What to look for when buying a second-hand vehicle

Buying a new car is an exciting process, and even if that car isn’t brand-new (meaning off the showroom floor), finding and buying a vehicle can be quite overwhelming. The second-hand car market is filled with great deals, but at the same time, there are always opportunities for scamsters to try to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you’re shopping for a used vehicle.

Buy from a reputable dealer where possible

While there are surely a variety of trustworthy private sellers out there, in general, the best place to buy a second-hand vehicle is from a dealer that is accredited and does their own vehicle checks before selling a pre-owned car. The benefit of purchasing a vehicle from a dealer that specialises in second-hand vehicles is that these often have a list of mechanical checks the vehicle has to adhere to before being sold, which implies that the chances of buying a mechanically sound car is much higher.

Check the service history

If the car you are looking to buy has a service book, that’s your first port of call. Cars that have some history of maintenance and servicing are generally mechanically a better bet than those who have no paper trail pertaining to how they were looked after. The best second-hand car to buy is the one that has been regularly serviced at a reputable workshop. It can also help you to see when the next service is due when tyres need to be changed, or whether major mechanical issues have been seen to or should be cause for concern.

Check the crash and criminal history of your car

Did you know you can conduct a proper background check on any car you want to buy? By paying a small fee to a website such as AutoTrader’s Vin Check, you can draw a history that indicates whether the car was in an accident worthy of claiming from insurance, whether there were any police interventions due to being stolen or hijacked, and how many owners it has had. This is a useful tool if you have your doubts about bodywork that doesn’t align and the current owner seems sketchy about providing information.

Take a mechanic along

One of the best tips for buying a second-hand car is to have a mechanic or vehicle expert along when viewing a car. Giving a professional the opportunity to inspect the bodywork for damage indicating an accident, look under the bonnet for signs of potential mechanical issues such as oil leaks, odd sounds, or smoke from the exhaust, and ask some important questions will go a long way to finding out whether you are spending money on a car that is good value, or being scammed. With these basic tips for how to approach buying a second-hand car, you should find yourself in a good position to avoid being scammed.

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