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What to look out for when buying a used car

If you’re looking to change your car but don’t want to buy brand new, opting for a used car can save you money. But how do you make sure the bargain you think you’re getting is a bargain and not a rust bucket that’s likely to break down as soon as you get it home.

Here’s our low down on what to look out for if you’re looking to buy a used car.


As Google searches and Google reviews are on the increase checking out the reviews online for the garage that is selling the vehicle you are interested in is a good way to see what other customers are saying about them.  This is even more relevant if the garage is not an approved used dealer of a certain brand. For instance, if you are looking for a used Mercedes, then there are approved dealerships around the country. An approved used seller is a dealership that has been authorised to be an official seller by that brand.

Vehicle Historyshutterstock_342240683

Obtain as much information as you can about the car from the current owner or garage. Previous owners, MOT history, why the car has been sold, what the car was used for etc. You can also carry out your own online investigations by using a vehicle history check website. The RAC has a comprehensive service which uses the registration number to check the car’s history. To find out more follow the link:

Price Guide

You should also make sure that the price that is being asked is comparable to the market. Make sure you compare prices of other similar used cars to make sure you are not paying over the odds. You should also see the car in person yourself to ensure there are no obvious marks, scratches, dents etc which would bring the value down.


Inspect the car thoroughly yourself. Look under the bonnet for any leaks, corrosions or cracked hoses. Check the oil and transmission dipsticks for levels and fluid colour. Examine the paintwork for chips and rust and make sure the car doesn’t have anything hanging loose underneath and sits level to the ground. You should also inspect the tyre’s thoroughly to see how worn they are and if they have been worn down evenly. Make sure you also inspect the inside thoroughly. Upholstery for stains and wear and tear and any gadgets and electrics including sound systems to ensure they function properly.

Test Driveshutterstock_529749271

If you’re happy so far then you should take the car for a test drive. Make sure you plan a route so that you can check the cars manoeuvrability, acceleration, braking and suspension. If you can, drive it on a dual carriageway and also park it so you can ensure you’re happy with the size and how it handles.

Mechanic Inspection

Finally, if you’re happy with everything so far ask a trusted mechanic to take a look and give it the once over. A professional mechanic will be able to see if there are any underlying issues that could give you problems in the future. Visit the AA website for further details:

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