Common questions you should ask the seller before buying a used car

What you should ask before purchasing a used car

Browsing second hand cars with the view to buy should be an exciting experience. There are plenty of great runners out there in need of a home, but before you drive off into the sunset in the ride of your dreams, it’s essential to find out as much information as possible.

Questions to ask when buying your first used car

When buying second-hand there are a few things you’ll need to ask to ensure the sale is both legal and worthwhile. Important questions include:

Does this car have outstanding finance?

If a car is subject to outstanding finance, it can’t be legally sold. Therefore, if you find a make and model you really like – be sure to check out its history.

Will I be able to easily insure this vehicle?

According to the Consumer Rights Act, any car sold by a dealer must be ‘of satisfactory quality.’ It should also be ‘fit for purpose’ and ‘as described.’ If a vehicle has been recorded as an insurance write-off, the dealer is required to tell you this fact by law to save unnecessary disappointment.

Can I see the logbook?

When buying a used car, always ask to see the logbook. Reputable sellers will be able to show you the car’s current registration certificate (V5C) in an unaltered condition. If the ‘new keeper supplement’ is missing, you will have little proof of car ownership.

Can I see the car’s service history?

Knowing what work has been carried out on the car could help sway your decision. It’s also useful to know the car’s history just in case you have any problems down the line and need to visit the garage.

Can I see the car’s MOT certificates?

If the vehicle you’re interested in is older than three years old, it must have an MOT certificate. Again, respected dealers should have an MOT record for each of their vehicles and if they do not – this should raise concerns.

Is there any warranty? If so, what does it cover?

If the car comes with a warranty, make sure you understand the full terms and conditions. Before you complete the sale, always ask any questions you might have.

Questions to ask when buying a used car from a private party

In general, buying from a dealer is usually considered the safest option as you are protected by the Consumer Rights Act. That said, there are many private sellers out there offering perfectly good vehicles, but be sure pop these questions on your used car buyer’s checklist.

Are you the registered keeper?

Only the registered keeper has the legal rights to sell a car. So, always make sure you are talking to the right person and double check all details if you need to.

Can I inspect the vehicle?

Buying online without seeing the vehicle first is becoming increasingly common. While dealers are required to sell cars that are to a quality standard, you will have less protection when dealing with a private seller.For this reason, it is worth inspecting the vehicle you like in person.

Can I take the car for a test drive?

All might seem well, but taking the car for a test drive will expose anything a seller might be trying to cover. If possible, take the car for a good spin and ask about anything you’re unsure of.

Can I see the car’s mileage?

When buying from a private seller or a dealership, ask to view the car’s V5C to check whether the mileage has increased at a normal rate. If the car is old, or has had many owners but the mileage is low, the odometer might have been rolled back.

If you are in need of a high-quality runner, Carwise offers a great selection of used vehicles in excellent condition. Carwise dealerships at Maidstone, Dunstable and Harlow open seven days a week to meet your requirements.