Questions to ask when buying a used car
Questions you should always ask
Can you see the service history? Ideally, you want to see the service book complete with dealer stamps. Don't panic if it's not present with older cars, but ask for receipts to show any work was actually done. And phone the garage to check.
Can you see the MOT certificates? Cars over 3 years old must have an MOT. You can check up on MOTs post 2005 at www.motinfo.gov.uk.
Has the car been in any accidents? What repair work has the car had?
What is the car's mileage, and can you prove it's genuine? Service records and MOT certificates can help prove the mileage.
Are there any parts of the car that don't work or are tricky to use or operate? Sellers have to give honest answers to questions.
If buying from a dealer
What's included in the price? Is road tax included, for instance?
If you're using dealer finance, make sure you understand the full terms and cost. Ask for the APR and the total cost of credit.
What does the warranty cover? If you're getting or buying a warranty, make sure you understand the full terms. What will it pay for and for how long?
If buying privately
Can the seller provide proof of identity and ownership / keepership? Only buy from the registered keeper shown on the registration document. If the seller says the keeper has died, ask for evidence. It may sound embarrassing but this is a story fraudsters use to get round the fact they don't have any ID in the name shown on the registration document.
How long have you owned the car? Who owned it before - and did they have any trouble with the car?
Why are you selling the car? Make sure the reason is convincing, and they're not just keen to be shot of a troublesome car.
Where do you live? You should inspect the car at the seller's home - and that this address is the same one as on the V5C registration certificate. Make sure you go inside the house. These precautions are to make sure the car isn't stolen (an ingenious - and daring - thief could arrange to meet you outside the original owner's house). You're visiting a stranger, so take precautions such as going with a friend.
How do you use the car? Town driving means more engine wear than mostly long journeys.
Has anything on the car been replaced? Ask about replacements in general and especially tyres - when were they replaced, why and were all four replaced or just one? Checking the difference in wear and tear on the tyres can help confirm what you're told.
Any person buying a used car should also seek their own independent advice
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Help and advice
Some relevant frequently asked questions
When does the 60 days start? When I register, purchase or when I check the first vehicle?
The 60 days start from the date of purchase of the AutoCheck.
Can you buy a check over the phone?
This service is an online service only, so we are unable to carry out a check over the phone.
When do I get my check?
You report appears as soon as you have successfully made your purchase. The results are instant.
How much does the data check insurance cost?
There is no extra charge for the data insurance, it is included in the cost of your check.