If you are thinking of buying a second-hand car from a private seller it is important that you do as much research as possible before you hand over your hard earned cash. Your personal safety could be at risk if you don’t make sure the car is in full working order.
- Checking the car’s history
If you suddenly need some cash then CarCashPoint can lend you money against the value of your car. If you are going to buy a used car then you should check that there is not already a loan attached to the vehicle. Before you buy a car from a private seller you should get a data or history check carried out. These checks can be done online or over the phone via various companies who will charge you a fee, but make sure that the information they give you is up to date. The BBC consumer website has links to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) who can tell you if the car is stolen.
- The car’s identity
The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) explains how you can check your car’s identity online and compare it with the registration certificate (V5C) that comes with the vehicle. The car could have been in an accident and should have been destroyed or the mileage may have been altered.
- Make sure the car is roadworthy
To ensure the car is safe and roadworthy you should always check the MOT certificate and the service history. If you’re unsure about the validity of either of these you can contact the Vehicle and Operator Service Agency (VOSA). When you go to view the car you can take a mechanic with you to carry out a simple examination and you should also take it for a test drive.
- Who are you buying from?
Wherever you saw the advertisement for the car the description should match the actual vehicle. Before you go to the viewing do as much research about the seller as possible. If they are selling more than one car they may be a dealer and not the registered keeper on the logbook. If this is the case you should be wary, especially if they want to meet you away from their home address.
- Running costs
Before you buy a car you should decide exactly what you are going to use it for and how much the running costs are going to be. You’ll need to take into account the maintenance costs, insurance and fuel consumption. It’s not worth buying a second hand car that you can’t afford to run.
It’s always worth trying to haggle over the price of the vehicle; any money you can save will be handy for filing up the tank. Before you choose a car decide how much you’re willing to spend and don’t exceed it. You can also look on the Which website and see their price guide for used cars. This will give you an idea of what type of car and year to look out for.