Purchasing a Second Hand Car

You may take precautions to assist you to avoid purchasing a Secondhand Car that has been severely damaged, stolen, or illegally modified. They'll also just assist you in obtaining a trouble-free vehicle.

Having a car check up can help you avoid stress and financial loss in the future.

Purchasing a Second Hand Car
Purchasing a Second Hand Car

Verify a trader's reliability

When purchasing from a trader (a company that sells vehicles), you have to:

  • Look for a reputable, long-standing company.

  • Look for a sign that states they adhere to The Motor Ombudsman's code of practice or are a member of a trade group, such as the Retail Motor Industry Federation or the Scottish Motor Trade Association. If something goes wrong, you may take legal action through one of these organizations.

  • Find a dealer whose vehicles have undergone inspection by a third-party engineer or driving organization.

Purchasing at an auction

Purchasing a secondhand automobile at an auction is most likely the riskiest option. If you purchase from a trader, you most likely won't have the same level of legal protection that you do (for example, the right to returns and refunds).

Before placing a bid, make sure to thoroughly read the auction house's terms and conditions of use.

Check car history

You'll have a lower probability of purchasing a car that has undergone extensive repairs or is being sold illegally if you do a few quick inspections. You may also see if the vehicle's current owner has any outstanding debts.

Both the time and the expense are minimal. No matter from whom you purchase, you should think about doing this.

1. Verify the vehicle's information with the DVLA

Inquire about the cars:

  • License plate number (on the number plate).
  • MOT test code.
  • Mileage.
  • Model and manufacture.
  • Make sure what the vendor tells you matches the DVLA records by using the free online car information checker provided by the DVLA.

Ask the vendor to explain if any small facts don't line up; there may just be a typo. However, you shouldn't purchase the automobile if you suspect that the vendor provided you with false information.

2. Review the history and MOT

To ensure that they are safe for use on the road, vehicles require periodic MOT inspections. Verify the history of the vehicle to see if frequent MOTs have been performed (most cars over 3 years old need an MOT test every year).

On GOV.UK, you may look up a car's MOT history. Free service is offered here.

If there are any MOT gaps, ask the seller about them; if you have any doubts about the MOT history, walk away from the sale. 

If a vehicle had been sitting idle for a while and was registered as SORN, it might not have required an MOT (statutory off-road notification).

3. Get a private history check

A private history check, often known as a "data check," is a smart option since it will alert you of any potential major issues the vehicle may have. The price might reach £20.

You will be informed if:

  • It is believed that the automobile was stolen.
  • On the vehicle, the seller still owes money.
  • Major crashes involving the vehicle are in the past.
  • The mileage on the automobile is accurate.
  • The vehicle was written off, fixed, and then put back on the road.

By looking out websites that check vehicle information online, you may obtain a car history report.

Examine the car and go for a test drive

It's best to see the automobile in daylight, ideally while it's dry because damage to the vehicle is more difficult to see in damp conditions. 

A private seller should be met at their home so that you have a record of their address in case something goes wrong after you've purchased the vehicle.

The AA provides a helpful checklist that may be utilized while examining a secondhand car's papers. Don't forget to inquire about the car's maintenance history.

You should unquestionably test drive the vehicle. To accomplish this, you must be covered by insurance.

If you have your auto insurance, check with your provider to determine if you are permitted to operate another person's vehicle. Ask the merchant or private seller if their insurance would protect you if you don't have any.

Drive on various sorts of roads for at least 15 minutes. For things to watch out for when doing a test drive, the AA provides a checklist.

Purchasing a Second Hand Car

Obtain an impartial report if you are still unsure

It would probably be a good idea to seek another automobile if you are still unsure at this point.

You may take it a step further, though, and obtain an unbiased evaluation of the vehicle. This will cost between £100 and £200 and provide you with comprehensive information about the condition of the automobile.

For information on where to get an independent report in your region, contact the Motor Ombudsman. Independent reports are completed by motoring organizations and specialized businesses. 

A self-regulatory organization for the automotive sector, the Motor Ombudsman, has the support of the government.

When you purchase a car, the deal

Never be scared to barter the price; start low and let the vendor gradually raise it. Keep your cool and simply pay what you can. 

Keep in mind that if you feel forced into paying too much or purchasing more services, you may simply back out of the arrangement.

When buying a car, the Money Advice Service offers helpful advice on how to bargain.

Ascertain that you obtain the original and not a photocopy of:

  • The journal (the V5C registration certificate).
  • The legitimate MOT test record.

Never purchase a vehicle without a logbook.

How to pay

The method of payment for a used automobile is something to think about.

When paying with cash

Think about this:

  • No further charges or interest are made.
  • Cash payments are occasionally eligible for discounts.
  • You won't have the protection that certain credit agreements provide if the automobile experiences a problem.
  • Carrying cash might make you feel uneasy or unsafe, especially if the automobile is not a cheap one.

When using a debit card

If your card issuer offers a "chargeback" program, you may be shielded from issues.

When using a credit card

Think about this:

  • When you can, you can be flexible and make higher payments.
  • Even if you just used your credit card for a little portion of the purchase price, you will be protected for products costing between £100 and £30,000 (this is known as "section 75" protection).
  • When compared to a financing agreement, credit card interest rates are sometimes substantially higher.

If you make an electronic transfer as a payment

Think about this:

  • The maximum amount you can send straight to someone else's account will be determined by your bank.
  • CHAPS payments are an option for payment, however, there will be a fee; check with your bank.
  • Private sellers might not feel comfortable sharing their bank account information with you if you're buying from them.

If you pay with a trader-arranged loan

Think about this:

  • This will cost more since you'll have to pay interest on top of everything else.
  • If you don't have the whole amount of money upfront, this may assist you to purchase an automobile.
  • If there is an issue afterward, you may have additional protection, since you can take legal action against both the lending firm and the trader (or instead of the trader).

If you pay using the money you've set up on your own

Think about this:

  • This will cost more since you'll have to pay interest on top of everything else.
  • If you don't have the whole amount of money upfront, this may assist you to purchase an automobile.
  • Once you've received your funds from the lending firm, you may use a debit or credit card to make your payment for further security.
  • The loan company will not be obligated to assist you in resolving any issues with the vehicle.

Buying a car through hire-purchase

Think about this:

  • The automobile is not yours until the final payment is paid.
  • You will be required to pay a deposit, which is typically equal to 10% of the car's worth.
  • It will be simpler to budget because there will be a fixed monthly fee.
  • If you are unable to keep up with the payments, the automobile may be repossessed.

Read Buying a Car Through Hire Purchase by the Money Advice Service for further information on whether a hire-purchase agreement might be suitable for you. 

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