Checklist for Buying a Used Car

From handy hints on how to spot if a car is stolen to alterations on the mileage, here’s our essential list of questions to ask, and items to check when you’re viewing a used car.

If you buy a used car privately, it’s a case of ‘Buyer Beware’. You don’t have the same legal protection as when buying from a dealer.  It’s up to you to ask the right questions and check the car thoroughly before you buy.

  • Can the seller show you the V5C registration document? You won’t be able to tax the car without it.
  • Is the seller the registered keeper shown on the V5C? If not, why are they selling it for someone else?
  • Does the registration document have a watermark?
  • Any spelling mistakes on the registration document?
  • Do the VIN (vehicle identification number), engine number and colour match the V5C?
  • Does the number plate match the V5C?
  • Has the VIN plate been tampered with?
  • Do VIN numbers etched on glass or lights match the VIN plate and V5C?
  • Any sign of scratches on glass to remove etched-in marks?
  • Does the fuel filler look as if it has been forced or replaced?
  • Does the car have a current MOT (if the car’s more than three years old)? Check the MOT history and status of a vehicle »
  • Does the mileage, age and appearance of the car look consistent?
  • Any sign like worn screws that the instruments might have been tampered with? (Digital odometers can be tampered with electronically so clues like this won’t exist)
  • Check recorded mileage on service records, MOT ‘certificates’ and other documents.
  • Does it look consistent with current mileage/condition and increase steadily year on year?
  • Check MOT status and history online (with vehicle registration and make).
Accident damage?
  • Any signs of inconsistent gaps between panels or mismatched colours that could be a sign of extensive repairs?
  • Is the paint finish even across the car?
  • Any traces of paint spray on handles, window seals or plastic mouldings?
  • Could the car’s colour have been changed? (Look under carpets and in other hidden areas in particular.)
  • Any unusual looking welding under the bonnet or in the boot?
  • Are the tyres in good condition and all of the specification and dimensions? Tyres with less than 3mm of tread will have to be replaced soon.
  • Is the spare wheel or tyre inflator/sealant kit in serviceable condition?
  • Are the jack and other tools present?
  • Do all the seatbelts operate correctly? Check there are no cuts or fraying that could affect the way they work.
  • If airbags are fitted, Check that warning lights operate as described in the handbook – normally they will come on with the ignition and then go out?
  • Do all lights and windscreen wipers/washers work correctly?
Test drive
  • Do all warning lights operate normally?  Lights will generally come on to test and then go out – unless there’s a fault.
  • Are the brakes effective or does it take a long time or a lot of effort to stop?
  • Is braking even or does the car pull to one side?
  • Any unusual noises when you brake?
  • Is the handbrake effective?
  • Any steering vibration or pull to one side?
  • If ABS is fitted, does the warning light go out after the engine is started?
  • Any abnormal noises when the engine is started from cold?
  • Does the oil warning light go out as soon as the engine starts?
  • Any signs of excessive visible exhaust emissions?
  • Does the clutch operate normally? A noise when you press the pedal or a high biting point could mean that repairs will be required soon.
  • Is the catalytic converter in good condition? Look for a recent emissions test, either alone or as part of an MOT. This will confirm that emissions are within the stringent limits applied to modern cars.
  • Is there sludge on the underside of the oil filler cap? This could indicate poor servicing or predominantly short journey use.
  • Is the oil level right? Too low shows neglect; too high could be a clue that the engine is using oil but it could just have been over filled in error.
  • Has the cam belt been replaced according to the service schedule?
Locks, windows and general controls
  • Do all the locks, including central locking and remote control, work properly?
  • Do all windows, including any sunroof, open/close normally?
  • Any signs of forced entry, damaged or different locks, suggesting they’ve been replaced?
  • Have you got all the right keys? Check the handbook to see which keys were provided when the car was new. Modern keys are expensive to replace, particularly the coloured ‘master’ key provided by some manufacturers to programme new spare keys to the car.
  • Are locking wheel nuts fitted? Check that the special adapter required is included with the tool kit. Make sure it fits too.
  • Do all the minor controls operate correctly – heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, radio/CD, navigation etc?

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Getting Tyre Upgrades in Wakefield

There are a lot of people that are driving right now and don’t realize how important their tyres are.

It’s easy to isolate a vehicle as a tool that simply gets you from place to place.

It’s easy to ignore the intricate components that come with this as a whole. In fact, you could end up like many, stuck because your tyre blew out.

When that occurs, you’ll find that you may need to get a new option, sooner than later.

If you’re not sure where to go, or how to get a new update, you’ll want to explore a few notes about Tyres from Express Auto Centre in Wakefield, and why it matters more today than ever before to be ready for anything.

Every Tyre Goes Bald

No matter how much you pay for your car’s parts, no matter when you put them in place, you’re going to have to deal with wear and tear at one point or another.

It’s true!

You will need to worry about the wear and tear of your vehicle as you go along your daily routine, especially if you have recently purchased a used car.

Whether you drive a few miles, or several thousand miles a week, you’re going to need to make sure double check the pressure, and your tread before things end up causing problems.

Just one bald tyre, could lead you to being stuck on the side of the road. It’s for that reason why it matters so much.

If checking your tyres often could help you avoid having to deal with being broken down on the side of the road, wouldn’t it be worthwhile?

The short answer is simple, yes!

Getting The Best Deal

One of the reasons why you should know about Tyres from Express Auto Centre in Wakefield, is because you can get the best deal.

That’s right, you could very well get the best possible deal if you move forward with the right company.

This is a company that will help you get an upgrade on your wheels, and will make sure to double check the treads, just in case.

You may not need a full set, you may have tread that is fine, or you may have another mechanical issue that you don’t even know about.

The experts here will help you get the upper hand, simple as that. It’s a positive push forward that is well worth exploring.

Whether you want to save money on a set, or you want to get an inspection, going with the professionals here will help you gain peace of mind and much more.

Ignoring The Treads Is Dangerous

Let’s assume that you ignore the tread of your wheels, and you just never get things inspected.

You are going to have to deal with the issue at one point or another, plus it could put you and your passengers in danger.

This is just not a good thing. If you ignore the treads, you could end up having to deal with more than just an upgrade, you may have to deal with medical, and other expenses that could come from a blow out or worse.

It’s best to be prepared, and know who to call, such as Tyres from Express Auto Centre in Wakefield, which is a great choice.