Essential Checks to Make When Buying a Second-hand Car

Ford Focus Buying a used car can save you thousands of pounds, but it doesn’t come without its risks.

Unless you know what to look out for, you could end up paying a small fortune on repairs. It helps if you find a reliable local dealership you can trust; if you live in the north east of the UK, therefore, it’s advisable to find a trusted dealership in Middlesbrough. However it is still a good strategy to carry out a few checks to see that the car you are investing in is worth the asking price.

Checking the car over
The first thing you need to do when you go and view the car is to check its general physical condition. Are there any signs of mismatched paintwork? This could be an indication that a lot of repair work has been carried out. You should also check for any cracks or dents in the body. One thing many people don’t bother to do is check the seatbelts. Are they working correctly? Don’t be afraid to get in and actually play around with the interior to see that everything is working correctly.

Checking the engine
As mentioned on the AA website, it is always a good idea to test drive the car before you agree to buy it. This allows you to check the engine and see that it is running correctly. Does it appear to have any abnormal noises when it starts up? Check the exhaust fumes too. If the fumes are blue it means that oil is burning and this isn’t a normal occurrence. If you’re buying a diesel car, be sure that the smoke isn’t black as this indicates a serious problem.

Checking the documents
It is easy to get carried away checking out the condition of the car and forgetting about the documents. Does the seller have the V5C registration document? Without it you won’t be able to tax the car. You also need to be sure that the seller’s name is on this document. If it isn’t then there is a chance the car could be stolen. At the very least you’d need to enquire about why they are selling somebody else’s car.

Once you have the V5C document in front of you, you’ll be able to check that it matches the car. The colour, vehicle identification number and engine number should all be the same as the car. Other documents you’ll need include an MOT certificate and the car’s service history.

Carrying out online checks
As featured by the BBC, it is also important to carry out online checks. You can look on the DVLA website to confirm the date the car was registered, when the tax is due to expire, the year it was manufactured and the engine capacity. These basic details will show whether the seller is being honest with you about the car.

As you can see, there is a lot to check over before buying a used car. It is recommended you take a mechanic with you to view the car so you can be sure there aren’t any hidden problems.

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