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Media post: Two Important Checks for Buying a Used Car

Used car. Picture courtesy

Buying a used car comes with many advantages – using depreciation to your advantage and getting a better deal being the main one. But when you’re buying used it makes it harder to know exactly what you’re getting. This post gives you some tips and pointers to help you wise up to the tricks dodgy sellers use when selling used cars.


Clocking is the word used to describe the way dodgy dealers disguise the true mileage of a used car, making it appear to have been driven fewer miles so they can extort more money out of you. So how can you avoid finding yourself in this predicament and shelling out more for a tired out motor?

Check the vehicle inside and out for signs of wear

Check areas like the front of the bonnet for high-speed stone chips (indicative of heavy motorway driving), worn pedals, wheel and upholstery. If the mileage looks low, but the wear and tear indicates otherwise, this is a warning sign.

Check MOT history and service records

This should be willingly given and easily available from your dealer if they’re trustworthy. You can even contact garages for the recorded mileage at the time they had the car in.

Penalties do exist in the UK to stop this from happening as regulations state that a seller must disclose the fact that the mileage has been altered. The European Parliament bans firms that wind back the clock on vehicles. So make sure you choose a reputable dealership like Shelbourne Motors, for instance. The Sale of goods Act 1979 stipulates that when you deceive or misrepresent a customer about a product or service for a monetary gain, it is in fact a crime. Despite this – people still try their luck.

How can you tell if the vehicle is stolen?

Make sure your chosen car has the V5C document. This registration document shows the registered owners, past and present – not the person in possession of the vehicle, so you can directly contact them if you have any questions about the servicing, mileage or modifications for example. Watch out for the following:

  • Watch out for missing V5C documents
  • Make sure the V5C is legitimate, valid with no spelling mistakes or missing watermarks.
  • Ensure the details like name and address match that of the person selling the car – request that you check their ID for this – driver’s license or passport.
  • Check the identification details on the car match that on the V5C document with no alteration.

These are a couple of the main ways you can make sure the car you’re looking to buy is legitimate

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