What to Check When Buying A Car From A Private SellerĀ 

White car in background. Keys to car being handed over from one person to the other.

Buying a used car from a private seller? This can be a great way to make savings on a vehicle, but it is important that you know what to check so that you can avoid common scams and ensure that you are getting a high-quality vehicle.

When you know how to navigate the private used car market, it is often the cheapest and easiest way to get a new set of wheels.

It is important that you know what checks to carry out because you do not get the same consumer protection when you buy privately. In addition to this, there are many used scams to be aware of and sellers that are trying to get more money than what the car is worth. A common example is selling a car with tyres that are below the tread depth limit, which would mean that you need to buy a new set of Michelin tyres before you can drive legally. 

So, what checks need to be done when buying a car privately?

Check Registration

A good place to start is to check that the car is registered to the seller otherwise you could be buying a stolen car! You should check that the owner has the V5C logbook and that the VIN number matches that of the one on the car. This ensures proof of ownership and means that you will actually own the car when it is purchased.

Servicing & MOT History

You do not want to buy a car that has not been properly maintained over the years as this could cost you a fortune. This is why you should always check the service history and the MOT history. This is also a chance to check the odometer reading matches what is stated in the service history as well as see if there are any recurrent issues that the car has.

Test Drive

In addition to checking the vehicle over, you must also always take it for a test drive. Even just turning the engine on can reveal issues, plus you will want to put the car through its paces to make sure that it works properly and has no major issues. Always make sure that you have insurance in place when taking a test drive for a car.

Check the Payment Method

You also want to check the payment method and make sure that it is not suspicious. You should educate yourself on common used car scams and avoid anyone that asks for cash – this is suspicious. A bank transfer is the best and safest method to buy a car privately. 

These are a few of the main checks to carry out that should help you to navigate the private used car market and find the right car for you. 

About author

Poppy loves personal finance almost as much as she loves her two cats, Tif and Taz.
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