Warning: Private methods cannot be final as they are never overridden by other classes in /home/ukcarfinancecouk/public_html/wp-content/plugins/wp-rocket/inc/classes/Buffer/class-cache.php on line 341

Warning: Private methods cannot be final as they are never overridden by other classes in /home/ukcarfinancecouk/public_html/wp-content/plugins/wp-rocket/inc/classes/traits/trait-memoize.php on line 87
Buying a used car checklist - UK Car Finance
  • Low rate car finance

    Low rate car finance

  • No deposit options

    No deposit options

  • Reviews

    Five Star Reviews Star

  • Decision in minutes

    Decision in minutes

There are so many reasons why drivers love used cars! From lower purchase prices to endless amounts of choice, it’s no surprise the second-hand car market always comes out on top. When you buy a used car from one of our trusted dealers, you can be assured your car has already undergone many checks and tests. However, brushing up on your second-hand car knowledge and what you should check when buying a used car can still be a good idea. Read our checklist for buying a used car below! 

Checklist before buying a used car. 

  1. Does the car have all its supporting documents?
  2. Does the paintwork have any scratches, scrapes, or obvious colour differences?
  3. Are the tyres in good condition?
  4. Does the mileage and age of the car look consistent?
  5. Are the fluid levels topped up?
  6. Do all the electrics work?
  7. Are there any engine leaks or strange noises?
  8. Does the car run smoothly on a test drive?

Should you buy a new or used car?

✅ 1. Does the car have all its supporting documents?

There are several documents which need to be supplied when buying a used car. The V5C vehicle logbook needs to be present as you will need it to tax the car and is used to verify the DVLA of where the car is registered. Ask the seller or dealer if you can see the V5C to make sure they are the current registered keeper, and all the information matches the vehicle you are interested in. You can also check the MOT status of a car online and do a service history check for added peace of mind.

✅ 2. Does the paintwork have any scratches, scrapes, or obvious colour differences?

It’s worth remembering you are buying a pre-loved car which means you can’t expect the car will be in pristine condition. However, one of the first things you’ll be drawn to is how the paintwork looks. Take a moment to have a look around and underneath the vehicle for any dents, scratches, scrapes, or missing paintwork. Also, take note of whether all the paint panels look the same colour. If not, it could indicate they have been replaced in the event of an accident.

✅ 3. Are the tyres in good condition?

Don’t be scared to get up close and personal with the tyres and check them over properly. Do they look in good condition? You can use a simple 20p trick to check the tread depth of the tyre. If tyres have less than 3mm of tread, they will have to be replaced soon so it’s worth checking. Also, check if the car comes with a spare tyre but chances are most used cars nowadays won’t come with a spare tyre. 

✅ 4. Does the mileage and age of the car look consistent?

To work out if you’re getting a car which is good value for money, look at its mileage and age. As a general rule, you should look for a car which has around 10,000 miles per year. For example, if the car is 5 years old, it should have no more than 50,000 miles on the clock. High-mileage cars can be a concern as they are more likely to have issues or problems in the near future. 

✅ 5. Are the fluid levels topped up?

When buying a used car, don’t be afraid to get under the bonnet and check the fluid levels. Fluid checks can include engine oil, brake fluid and power steering. It can be easy to check your engine oil, brake fluid and power steering fluid levels by identifying the appropriate places underneath the bonnet. They will all usually feature a minimum and maximum mark and any fluid levels below the minimum mark can indicate the vehicle has been neglected. If any of these components indicate a possible leak, it’s advised to avoid buying this vehicle. 

✅ 6. Do all the electrics work?

An easy check to complete when buying a second-hand car is making sure all the electrics work. Try the windows, the air-conditioning, the radio, interior lighting, and anything else you can think of. If something is amiss, it can be a quick fix, but it could also give you grounds for a negotiation on the price.

✅ 7. Are there any engine leaks or strange noises?

Checking the engine is in good working condition is one of the most important aspects of second-hand car buying. Before starting the engine, take a look under the bonnet when the engine is cold and check for any leaks or anything which doesn’t look right. You should then get into the vehicle, open the window, and listen to how the engine sounds when starting. The engine oil light is one of the most common dashboard lights and should also go out soon after the engine is started. If not, it could indicate a possible issue.

✅ 8. Does the car run smoothly on a test drive?

We always recommend you test drive any car you are looking to buy.  It could be perfect for your budget but it’s not worth it if it’s not fit for purpose or you hate how it drives. Whilst you’re out on the road, try to drive on different types of roads and take the vehicle out for at least 30 minutes. This gives you a better insight into how the car drives and if there are any glaringly obvious problems. 

Get a used car finance quote.

Get a free, no-obligation finance quote and if approved, you can pick your used car from ANY reputable UK dealership!


Notice: ob_end_flush(): Failed to send buffer of zlib output compression (0) in /home/ukcarfinancecouk/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 5420

Notice: ob_end_flush(): Failed to send buffer of zlib output compression (0) in /home/ukcarfinancecouk/public_html/wp-content/plugins/really-simple-ssl/class-mixed-content-fixer.php on line 107