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Friday, May 16, 2014

4 checks you should always make when buying a used car

Buying a used car is something which many people do, and do successfully – when you want a car which is more affordable than a brand new model, buying second-hand is a sensible and practical option.

When it comes to purchasing a used vehicle, a good working knowledge of cars is obviously a help. But if you aren’t an expert when it comes to engines and bodywork, the prospect of buying a used car can be daunting. The last thing anyone wants is for their newly-bought used car to fail on them, a few months or even weeks after purchase.

So, is there anything you can do to protect yourself against this potential situation? Fortunately, there is. Here is our essential checklist of things to look out for when buying a used car:
Used car inspection tips
A rust inspection under the car reveals outdoor exposure


The exterior of a car can tell you a lot about its history, and whether it has been crashed or damaged. Inconsistent paint work might be a sign of a re-spray, post-incident, so have a look around to make sure it’s all the same shade. Have a look at the gaps between the exterior panels and metal work. The spaces should ideally be identical in width. If they aren’t, it could be a sign that the vehicle has suffered a collision. Also, check out the tyres, and look for even wear. Uneven wear may be indicative of suspension issues.


The main thing to check for under the bonnet is leaks. Have a look around, for signs of rust. Patches under pipes and fittings could be a sign of leak-induced damage. Additionally, have a look at the top of the engine and under the oil cap. The presence of a white, creamy substance in these areas could be symptomatic of problems with the head gasket, which can often be unrepairable.


Make a note of the car’s advertised vital stats before you go. The number on the mileage counter should correspond with that advertised. The state of the car should also correspond with the mileage. If you notice that the seats and steering wheel are particularly worn on a car with a low mileage, then there may be something amiss. Check the steering column for signs of damage or tampering also – a presence of these may be a sign that the car has been stolen. You should also check that the car’s vehicle registration number is the same on the plates as it is at the base of the windscreen and windows.


A car’s logbook is the key to checking that it is a legitimate sale. The home address of the seller should correspond with that in the logbook. Look to see if the car’s recorded mileage on MOT inspections rises consistently. Dramatic jumps and dips may be indicative of a problem, or even of forged inspections. Any new parts fitted should also have been recorded. The logbook should also contain a watermark, and all the paperwork supplied with the vehicle should be original. Don’t accept copies.

About the author: This article is written by Steve who works for Turbo Revs. In his free time, he loves to hire supercars and take them for a spin around the UK!

Image license: VK35, GFDL, CC BY-SA 3.0

1 comment:

  1. Before buying a used car, it is very important to inspect the vehicle and make sure that the vehicle you are buying should be in good condition and does not have any major fault. You have explained very well all the important factors that everyone should consider before making a purchase.