What to consider when Buying a Car

Buying a Car

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Buying a Car this is a link to the Trading Standards Agency about buying a second hand car.  This website gives you some guidelines as to how to safeguard yourself from buying a dodgy motor.

I would always advise to take someone you trust with you when buying a car to look at the motor and if necessary check the car with a vehicle checking agency to cross check the cars information with that kept on record.

Remember buying a second hand car is difficult and even the experts can be fooled.

Here is a list of useful questions to think about when buying hand car. – Taken from the Office of Fair Trading booklet buying A Used Car (Product Code OFT 196)

If you are buying an expensive car it would be worth checking the ownership of the car and check the data recorded on it so why not contact one of the following companies. 

AA/Experian (Car Data Check) 0800 234999  

Car watch UK Limited (Vehicle history Check) 0870 0107899    

HPI Limited 01722 422422

Citizens Advice website

Buying a Car



Questions Before a Test Drive when buying a car
Yes No
Are sills, wheel arches and door bottoms rusty or paint bubbling?
Is the paintwork faded, blemished or excessively damaged?
Are there oil leaks or damaged hoses/drive belts under the bonnet?
Are the tyres worn or damaged?
Are seatbelts showing signs of fraying?
Do door and window seals showing signs of leaking
Are electrics faulty (lights, washers, horn, and indictors)
When you start the engine and before you drive away does the vehicle emit blue or black smoke from exhaust? (indicates badly worn engine)
During the Test Drive when buying a car
Are brakes defective? (e.g. car takes a long time to stop)
Does car pull to one side when you brake?
Do the brakes squeal?
Is the brake pedal soft or spongy? Do you  have to put the pedal to the floor to brake?
Park the car on an incline with the handbrake on. does the car roll backwards
Does car pull to one side?
Does the steering wheel vibrate? Is there a lot of free play?
Does the car pull to one side?
Is changing gear difficult?
Does gear leaver jump gear when you brakes or accelerate?
Is the clutch difficult to use when moving through the gears?
Does engine sound different if clutch pressed when car is idling?
Is there a strong smell of petrol or oil?
After test drive when buying a car
Does the engine make uncommon noises
Are there water or oil leaks
Is there excessive smoke from the exhaust
When engine stopped, remove oil cap – do you see white liquid like mayonnaise
Look under the bonnet and underneath the car, with a torch if necessary. Are there any leaks?
Is it insurance write off?
Have body panels been repaired?
Is colour/texture of paintwork patchy?
Has welding been carried out on the engine/boot?
Have repairs been carried out on the boot ?(check the carpet)
Has it been clocked?
Physical checks
Are the milometer numbers out of line?
Is wear and tear heavy, given mileage?
Have pedal rubbers/ gear knob/ steering wheel been changed?
Paper checks/question to ask
Does mileage on the last MOT certificate contradict milometer reading?
Does mileage on service documentation contradict milometer reading?
Does mileage when car was last sold contradict milometer readings (check with previous owners – named on V5)
Is it stolen?
Has the vehicle identification number (VIN) been tapered with?
Are glass areas such as windows, lights or sun roof etched with incorrect VIN (as a security measure some cars have VIN etched on these glasses)
Have surface area of glass been scratched off windows, headlights, tail lights, sun roof?
Do stickers conceal altered etchings?
Are there signs that the car has been resprayed for example is there paint on the wheels or seals?
Are there signs of forced entry?
Has the locking petrol cap been forced or replaced?
Do the locks differ (thieves often change locks they have damaged0
Is the seller unable to produce the registration documents V5?
Does the seller give adequate reason for not having V5?
Are there spelling mistakes or alterations on the V5?
Is watermark on V5 missing?
Is sellers name and address different from V5?
Is the number plate different from V5?
Is the engine number different from V5?
Is the vehicle identification number (VIN) different from V%?
Is the seller unable to produce an insurance policy and up to date MOT certificate for the car?


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