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Why It’s Important to Check a Car’s History Before Buying

The idea of buying a new car and taking it for a spin is an exciting one. If you’re opting for a used car however, there are added risks involved that it’s useful to be aware of before you decide to part with your hard-earned cash.

Thanks to their widespread availability and reduced price, more of us buy used cars than new ones – but it’s been found that over half have hidden problems that come back to haunt us.

Some of those issues are nothing to worry about – such as a number plate being changed to a personalised plate. However, others can prove to be more costly, so if you’re eyeing up a new set of wheels, here are three key areas to check to give yourself more confidence in your next investment.

Does it Have Unpaid Finance?

One of the most common and costly hidden problems with used cars is unpaid finance. This means that the current owner has not yet fully paid off the cost of the vehicle – and therefore it cannot be legally sold on.

By taking on a car with unpaid finance, you may find the debt collectors coming after you instead. If you’re searching for used cars NI, buying through a dealership gives you more protection under the Consumer Rights Act. This legislation obliges dealers to only sell cars that are fit for purpose, as described and legally sound.

Has it Ever Been in a Crash?

Accidents happen, and most of the time a good repair job will see to any issues that arise. If you’re planning to sell the car on later down the line however, you may find that any not-so-good repairs reduce the value.

While a seller should be honest, it’s worth checking for anything that can tell you more about a vehicle’s past. Look out for:

  • Different coloured paintwork
  • Body panels not sitting evenly
  • The boot, bonnet or doors not closing smoothly

A surprising number of used cars are found to be insurance write-offs, deeming them to be unsafe or beyond repair. An official vehicle history check will tell you if the one you’re looking at has a similarly chequered past.

Has it Been Looked After?

A car’s service history will tell you how well a used car has been cared for. Not all older cars will have one, but with more used cars on the market aged two years or less, it’s worth asking to see a service book to check if a car has been serviced at the correct intervals.

If you prefer your cars a little older, you can try asking for receipts for spare parts and oil to give you a rough idea of how well it’s been maintained.

Now that you’re aware of some of the key things to check for, you can put yourself firmly in the driving seat when buying your dream used car.