Skip to Content

What to Check for When Buying a Used Car

When your mileage is rising high and your car needs frequent maintenance, it could be time to upgrade your car. But it can be daunting trying to find the ideal used car. Below, we explore the checks you should carry out before making your purchase.

Need to upgrade your car?

Buying a new car can pose plenty of issues. For a start, new cars depreciate significantly in the first three years: on average, a car will lose 40 to 65 per cent of its original value in this time. If you can’t afford to lose this money on a car, then it’s not worth buying new. Plus, you’ll most likely have to pay more on taxes and insurance. Instead, it can be worth looking at used cars for sale to get yourself a better, more sustainable, deal.


For a start, you should only go for used cars that have the right documents alongside them. You’ll need the registration document to mark yourself as the new owner and to pay tax. From there, you should scrutinize the registration document to ensure that some facts match up. The seller will need to be the registered keeper; the seller’s address should match the document; the make and model should match the information on the document; and the engine number should match too.


Should check the mileage to see how much work the car’s been through. Usually, cars drive about 10,000 miles a year – multiply this by the age of the car and compare it to the reading on the odometer. If the figure doesn’t seem right, don’t be afraid to ask about it.

Accident damage

You should check the interior and exterior for any signs of damage. The seller might be hiding an accident that’s led to internal damage that you can’t spot. By finding signs of an accident, you can avoid buying the car.


You should also check the safety features of the car. Seat belts should be functioning with no signs of deterioration. Meanwhile, you can use the penny test to check the tread on the tyres. Finally, you should also check the windscreen wipers and lights to see if they’re functioning.

Test drive

The final step is to take a test drive. By taking the car for a spin, you can carry out final checks to ensure that there isn’t hidden damage. Plus, you’ll be able to see if you actually feel comfortable driving the car.

It can be difficult to go through all the options and find the right used car. But by carrying out the checks above, you should get yourself a reliable vehicle.

Jeff Campbell