If you’re looking to upgrade your vehicle and avoid a hefty price tag, or buying your first car, a used model may provide a cost-effective alternative. There are plenty of advantages attached to purchasing a used vehicle, including a cheaper insurance quote and a slower rate of depreciation.

In order to make the right choice, it’s important to follow these common sense steps:

Do Your Research

There’s no substitute for knowledge, so make sure you familiarize yourself with price guides and the typical cost of the make and model you’re interested in. Compare similar cars in classified advertisements and on used car sales websites. This way you can avoid being overcharged and quickly tell if an asking price is too good to be true.

Viewing the Car

Never go to view a car in poor light or bad weather. You should be able to see the vehicle clearly and from all angles, and don’t forget to check inside. Look for rust, dents and scratches.

Ask the Right Questions

It’s essential that you enquire into the service history of the vehicle and ensure that the history you’re presented with tells a consistent story. Ask to see the V5C registration document. This will show details of previous ‘keepers’ of the car and you can contact them to find out about work done and miles covered. You should also ask to see the MOT certificates to make sure that the recorded mileage increases steadily with age and is consistent with the service record.

Illegal Practices

Some unscrupulous sellers of used cars will engage in illegal practices to raise the price of the car and make a sale. ‘Clocking’ is where someone winds back the odometer on a car with a high mileage to increase the asking price. If the car has been stolen, the number plates will often be exchanged with those from an identical vehicle, known as ‘car cloning’. ‘Cut and shut’ refers to when the remains of two cars have been welded together and the identity of one of the wrecks attributed to it. This happens after cars have been damaged in accidents and written off by insurers. To ensure that your car has not been tampered with or acquired illegally, it’s recommended that you have a Car Data Check.

It’s always recommended that you purchase a used car from a trusted retailer. For more information, contact a firm that specialises in used car sales, like Exchange and Mart.


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