Buying a Second-Hand Car? Here are some top tips!

It’s always nice walking into a car dealer showroom and being able to choose your very own car, but unfortunately, not all of us are able to purchase a brand new car! Sometimes we look at alternatives to purchasing a car, looking on sites like Gumtree or even popping down to your local garage. In reality, buying a second-hand car can be a very painful experience!

I can speak from experience as the first car I purchased, a Peugeot 106, failed its first MOT with myself. The cost to get the work done to get it road legal was more than the car was worth! Here, I learnt the hard way of buying second-hand, from now on there are some handy tips that I will be sticking with every time I think about purchasing a second-hand car.

I thought I would share those with you today!

Go to a dealer

It’s easy to purchase a car from a friend or a complete stranger, but buying from a garage gives you more legal protection in the event that problems arise in the future. A credible car dealer will share full car history with you, including any accidents or repairs carried out on the car. Looking for second-hand cars in Brighton? Worry no more. Choose a reliable dealer like KAP Motors Group and leave the rest to them! It’s also good to research dealers online, you’re able to do this by searching for reviews and seeing what people are speaking about them.

Check the car’s history

It’s good to run a couple of online checks before viewing a car, the internet is your friend here as you can check what details the DVLA holds on the car including MOT status/history of its tests, reasons for any failures or advisory items identified. When you first view the car, ask the previous owner for the paperwork. A good car owner is one who has cared for the car and will keep all receipts for any repairs/services.

Take your time when looking through these documents and double check that it has been looked after like, regular servicing, brakes/tyres have been changed regularly, has there been any damage to cause problems underneath. With tyres check that all four match and have good tread left on them, the chances are the owner hasn’t skimped on maintenance generally.

Start it up

Noises from cars are one way of hearing if everything is working how it should, get the engine started, have the bonnet up and listen to it carefully. Of course, it’s not going to be quiet but listen out for anything that doesn’t sound quite right. Grinding, whistling, screeching, whining are some warning signs that something isn’t right!

Go for a test drive

Noises or even signs can be spotted by driving the car, in all cases, you should go for a test drive, keep the stereo low to allow yourself to listen out for anything unusual as you’re driving. Allow your instincts to run wild and test the car, go through all the gears, keep an ear out for any strange noises and make sure you don’t forget about the reverse gear. What you’re mostly testing here is whether or not the car drives well.

Take your time to make the right decision

Sometimes I do wish I continued looking before I purchased my MG ZR, I wasn’t 100% about it but wanted a car and was excited by it! Everything looked good but of course, there was something in me that was a little bit unsure. I would definitely say, if everything looks good, take a breather and sleep on it. Maybe even speak with friends and family to get their opinion.

If you have any doubts at all, walk away from buying the car because with a private sale you won’t have suitable legal protection in the event that problems arise in the future.

I really hope these tips are helpful! Don’t be swayed by the first thing you see,
as the saying goes, there are plenty more fish in the sea.


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*This post is in collaboration with KAP Motor Group, for more information please see my About Page.


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