Guide To Buying A Used Car offer private and trade classified ads for used cars in UK offer private and trade classified ads for used cars in UK


The Guide To Buying A Used Car by We take you through the must-do checks when inspecting a used car.

This guide helps you check the most common problem areas with a used car.

Remember, though, if in doubt, it’s always worth paying an expert to check the used car for you.


Exterior checks

  • Leaks: Does there appear to be any fluid leaking from underneath the car?
  • Bodywork: Is the paint finish of the used car even and consistent?

  • Wheel arches: is the paintwork smooth or bubbly? *Bubbly may be a sign of rust.

  • Rubber door seals: evidence of a paint job? This may suggest previous damage

  • Tyres: ensure the wear on the tyres are even in distribution. Uneven wear and tear may be the result of issues with suspension, tracking or car crash damage.

  • Convertible? Make sure the roof moves smoothly and locks completely in place.

  • Suspension: Push the corners of the car and release. The car should rebound once just past the level position, then go back to normal if the shock absorbers are working.


Under the bonnet

  • Cam-belt: Ask when the cambelt was last changed. Should this break, the damage to the engine can be bad news.

  • Dirty or clean? A dirty engine area  in a used car may suggest that the car has been neglected. However, a gleaming engine could have been steam-cleaned to disguise issues.

  • Blue/black smoke: Rev the engine briefly from idle. Blue/black smoke indicates issues with a used car.


Inside The Car

  • Mileage: Does the mileage on the odometer inside the speedometer match the documents of the used car and the advert placed online?

  • Mileage continued: Generally a used car averages at 10,000 miles per year.

  • Test: air conditioning, electric windows, bonnet release, sunroof and adjustable seats.

  • Ignition: is there any sign of damage that may indicate the used car was – once – stolen

  • VIN: Is is tampered with? The VIN is recorded on a metal strip at the bottom of the windscreen, under the bonnet or beneath the carpet on the driver’s side.

  • Brakes: the brake pedal should move solidly when applied – they should not sink to the floor before engaging

  • Windows: Check the windows for damage e.g. cracks and chips.

  • Are the lights working? Inc headlights, fog lights, indicators and reversing lights.




  • Address: does the address on the documents match the address of the used car currently?

  • Logbook watermark: when buying a used car check the logbook has a watermark.

  • MoT Certificate: Valid MoT certificate (if over three years old)

  • Make sure that the registration document serial No. is not stolen. If the serial number has been tampered with, in any way, walk away.

  • View the full service history, with receipts (contact the garage to confirm any work without a receipt was actually done).

  • Service History: The location of the garages should match what else you know about the car’s history.

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