Signs O’ The Times: What To Look For In A Used Car


Cars have become a huge necessity in most people’s lives. We rely on them for so many reasons, such as during the school run and in our daily commute. So, as you can probably tell, whenever something goes wrong with the family car, it quickly becomes a big priority to get it fixed and back on the road again. But what if that isn’t possible, and you need to write it off? It’s time to go out and shop around for a new vehicle!

Unfortunately, cars have become very expensive in recent years. As the average income of most families has stagnated over the years, many households are unable to find the cash needed to purchase brand new vehicles so have to buy their cars second hand. The majority of second-hand cars are in perfectly good condition and reasonably priced. However, it is always important to be aware that there are still some scammers out there who will try and pull the wool over your eyes and sell you a car that isn’t all that it seems. To ensure you aren’t sold an old banger, there are some things you always need to look out for when you are buying a used car. Read on to find out more!


The Clock

When you are looking at a used car that you are considering purchasing, always take a look at the clock. Some sellers practice ‘clocking’. This is when they turn back the clock so that it looks like the car has done a lot fewer miles than what it has actually done during its lifespan. The lower mileage it has, the more they can then sell it for. However, clocking is an illegal practice and you should not buy a car if you have your suspicions. The best way to figure out if a car has been clocked is to look at its other parts. For instance, if the pedals have been worn and steering wheel have been worn, then it could be an old car, which should have done quite a few miles.

Small Engines

If you are trying to save a bit of extra cash on your used vehicle, you should try and find a vehicle that has a small engine. Generally speaking, the smaller the engine, the less you will have to pay for the car. Not only that, though, but smaller engines also mean smaller insurance premiums. This is all because a car with a small engine won’t be able to go at very high speeds, which makes it a safer vehicle than one with a large engine. And insurance providers prefer to insure safe cars as it means they will need to pay less out if anything happens!


The Service History

You should ask the seller to provide you with the car’s complete service history. The majority of cars will need some work carrying out on them every couple of years or so, so there is a good chance that the seller will have a lot of paperwork regarding this. It’s really worth your time going through it all to make sure that there are no warning signals that the car doesn’t actually work quite as well as what the seller is making out. If they don’t have a service history to give you, you should ask them why. There might be a perfectly good reason for this. If they do give you one, and you notice a persistent fault, it could be worth looking elsewhere for a vehicle. If everything seems fine with the service history and you purchase the car, you should speak to a company like Carchex that offers a used-car warranty. This will partly cover the costs of any work that you need to carry out on your new car, and will help you keep saving in the long term.


Outstanding Finance

If there is any outstanding finance on a vehicle, then it is illegal for the owner to sell it. This is because the car is still technically owned by the finance supplier until all of the debt has been paid off. So, make sure you ask about any finance that could be left on the car. If you do buy a car that still has outstanding payments, the finance provider could reclaim the vehicle from you, and they will not reimburse the money you paid for it. One way to get to the bottom of this without asking the seller is to carry out a car data check. Most dealers will do this before they put a car up for sale on their forecourt, but it’s best to double check with them that they have done so.

CO2 Emissions

Different car makes emit different levels of CO2. The CO2 emissions are something that you should look into before you commit yourself to buy a used vehicle. This could be good for your wallet as cars that have low emissions won’t pay as much in duties. In fact, if your choice of car produces less than 100g of CO2/ kilometer, you won’t have to pay any duties at all.


You need to make sure that a used car will come with its original handbook. If it doesn’t, you should see about buying a replacement, though this can be very expensive. The handbook will be full of important information about how the car’s various systems work. You should study the section on the security system so that you understand the various security features and how to correctly lock the car.


Test Drive

Before you hand over your money, make sure that you take the car for a quick spin. All sellers should agree to a test drive. This gives you the chance to get a feel for the auto and make sure that it operates as well as it should. If something doesn’t seem right, you might be better off looking at a different car.

Hopefully, you are never scammed by a used-car seller. It’s always important to stay aware while looking at cars!

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