The Used Car Buyer’s Checklist

The Used Car Buyer’s Checklist

The Used Car Buyer’s Checklist


There are so many benefits that come along with choosing to buy a used car over a brand-new model, one of the biggest is that you could make huge savings. But it also carries a few risks – if you’ve made the decision to buy a used car, you need to make sure that you’re going to get the best deal for you.

Knowing what to look for when you’re viewing a used car is essential so that you can make sure you’re getting the right deal before you commit to your purchase.

If you’re choosing to purchase a used car from a dealership, the process is generally easier due to the level of preparation and aftercare, as well as offering you finance options regardless of your credit score, like car finance for bad credit. Here is a list of things to look out for when you’re buying a used car.

Garage or private seller? 

When you’re buying a used car, one of the first things you need to decide is where will be best to purchase it from – a garage or a private seller? There are a few things to consider helping you make this decision.

Think about what you need to use the car for, if it’s a family car that you intend to use for a lot of years, it might be better to purchase from a dealer that can offer aftercare and security that you’ll find with used car garages. If you’re looking for a lower-priced run around that you may only use as a stopgap or to learn to drive in, looking for the cheapest price may mean sacrificing the care you get from a garage.

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If you do choose to use a private seller, it is important to be aware that a lot of them may not take as much care to prepare the car as garages will.

When you’ve made the decision on where you’re going to purchase your used car, you’re going to need to know what to look for when you’re viewing it for the first time. Here are a few checks that you can do when viewing a used car to make sure it’s the right choice for you.

  1. Dents and damage 

When you’re viewing your chosen used car, checking for any damage is essential. You should make sure that you’re inspecting the car in daylight so that any dents or scratches can be seen easily. If you do find any damage to the car, don’t be put off by small scrapes as these can be fixed easily. What you should do is use them to your advantage, and any damage that was not advertised when you chose to view the car can be used to haggle and may end up getting you the car at a lower price. Make sure you check the bodywork and the wheels for any signs that they’ve been curbed in the past.

  1. Tyres 

Arguably one of the most important factors when you’re buying a car. It’s worth getting down to inspect the tyres as closely as you can. Some of the things that you should be checking for include the amount of tread that they have – if they have below 3mm of tread you might have to consider the cost of having to change them soon, as a minimum of 1.6mm of tread is required. The more money you’re spending, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve got four matching tyres.

  1. Panel gaps 

When you’re inspecting the bodywork for any scrapes and scratches, be sure to make a note of any gaps in the car’s panelling. This is a good way of identifying if the car has had bad repairs after a crash. Another thing to look for is the colour of the panels, a slight change in colour could also reveal a bad repair job.

  1. Electrics 

When you’re inspecting the car, make sure that you try everything inside as well as outside. Try the windows, the radio and of course, the air conditioning and heating. If one of these elements doesn’t work, don’t be completely put off, they can be repaired – but it’s always good to know so that you can try it out as a negotiating point.

  1. Upholstery 

When you’re inspecting the car, make sure you check the upholstery. As previously mentioned, cars that come from a garage will most likely be better turned out and prepared than if they’re coming from a private seller who may not have the tools or equipment to make as much of an effort with the car. Check the interior for any stains or tears, again these things can be repaired but another thing to be wary of is the smell. Smells can be very difficult to eradicate in cars, especially if the previous owner has been a smoker for example.

  1. Wear and tear

Finally, if you’re buying a used car, a bit of wear and tear is to be expected. You must weigh up whether the amount of wear on the car is consistent with its age and mileage. If the car you’ve chosen has lower mileage, but the wear on the car is heavy, this could be an indication that something is not quite right, and you may need to rethink your purchase.

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