What To Consider When Buying A Used Car

Purchasing used cars is excellent when saving money on newer models. With over 8 million used cars bought and sold each year in the UK, the market for buying pre-owned cars is relatively high. It is quite possible to get a sturdy, reliable second-hand vehicle on an affordable budget with all the available information. While you may have to get a little work done, the overall cost of the car would still be lesser than purchasing one from the showroom. 

If you consider a used car, there are a few things to keep in mind before making a payment. The most obvious one is the history of the car. Many companies offer a thorough background check on the car, but the best so far is carcheckuk.com, which also offers a Gold Report with a detailed analysis. Understanding the car’s history is far more critical than just checking what’s under the hood. The police history, accident records, owner legalities, insurances, outstanding finances, and more will help you assess the best price for your car. 

Let us look at what to consider when buying a used car. 

Where To Buy The Used Car From?


There are still several risks when buying from a trader (independent or dealership), private or primary dealer. When purchasing from a private trader, you would be responsible for spotting any problems with the car (potential or visible). While sellers do not offer information upfront, it is best to ask pointed questions to ensure that the vehicle is serviced correctly and will not give you immediate problems. 

Purchasing used cars from main dealers (pre-used car schemes) is usually a good approach. Buying from the main dealers means all the vehicles will have undergone a full-service mechanical check, have the complete owner and accident history, insurance papers, and (if you’re lucky) a warranty. 

You should also ensure the trader is trustworthy and check for trade association signs like Retail Motor Industry Federation or The Motor Ombudsman Code of Practice. You can also check online for reviews about the credibility and service before making a payment. 

Buying From An Auction:

Purchasing from an auction could be risky since most cars are sold for a quick sale. Many also do not have warranties. Some of the best things about auction cars are that you could get them at an absolute bargain and save overall money. However, if there is much work to be done, you would need to shell out more money to get it checked and fixed. You would also not be able to thoroughly inspect the car before purchase or take a test drive. 

Auctions are great for people wishing to see the car’s average selling price and how much people are willing to spend on a make and model. Ideally, you would have enough time to make a purchase before and after the auction, but the only drawback is that you would need to keep the money ready for quick decisions.

What To Check In A Used Car Before Buying?

  • Tyres: The best way to check if the tyres are functional is to give them a good kick! Once that’s done, you should get down on your knees and inspect the tread on them. If the tread is below 3mm, you need to factor in the cost of attaching new tyres. Tyres come in different sizes, treads, and costs and should be considered according to the car’s brand, performance, and long-term efficiency.
  • Dents and Scratches: You should go over the dents, scratches, and paintwork with a fine-tooth comb. When inspecting the car, it is best to do so with plenty of daylight, out in the shining sun. An evening inspection with bright lights will not be as efficient as direct sunlight. If you find any dents, scratches, and splotchy paint marks, you can readjust your negotiating price to include the damages.
  • Panel Gaps: Large panel gaps usually indicate major work done after accidents. Cars that are damaged in major accidents typically need a lot of work, and the panels are generally an excellent way to check these out. You should also check for discolouration or changes in the colour of the panels. 
  • Fluid Levels: Oil, power steering, and brake fuel should be checked. If the levels are low, it is a sure sign that the car is not maintained correctly. Oil leaks should also be checked since they can cause further problems for you. 
  • Electrics: When checking the car, you should also try the electrics – getting the windows up and down, air conditioning, radio, Bluetooth, or any others. 

Written by