4 Things to Do When Buying A Used Car

Man holding out a set of car keys.

Since new cars lose around 20% of their value as soon as you drive them away from the dealership, it’s no wonder most people tend to buy secondhand. That being said, you still need to be careful when buying secondhand to ensure you’re getting both good quality and a good price. So, here are the ins and outs of buying a used car.


Use a trustworthy trader

When you buy a new car, you have the luxury of knowing exactly where it has come from and that the seller is legitimate and trustworthy. However, when you buy secondhand, you don’t always have that luxury. So, you need to make sure you have vetted the trader properly and can trust them.

If you are buying locally then you have you read reviews of the company, visit them in person to get a feel for the sellers and ask around to see if others have had good service from them. If you decide to buy online, make sure it’s through a trusted online trader.


Always check a car’s history

When you’ve seen a secondhand car that you want, it’s vital that you check the car’s history first and foremost. A secondhand car might look perfect, but that doesn’t mean it is. Checking the car’s history is going to tell you if the car has outstanding finance if the seller’s description of the car is correct if that car has ever been stolen, the car’s mileage, and work it’s had done.

Doing this will help you ensure that you are getting a car that’s in good condition, doesn’t have any faults and has never been stolen or written off. Buying a car that has had problems in the past can end up, resulting in issues for you later down the line.


Checking the quality of a used car

There are certain things to look for when checking the quality of a used car so that you can ensure you’re getting a good quality car. These include checking:

  • The engine for leaks, the oil level, condition of the head gasket and exhaust smoke.
  • The gearbox and the clutch for smoothness of the gear change and the clutch’s biting point
  • The car’s paint and bodywork both outside the car and underneath
  • Tires and wheels for the depth of the tread, condition of the rubber and the make of each tyre
  • The interior such as the boot and the dashboard (for mileage and warning lights)
  • Any electronics
  • Take a test drive
  • Documents such as the V5c, the car’s service history and it’s MoT

Doing all of these things is to be what stops you from ending up thinking you're getting a goo deal on a car, only to end up spending a lot more down the line to fix any issues you didn't check before you bought it.


Take a test drive

You must test drive any used cars you plan to buy as this could be crucial to see how well it performs. A used car could look fantastic on the surface, even with an inspection, but could perform terribly when you get it on the road.

Consider using a checklist for a used car test drive as this will help you to check everything you need to know. For example, you’ll see if it pulls in one direction if the brakes are in good condition if the seatbelts work properly etc.


If you’re considering buying a used car, then you should make sure you are doing the things in this article. These are going to help you avoid buying a bad quality or dangerous car and make sure you get the best possible value for your money.

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