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Paperwork to Check before Buying a Used Car

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Buying a used car can be a stressful yet exciting process. There is a lot that needs to be considered when buying a used car, including looking the vehicle over, taking it for a test drive, and getting a vehicle history check carried out. This means that it is often easy to forget one of the most crucial aspects—looking over the paperwork. This is equally important as checking the bodywork; below is some of the paperwork that you should always ask to see before parting with any cash.


The V5C, or logbook, is the car’s registration document and is required to prove that you are the registered keeper of the automobile. It contains vital information such as the manufacturer, model, color, VIN, the date it was registered, and the previous owners. Unfortunately, there are many stolen logbooks in circulation in the UK so it is important to be careful when buying from a private seller. You should always view the car at the address on the V5C and carefully check the V5C for tampering and the DVL watermark. A vehicle history check from HPI is a great way to be safe when it comes to V5C scams (and other used car scams).

Service history

Seeing the service history shows whether or not the car has been properly maintained and if there are any recurring or major problems to be aware of. In addition to this, it allows you to check that the displayed mileage is correct and that it has not been altered.

MOT certificates

Checking the MOT certificate allows you to ensure it is roadworthy and that it has a valid MOT; if it is due to expire, you can ask the seller to get it tested. Additionally, advisory notes from the mechanic allow you to identify any problems with the car that you may need to address. Always check that the car you are viewing matches the details on the certificate.


The above should all be checked before making the purchase. Once you have made the purchase, always ask for a receipt, which includes details such as make, model, registration number, mileage, and confirmation that the seller has received the funds for the vehicle.

Checking the paperwork is a vital process when buying a used car, but it can sometimes be overlooked as there is so much to consider. Always remember to carefully check the above and get a history check carried out so that you can make an intelligent decision and avoid scams.

This is a collaborative article.