Buying a Used Car – Top Tips

Buying a Used Car - Top Tips for making the right choice

Buying a used car can be both an exciting and daunting experience. As individuals, we all have our own car brand aspirations that we know and love. The reasons why we like cars can cover so many aspects, from status and speed to styling and comfortability, or size and practicality.  Whatever the reason there is a vehicle brand out there to suit everyone.

So, what should we be looking out for when buying a used car?

Analyse the car’s history – It is important to make historical checks to see if the vehicle has ever been in an accident and to see how many previous owners the used car has had or if there are any gaps between ownership.  For a one-off payment you can carry out a HPI check by using reputable company –

Read the service history – Reading through the service history of the vehicle will give you a clear understanding as to what parts have been changed and if the vehicle’s regular servicing is up to date.

Valid MOT certificate – The vehicle should have a valid MOT certificate which will also outline any previous advisories.  This can provide an overview of the history of the vehicle over the last 3 years.

Check the log book – Double check that the vehicle is registered to the existing keeper that you are negotiating with and that they have the right to sell the car.  Anything that looks incorrect should be rectified before you consider buying the vehicle.

Signs of an accident – If the vehicle shows any signs of being involved in an accident or you are made aware that it was written off at any point in its history. Then it is worth getting extra advice before you make the purchase. Deficiencies in bodywork can offer clues. Just because the vehicle has been in an accident, doesn’t mean that it isn’t road worthy, it just means that you should know what your are buying and decide if it is worth it for the price you are paying.

Investigate the vehicle – By doing everything you can to investigate that the vehicle is in good working condition will go along way. Checking the tyre tread will give clues to any underlying issues with alignment, whilst looking under the bonnet to check that everything looks satisfactory and check that the oil looks clean is good practice.  Testing the headlights, wipers and horn, door locking and that the windows operate correctly will give a good overview of the vehicle.

Take a test drive – In a recent news article by – Half of drivers won’t test drive a second-hand car before buying, it claims that through a study by online sales site Gumtree, “an astonishing 51 per cent of drivers said they wouldn’t drive a car before buying it, with even more failing to carry out basic checks to protect themselves from being left out of pocket”.  It is crucial that buyers do this to double check how the car handles on the road, to listen out for any strange noises or feelings of the car shuddering and to check that the vehicle’s overall functionality is good.

Check the warranty – Newer vehicle models will be covered with warranty. Warranty is normally automatically transferred to the new-keeper, however it maybe worth double checking this and asking to see the seller’s proof of paperwork before purchasing the vehicle, to ensure that this is correct.

Discuss Historical Finance – If the car has been previously purchased via a finance package, then it’s imperative that you ensure that the package does not transfer to you and that all payments and contracts are made between the previous owner and their finance company.  Ask the question and make some calls with the existing owner to the finance company, to double check the situation before you buy the vehicle.

Book a Used Car Inspection – Here at Stourbridge Automotive Ltd, we offer a Used Car Inspection Service through our specialist work programme. The Used Car Inspection is available to new and existing customers who are looking to buy an Audi, BMW, BMW Mini or Mercedes vehicle.  Our Used Car Inspection service covers a full diagnostic check including a report and an under-ramp inspection of the vehicle. To find out more, please speak to our Service Team or see our Used Car Inspection website page –

Further Reading –
The website offers some useful information about buying a car –