Buying a used car can be a daunting experience, especially if you have little to no knowledge of what to look out for. Here are some top tips of what to check when viewing a potential used car
Mileage – When looking at cars that are a few years old, an average annual mileage of around 12,000 miles is normal. Beware of clocking – an illegal practice of winding back the odometer to hide the accurate mileage of an older car. Service records and MOT certificates will document the mileage so be sure to check these correspond with the odometer.
Service History – Most cars require regular servicing so the current owner should have some service records. When looking at the service history, check for recurrent problems and ensure the history tells a consistent story. If there is no service history for the car, ask why.
MOT – When a car reaches three years of age, it requires annual MOT checks and pass certificates to prove it is road-worthy. If you know the vehicle registration number and V5C reference you can check the MOT status online.
Previous owners – Although the number of previous owners won’t dramatically affect the cost of a used car, it is always good to ask how many there have been, and why each owner decided to sell.
HPI check – You will usually have to pay for this check, but it is vital for accessing information you may not be aware of. An HPI check will confirm whether a vehicle has any outstanding finance, has been recorded as stolen, or has previously been written off.
Fuel economy – Knowing the fuel economy of the vehicle will give you an indication of the amount of Vehicle Excise Duty (also known as road tax) that you will have to pay. Vehicles that emit less than 100g/km of CO2 are tax exempt, whilst vehicles emitting over 121g/km are on a rising scale up to a maximum of £300 per year
Insurance Group – Always ask which insurance group the vehicle you are looking to buy falls in to. It is also advisable to get an insurance quote for the vehicle before you purchase it, so you know what the costs will be.
As well as this 7-point check list, it is also important to ensure the car will suit your personal criteria. Whether you need a boot size that fits golf clubs, a pram or luggage, or you need a minimum number of seats, ensure the vehicle will be practical for your lifestyle.
When considering the purchase of a used car, it is recommended that you visit an approved used dealership as they will often provide a level of service and knowledge far greater than other used car sellers.
Approved dealers place high importance on customer service – after all, their business relies on satisfied customers and a good reputation. It is standard across most approved dealers to provide fully checked and prepared vehicles with a passed MOT certificate, valid tax disc and a market-leading warranty. Specialist dealers may also carry out manufacturer-approved services, such as the NetworkQ 114 point check. Each dealership will vary in terms of the services and benefits they offer, so it is a good idea to find out what is included with your selected dealer.
And finally, before visiting a dealership, check out their website first. Many dealers will have an online inventory of their current stock, giving you the opportunity to find out the key details of a vehicle and determine if it suits your needs before visiting the dealership.
Baylis Vauxhall is an approved new and used car dealer with branches throughout Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. You can view our wide selection of used car stock by clicking the link below: