Quotedevil has put together a list of helpful tips for those of you are considering buying a vehicle in the UK. Make sure you do your homework and speak to your UK car insurance company before forking out for a vehicle with a UK reg. Remember you will have to pay transport costs if you buy the car across the Irish Sea as well as the VRT to have the car re-registered in Ireland.
- Having a Car History Check is Vital
Finding out the history of the car you are thinking of purchasing is vital. Has the vehicle been previously written off or scrapped? Is the vehicle still financed? Has it been stolen? These are all things you will need to find out before you consider buying. A lot of websites such as autotrader.co.uk offer a vehicle check facility, some for free and some for a small fee but it is definitely worth it. Statistics from the AutoTrader show that in 2016 1 in 10 cars in the UK were recorded as an insurance write off, 1 in 8 cars still had outstanding finance that had to be paid, and 88,595 vehicles were reported as stolen.
- Know the Market Value of the Vehicle before Purchase
The quickest and simplest way to research the used car market is to go online. There are hundreds of websites in Ireland and the UK to choose from when it comes to buying a second hand or used car. By looking online you will be able to get a good idea of the market value of the car you are interested in. There are always plenty of vehicles available, so make sure you shop around and remember to consider things like the number of previous owners, the vehicle’s service history, the vehicle’s mileage etc and not just the price!
- View the car in Daytime
This may seem obvious but often times sellers of used cars will try to convince you to view the car at night so that they can hide its most obvious flaws. Daylight is essential when it comes to inspecting a used car. Things to look out for when viewing the vehicle’s body include:
1. Uneven tyre wear
2. Evidence of repainting or respraying (this could mean the vehicle has been involved in an accident)
3. Check the vehicle’s bodyline for consistency. Check for any panel beating or evidence of previous bumps or dents (again an uneven bodyline could mean the vehicle has been involved in an accident)
- Make sure to see the registration documentation
This is one of the most important things when it comes buying a used car. It’s the best way of determining if the car has been stolen. Start off by asking the seller to produce a form of ID to make sure they are the listed owner as stated on the VLC/vehicle logbook or V5C logbook as it is called in the UK. Next, make sure the registration number and vehicle details match the vehicle in question. Then check that the chassis number is the same as on the vehicle. Lastly, check the sales receipt that proves ownership and asks for proof of the end of any finance agreement the previous owner may have had.
- Service History & Previous MOT Certificates (to ensure it’s not stolen)
Checking the vehicles MOT history is vital before you purchase a car. It’s the equivalent of checking a car’s NCT history if you were buying in Ireland. Simply get the registration number of the vehicle and go to https://www.gov.uk/check-mot-history. Here you will be able to see the results of any MOTs carried out on the vehicle in England, Wales or Scotland since 2005. It will show you if the car passed or failed, the mileage recorded each time it was tested, what parts failed during each test if any parts had any minor issues and also when the next MOT is due.
- Be wary if mileage seems too low for its age
It is true that in the last few years it is becoming more difficult to spot a clocked car. With people changing car more often or using public transport to commute there is no “typical mileage” for a vehicle’s age. It may be worthwhile getting a mechanic to check if the vehicle’s mileage has been tampered with, especially if it looks too good to be true! A good tip is to look for significant wear and tear of the car’s controls – a very shiny or worn down steering wheel, worn away pedal rubbers, worn indicator or light switch markings – all suggest heavy usage.
- Check the tread depth on tyres
In the UK, like in Ireland, the minimum legal tyre tread depth is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tread width and round its whole circumference. You should check the tread depth in a number of places on each tyre before purchasing the vehicle. Bring a small ruler with you when viewing the vehicle as it’s easy to check and can be the difference between a safe and unsafe car.
- Always Test drive the Car
Never commit to purchasing a vehicle unless you have taken it for a test drive. It is essential to make sure that the car handles and drives correctly.
- Is the engine starting without any problems?
- Are the gears changing easily?
- How does the steering feel?
- Does the car pull to one side?
- Are the brakes in perfect working order?
- Does the engine make any strange sounds?
- Are any of the warning lights coming on?
- Can you get a smell of smoke from the engine?
- Is there any smoke coming from the exhaust?
These are all things you should ask yourself when test driving the car