Buying a used car

We all know there’s lots to think about when you’re buying a second-hand car. And sometimes, we don’t realise just how much.

I’ve often attended customers who’ve just bought a second-hand car and they’ll ask my opinion.

I’ll ask them a few questions, like: “Did you get a spare key or locking wheel key?”  And then you realise that they don’t know what you’re talking about. I explain that it’s a key for removing the wheels from their car.

Often people don’t realise how much some keys cost either – and that many can only be coded by the dealer. So here are a few things you might want to think about before you buy a second-hand car.

Crackers’ tips

  • Make sure the car has a long MOT
  • Look for receipts not just stamps in the service book, when checking the service history. You could even ring the garage to see if they’ve worked on the car in the past
  • Take someone with you who knows about cars, not a friend or neighbour who knows a little but a professional who knows a lot!
  • Meet the seller at their home address, not some street corner
  • Stick to your budget, it’s easy to get carried away
  • Make sure you’ve got the radio security code or know how to find it
  • Check that the V5 document is in the name of the person selling the car and that it has the same address
  • Do a car history check to see if there’s any outstanding finance on the car or whether the car has been declared a right off
  • Look to see if the car is taxed, otherwise you can’t test drive the car on the road
  • Most private sellers or dealers will expect you to haggle over the price, its all part of buying a car
  • The professional person you take will check the car over for you so you don’t have to

Finally, make sure you take a checklist of things to ask and check; if you want more advice about buying a used car, then visit RAC Cars.

RAC Cars – Search. Buy. Sell.

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