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Buying a used car checklist

Protecting your money and maintaining road safety
(Adobe Stock)

UK residents are being urged to ‘check it not regret it’ when considering buying a second-hand car as part of a campaign for improved road safety and awareness.

The aim of the campaignis to warn people of the potential issues that could arise when buying a used car and how they can take steps to protect themselves and ensure what they are buying is legal, safe and what it’s reported to be.

Serious safety issues may arise when buying a used car with hidden history.

Clocked cars have mileage doctored to increase value. Potential buyers can be conned into believing a vehicle is newer than it is. Rollback impacts road safety as many unsuspecting buyers don’t realise, they are driving a vehicle with parts that have endured greater mileage than that displayed on the odometer.

Peter Stonely, Principal Trading Standards Officer from Peterborough City Council, said: “A second-hand car that is not up to scratch and is littered with faults can be a danger to the driver and other road users.

“It’s important the used car industry puts the brakes on bad practices by ensuring dealers are being up front with their customers about the condition of cars. That way people can make an informed choice as to whether the vehicle they see is the car for them.”

Keith Jones, Chief Executive of Peterborough Citizens Advice Bureau, said: “Second-hand cars are one of the biggest areas of consumer complaint that we receive.

“Don’t rush into a purchase, take your time and check everything about the car you intend to purchase first. It’s better to miss out on a potential bargain rather than rushing into a load of trouble.”

What to look out for before you buy a used car

Car dealer and privately

People are being urged to use these top tips when considering buying a car:

  • Check service history – does the car have an up-to-date service record?
  • Check V5 registration document – if the seller does not have this, walk away.
  • Check the MOT – Visit www.carveto.co.uk and enter a car registration number or www.gov.uk and use the ‘check the MOT option’ – you will need the car’s registration document reference number from the V5 if investigate all MOT test centres that have worked on the car.
  • Check if car is a write-off – you can do this alsoon www.carveto.co.uk/write-off-categories/database for cars that have been economically written-off can be re-sold but you may not want to buy one.
  • Check finance history – you can also do this through an hpi check – make sure there is no finance outstanding on the car, if there is the finance company involved could take the car off you.
  • Test drive and give the car a walk around checking for any signs the car isn’t what it seems.
  • Get an engineer to check – If you don’t know much about cars consider employing an engineer to check it for you.
  • Check price value guide – are you about to pay too much? If the car is cheap could this be a sign it isn’t what it seems?

For more advice on buying second-hand cars visit: