How to buy a used car with confidence

How to buy a used car with confidence

Buying a used car has always been a great way of cutting the cost of driving – and never more so than now.

With cars staying on the road longer, but many drivers still opting to trade-in for new vehicles every few years, there’s a massive choice of safe, reliable and excellent value motors on the market. A new survey shows that in the UK, it is more common for savvy over-50s to take advantage of this opportunity than any other age group. However, while buying a used car can be the fastest and cheapest way to your ideal car, the buying process can be a little daunting, especially for first-timers.

As with buying any kind of high-value used goods, there are risks involved. Luckily, it’s never been easier to alleviate worries by checking that you’re not only getting a good deal but also buying a legitimate vehicle. Here are a few checks we recommend you make before parting with your cash. You can also find helpful car buying tips with this ‘ask the expert’ video.

Check the MoT certificate

Cars more than 3 years old require a MoT certificate by law. Ask to see this before closing the deal. It can also be a good idea to check that the MOT certificate of the car you’re looking to buy is not a forgery. There are various websites you can visit to check this. Visit the UK Government website for help.

Stolen vehicle checks

It is easier than you may think to buy a stolen vehicle unwittingly. There are several tell-tale signs you can check for on the vehicle registration certificate – spelling mistakes, conspicuous alterations, missing watermarks and a seller address that doesn’t match the owners. It is possible to double check the identity of the current owner on the DVLA website – check the details shown here match the ones given by the seller. You can also run a quick check to see if the car has been stolen, has outstanding finance or if it has been ‘clocked’ by going to the HPI website

Check the market value

The more information you have, the more confident you will be that you’re getting good value for money. When it comes to the market value of a vehicle, don’t take a salesman’s word for it. Search for vehicles with similar specifications on sites like or use a website like for a quick estimate.

Check the insurance premium

Before you finally decide to buy what seems the perfect car, it’s wise to obtain a quote from your insurer, or to compare insurance quotes online. What may seem like an economical vehicle may be popular with ‘boy racers’ and therefore involved in a higher proportion of crashes than other models – which can hike up the premium. Different specifications and modifications can also affect the price of your insurance.



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