What to look out for when buying your next used car

Added: 13 October 2017

Checking the outside of the car

First, start with the exterior of the car. Look for signs of a hard life such as body damage like scratches and dents. Keep an eye out for uneven gaps between the panels too, this could mean poor repairs from a previous, and potentially serious, accident.

There can also be tell-tale signs of the car’s previous life in its paintwork. When looking at the car you should see an even colour all over the car. If you are seeing slightly different colours in the paintwork between body panels then that is a major sign that the car has undergone bodywork repair in the past. You should also be on the look-out for any sign of bubbling in the paintwork as this can be a result of rust.

Next up check the lights and indicators, are all of the light settings working (e.g. full-beam, dipped, parking lights) and do the indicators flash visibly.

Check the tyres. As these are the only things keeping you separate from the road they’re quite important! Check they have enough tread and aren’t feathering around the edges. The minimum required tread is 1.6mm!

Things to keep an eye on when checking the interior

On the inside – the mileage should match the wear of the car. If the car has low mileage on the odometer but the plastic on the steering wheel or gear-knob is smoothed over then alarms bells should start ringing. Other signs of wear can sometimes be seen in the fabrics, if the seats and floor mats are frayed then you know the car’s had a long life.

When sat in the driver’s seat make sure everything is working. Are the seatbelts pulling and retracting easily, are the steering wheels and seat adjustments working correctly, does the equipment function as it should – central locking (if the car has it), interior lighting, stereo, electric windows and mirrors, sat-nav. Also if the car has steering wheel controls don’t forget to test them out. Check the car’s ventilation too, be sure that it blows both hot and cold air and if the car has air-con make sure that is working effectively.

Lastly test the back seats out and look in the boot of the car. Make sure the seat-folding mechanisms are working ok and look for a spare wheel (usually found in the boot or underneath the car) and if there is a spare wheel check it’s condition.

Once all of these checks have been made and you’re happy with the car, take it out on the road for a test drive!

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Now that you know what to look for in a used car, search our wide range of used cars here or get in touch with us today.