Must do checks to complete before buying a used family car

We have been looking for a used family car for a while now, and it is amazing how many places you can buy a used car. We did finally get a great deal, however, whilst going through this process we did learn some important things we thought we would share with you to ensure you avoid the pitfalls we nearly fell into 



Getting the Right Car

When we first started looking for a car, we started to look at what we liked, and not what we needed. When we started making a list of essential requirements the family car needed, it was clear the car we wanted was not right for our situation. 

Therefore, before buying a car, make sure you create a list of your ‘must haves’ for you and your family. A great place to start is costs of running the vehicle, boot size, child seat fixing points and so on. 

Before viewing or test driving a car?

Speak to seller and get as much information about the car before you go on a viewing or test drive. This ensures you get the latest information about the car, and allows you to get an idea of car history. Does it have high mileage? Is the MOT up to date? 

As well as speaking to the seller, do you own research to check for information they may not want to share. A car check can be completed for less than £10, and this will help you learn more about the vehicle. As well as basic car information such as fuel types and engine sizes, you can also see if the car has any outstanding finance, if it has been written-off or stolen and much more. These simple checks, do all the hard work for you and will give you additional peace of mind. 

Online Valuations

Check the ‘going rate’ for the car you looking to buy. Make sure you are checking similar specification and mileage of car to get a better valuation. You may see some cares a few hundred pound cheaper, but they have a far higher mileage, or don’t have a Sat Nav built in. Make sure you read through the adverts fully. 

As a bonus, knowing this information can also help you negotiate, when speaking with the seller.

View a car during the day

If possible, we all know what the UK weather is like, try to arrange a viewing on a day where it is not raining. Also try to ensure you view this during the daytime and don’t arrange viewings early morning or late afternoons as the dark can help the seller hide scratches or dents on the car. Similar, this is why we say don’t view when it has been raining as water droplets can also do the same. 

The Test Drive

A key point to remember before taking a test drive of any car, in particular a private seller, is to ensure you are insured to drive the car. 

Always take a good length test drive, around 30 mins is ideal. This allows you to get a feel of the car, as well as ensure you can drive on different road types and speeds. Also try not to put on the radio whilst driving as this will block out any sounds you may hear whilst driving. 

This time also allows you to check the workings of the car, does the sunroof work, are you and the passengers comfortable, how does it feel to drive etc.  

Also, a main checking point is to test the brakes. In a safe spot, do an emergence stop, and don’t forget to park on a steep hill and test the handbrake too! 


Photos by William Daigneault on Unsplash



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