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What to look out for when buying a used car

Author Name – Cameron Carroll

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Buying used cars can work out as a practical and cost effective way to get a set of wheels. Whatever type of car you are looking for, whether it be vintage cars, classic cars or just your every day runaround car, you can still get excellent used cars to fit whatever budget you may have.

With buying used cars comes risk so we are going to explain below the best methods when purchasing and what to look out for when buying a used car.

Where to buy a used car from a private seller?

Online platforms such as Car Gurus UK and Auto Trader are a great way to view large quantities of different makes and models of used cars. You can access these sites online or via their apps which you will be able to find on the App Store. Sellers will post a picture, description and contact details for people to browse and arrange to view the car. There are a number of used car websites which we will discuss later on in this blog.

Where to buy a used car for cheap?

Car garages are another method of buying used cars. A small independent car garage will have a limited number of cars available, however it brings a customer service value to the experience, giving first time buyers a reassurance when making a purchase.

Dealerships are another method when buying used cars. Dealerships are often associated with the brand new top of the range models like the Model Tesla 3 or the BMW IX3, however most dealerships do have a used car stock. There are also advantages with going to a dealership such as select car leasing, which allows buyers to pay for the car in instalments making it more affordable. Make sure you discuss at the dealership if there any car leasing deals or car finance deals on offer.

Car finance is an option that should be considered. This means that you end up paying monthly instalments over a set period of months either on a PCP (personal contract hire) or a HP agreement (hire purchase). Within car finance agreements, you can purchase an array of used cars, whether it be a Vauxhall Corsa, a Ford Fiesta or even a Range Rover. Personal leasing using a finance deal may be the perfect option for you.

It is important to remember, on top of these monthly car finance agreements, you will also need to make sure you pay car insurance for the vehicle. If you are looking for cheap car insurance, make sure you browse online to find the best deal. Comparison websites such as Compare The Market and Go Compare will help you compare car insurance and find you the best price.

Our top tip is that if your car insurance is too expensive, try to look at vehicles with a smaller engine size- this should lower your insurance quotes. Also, on average automatic cars are generally more expensive to insure than manual cars.

What is the best used car website?

As mentioned previously, Car Gurus UK and Auto Trader are two popular websites where you can buy used cars. However, there are a whole range of websites online such as Cazoo, Arnold Clark or the Motor Depot where you can search for cars, book a test drive or even buy online.

What is the best second hand car hand to buy?

Buying a car is always a stressful time and you need to make sure you find the best and most reliable car to suits your needs. Make sure you do your research but our recommendations are as follows- however these suggestions obviously all depends on your available budget.

If you are looking for a family car then the Nissan Qashqai is a good option as it has lots of space for all the family. There are a number of popular models on the market such as the Audi A3, the Ford Kuga (again a perfect family car) or even a BMW X5 if you are looking for a 4x4 vehicle.

You need to try and find the best car deals for you, if you are looking for a smaller used cars there is the Toyota Yaris or a Nissan Micra. If you are looking for a larger used car there is the Range Rover Sport, the Vauxhall Insignia or a Nissan Juke.

Cheap cars are great and may fit your needs and wants but you need to make sure you take your time to find the right deal and not rush into a decision.

When purchasing used cars or nearly used cars, you may have the option to part exchange your current car. This will remove the need to sell your car privately but make sure you check sites like www.webuyanycar.com to find the correct value for your car or look online for a selling guide to find a rough price point which you can look to go with.

How many is too many miles on a car?

It is important that you take notice of how many miles is currently on the clock before you purchase a used car. The mileage will also affect the price.
For example, if you have a Vauxhall Zafira with 20,000 miles on the clock, this will most likely be cheaper than a Vauxhall Zafira with 150,000 miles on the clock. However if you keep your vehicle regularly serviced, then you should get a lot of miles out of the vehicle. Mileage can also vary on fuel type, for example, a hybrid or electric car may get more mileage than a petrol or diesel car.

As a quick side note, you can get your car or van serviced at National Tyres and Autocare by clicking here, enter your registration and you can see what servicing offering we can offer for your vehicle type.

What to look for when buying a used car

Buying a car can be exciting, but the fact that it is used means there are some risks. Whether you are looking for used electric car, used diesel cars or used petrol cars, there is always going to be a considerable amount of risk attached.

Make sure you keep an eye out on many of the large motoring websites such as Autocar for any car news which may help your buying decision- there are car awards which take place each year which may help you make the correct car choice. Try and get the most buying advice possible before looking to make a purchase.

Here are some things to look out for:

Documents are very important. The documents that should accompany a used car are:

• Registration document (V5C)
• MOT certificate
• Full service history

It is also important that these documents match the car in question, they are in date and they are in good condition. Also make sure the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) is found in in the VC5. It is important to take the vehicle for a test drive before you purchase and make sure all the car’s history is checked. You can the MOT history online of any vehicle registered in the UK on the Government website.

Remember, if you are buying a used car, this needs to have an MOT every year, whereas new cars don’t need an MOT until it is three years old.


Accidental damage is a big thing that a lot of people miss when buying a used car. Scratches, dents and other types of accidental damage are missed by a lot of people and de value the car immediately. Make sure that you thoroughly check the car for any mismatched colouring or uneven paint as this can be a tell-tale sign of previous damage.

Checking the interior is also very important. As well as checking the condition of the interior seats and other aesthetics, be sure to check all of the dials on the dashboard such as the speedometer to make sure they’re functional. Whilst doing this check the mileage of the car as well.

Mechanical issues can also be an underlying problem for a lot of used car buyers. We don’t expect you to know about everything under the bonnet but ensure that it is in good condition. Most mechanical problems will be made noticeable when test driving the car but general knowledge never hurt anyone. The main points here are to make sure a thorough vehicle check has been conducted and you have completed a car history check.

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