This is very important unfortunately most secondhand/third hand cars don't possess one. This is due to the higher charges that are usually made by dealerships which have sold the car from new, luxury cars should always have one and also if the car is a relatively new car, Check the service history which will have all the services and repairs to the car. Make sure to find out all about parts that have been replaced and if there has been any accidental damage, with older cars that have been mot tested check previous mot's for mileage comparisons. A good sign is the availability of the cars handbook there is no comprehensive official Car check that is free the DLVA will give you some details but for a more detailed check HPI will provide information at a price
For information on your Statuary rights when buying a used car
Buying a used car
Decide what type of car you want to buy and how much you can afford. Include the cost of insurance, MOT, road tax, petrol, repairs and servicing. If you are taking out a loan, add up the repayments buying the wrong car can prove to be a very expensive think carefully before you buy
Don't rush into a decision. Shop around. Look at car magazines and price guides to see what is available for the price you want to pay.
If you don't know much about cars take someone with you who does. Or you could pay for an independent inspection by a professional mechanic or one of the motoring organisations. It costs between £100 and £300, but could save you money in the long run especially if the car you are buying is expensive
If your knowledge of cars is sketchy, use our checklist. It gives the main things to look out for when assessing a used car's condition, and tells you the signs that can help you to identify a car which may have been stolen or clocked (had its mileage altered).
If you find yourself ticking a lot of Yes boxes in one or more sections, it may be best to walk away. If you donít feel confident about carrying out these checks yourself, get an expertís opinion.
If you find yourself ticking a lot of shaded circles in one or more sections, you should seriously consider whether to go ahead with the sale.
Click here to print this checklist (Printer friendly)
Is the car in reasonable condition?