Your Guide to Buying a Used Car

It’s not always possible to splash out on a brand new car, and sometimes buying a used car is a much better option. Unlike a new car, which depreciates in price the minute you drive it off the forecourt, with a used car you can make your money go further. There are, however, risks which come with buying a second, or maybe even third or fourth hand vehicle, and as a buyer you need to know what to look out for. Here, Izzy from Pass Smart has created a guide of things to remember when parting with your cash. If you’re smart and do your research, you could get your hands on your new (used) car problem-free.

Know your rights

Make sure you know your rights before buying a used car. If you buy your car from a dealer, they must – under the Sale of Goods Act (1979) – make sure that the car:

• is of satisfactory quality, taking into account age and mileage
• meets the description that was given to you at the point of sale
• is fit for purpose

If the car you buy doesn’t meet these conditions, you have every right to make a claim against the dealer.

You also have the right to reject a second hand car, within a ‘reasonable’ amount of time (around 3-4 weeks), if something goes wrong. The fault must be disproportionate to the age and mileage of the car. You may also be able to reject the car if you have been misled over the condition. Once you have rejected a car, you must stop driving it.

Private sales

Although there are many genuine private sellers out there, you have to be much more vigilant when buying a car through a private sale. You’re not covered by the Sale of Goods Act, and, therefore, must be 100% certain that the car you’re buying is of satisfactory quality and is fit for purpose yourself.

They must, however, by law, ensure that the car:

• is honestly presented. If, for example, you ask them a direct question regarding the history of the car, and they aren’t truthful, they are breaking the law
• is described accurately

If, then, you buy a car that is not as described or misrepresented, you have a right to return the car for a full refund. If, however, you find a fault in the car shortly after buying it, and the car was not described as in good, excellent or working condition, you don’t have any rights.

Check the history

There are a number of vehicle history check services online. For a small fee, you can type in the registration number and pull up the car’s history.

This quick and simple check will tell you vital information, such as whether the car has ever been in an accident, the category of the accident, and whether or not it has been reported stolen.

There are different accident categories. Categories C and D mean that the car was in an accident, but was deemed repairable, whereas, Categories A and B indicate that the car was in an accident and deemed irreparable. If you find out the car you are about to buy has been in a category C or D accident you should find out the extent of the damage, and ensure it has been safely repaired. A car that was involved in a category A or B accident should not be on the road, under any circumstances.

If, on the other hand, you discover that the car has been stolen, you won’t be the legal owner and the vehicle will be taken off you, regardless of how much money you’ve handed over for it.

Take it for a test drive

You should always go and take a thorough look at any car before you buy it. Take someone who is knowledgable about cars with you, and get them to take a look under the bonnet. Drive the car around for at least 15 minutes, and see if anything feels odd about it. All genuine sellers should be willing to let you take as much time as you need checking the car over and taking it for a test drive. If they seem hesitant, or if you’re in any doubt over the condition/feel of the car, walk away.

Documents

Insist the buyer shows you the V5C registration document. The V5C will show you the current registered keeper, as well as all other previous registered keepers.

You should also make sure the vehicle you’re buying has all of its MOT certificates, unless it is less than three years old. Has it failed any? What for? Is there any years missing?

Finally…

Don’t feel pressured into buying anything you feel uncertain about. Remember, this is your hard earned money and you need to spend it on a reliable, safe and value-for-money vehicle. Don’t be fooled by insanely low prices which seem too good to be true (they probably are), and don’t let the buyer talk you into a sale.

 

This guest post was written for Winning Back by Izzy Guarella from PassSmart.com; the new way to find a driving instructor in the UK.

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