illegal welding or something that the seller is hiding from you.
Take a look at the registration details: Check the V5C registration doc, which gives details about the owners of the car. If there is any previous owner then you can find this from the doc. It should be a red V5C as the blue coloured V5Cs existed before 2010. Since 2010, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency issues only blue documents and allotment of the red one is stopped.
Check the Vehicle Identification Number: You can locate the VIN at the end of the windscreen and under the carpet of the driver’s seat. The VIN should match with that on the V5C registration document. If not then there is something fishy.
Test drive is a must: Finally, when you find that everything is under control and the car is in really good condition or the way you expected it to be then comes the time for a test drive. For this, you should have Driving Other Cars cover (DOC), which allows you to drive someone’s car with their permission. Drive for a at least half an hour with varying speeds to find if the gears, brakes and other things are up to the mark. See if the drive is smooth or makes noises.
After all this, you have a complete idea about the car. Now, you can decide whether to zero down on this car or not. All the Best!