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Buying a Used Car? Top Tips to Consider

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used car buying guide

Buying a new car can be a stressful affair and this stress is the intensified if you are considering buying a used car in the U.K. There are several things that need to be checked before money exchanges hands. The aim of this guide is to help you check that a car is properly maintained and is of selling standard.



The first thing you need to check are the documents that come with the car—there’s no point wasting your time considering a car that is not registered to the seller, as it might be stolen or written off. The V5C registration is probably the most important document you’ll need to see. With the V5C registration in hand, you’ll be able to tell if the seller is the legitimate registered owner. If they are not, then you should ask to see and speak to the actual owner of the vehicle. You should also check that the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), engine number, and color matches the information on the V5C registration document.


Accidents and Damage

Remember to ask the seller if the car has been involved in any serious accidents or if there has been any damage to the car that might affect its performance. You should also check the car for inconsistent gaps between the panels or any other mismatched colors—this should be done because it could be a sign of undisclosed extensive repairs. If the vehicle has had any major repairs, you should ask to see the details of the repair, so that if anything does happen after your purchase if you’ll know where to look first.used car buying guide

Locks and Windows

You should also check all the locks on the car, including the central locking system and the remote control, to make sure they work properly. Check the windows and sunroof—do they open and close normally? Are there any signs of damage or forced entry? Check that the seller has all the right keys—if in doubt, the user handbook should have all information about the keys and how many were originally provided when the car was new. Make sure that every key has been accounted for.


Test Drive

Test driving a car that you intend to buy is just common sense. Remember to check that all the warning lights work as they should and that the brakes are in proper working order. While driving, you should listen for unusual noises, test the handbrake, feel for vibrations in the steering wheel, and be sure that, when braking, the car is not favoring one side more than the other.



It is important to find out if the vehicle is still under warranty because, for most people, buying a used vehicle means you can either take the chance of unexpected repair costs or you can purchase a used car warranty. If the vehicle still has some years to go on its manufacturer’s warranty, you can purchase it and have time to research and find a used car warranty cover that suits your needs.

Before you drive off in a used car, you should check the tires to ensure that they are fit for the road, including the tire pressure, tread, wear and tear, and more.

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