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Checking a car’s history when buying second hand

There are actions you can take to prevent buying the car that’s been seriously damaged, stolen, or illegally modified. It will also aid you in finding a vehicle that isn’t prone to breaking down.

Conducting the right checks could help you avoid stress and cash in the future.

If you discover something is wrong after buying a second-hand car, it is your responsibility to fix the issue.

It’s important to know that you’ll still be entitled to legally-enforceable rights, even when fail to conduct the necessary check. If there’s a problem in your car (eg it has a wrong mileage measurement or keeps breaking down) it could be that you have an legal right to repair, or the expense of repairs or even all of the amount you paid.

You must ensure that the trader you choose is reliable

If you’re purchasing from the trader (a company that sells cars) you must:

Look for a reputable firm that has a great reputation.
Find an association’s logo (for instance look for a sign that says “trade association” (for example, look for a sign that says trade association (for example, the Retail Motor Industry Federation or the Scottish Motor Trade Association) or a notice that says they adhere to the Motor Ombudsman’s code of conduct This means that you are able to use a trade association when something goes wrong.
Find a dealer who has had their vehicles examined by an independent motoring or engineering company

Auctions are a great way to buy

Auctions are likely to be the most risky method of purchasing a secondhand vehicle. You won’t be able to enjoy the legal protections you can get through a dealer (for instance having the right to return or refunds).

Be sure to read these terms of business thoroughly before submitting your bid.

Find out the history of a car

Making a few basic checks will decrease the chance of buying the car in a fraudulent manner or has suffered significant repairs. It is also possible to determine whether the owner currently has debts on the vehicle.

It’s not difficult or cost a lot. You should think about doing this regardless of where you purchase from.

1. Find out the car’s information by contacting the DVLA

The seller should ask for the vehicle’s:

Registration # (on the license plate)
MOT test number
Model and make

Make use of a free car check service to ensure that what you are told by the seller corresponds to the DVLA’s data.

If the small details aren’t in line then you should inquire with the seller about the details the issue. It could be an error that was made. However, if you suspect that the seller has provided false details, you shouldn’t purchase the car.

If you discover that the information of the vehicle isn’t in line with DVLA records

You must notify the seller’s police if you find that the Log book (V5C Registration Certificate) isn’t in line with the car on the DVLA record.

2. Review the MOT and the history of the vehicle.

Regular MOT tests are required for vehicles to ensure that they’re road-safe. It is important to ensure whether MOT tests have been carried out often throughout the life of the vehicle (most vehicles that are more than three years old must undergo an annual MOT test).

Check with the seller for any issues with the MOT and do not buy the car in the event that you are unsure of the MOT record. The car may not need the MOT, if it had been in use for a time or was registered with SORN (statutory off-road notification).

3. Do a private background check

It’s a good idea conduct a private history check (sometimes known as a ‘data checking’) on the car This will provide crucial information on any issues the vehicle might be suffering from. It can cost as much as PS20.

It will let you know whether:

The car has been reported as stolen.
the seller is still owed money to the seller on the vehicle
the vehicle was previously involved in a serious crash
The car has the correct mileage
the car was written off, fixed and returned to the road

You can conduct a vehicle background check on the internet for websites that verify car information.
Check the car out and take the car for a test drive

It is recommended to look at the vehicle in daylight and preferably in dry weather because it’s difficult to identify the damage to your car when it’s damp. It’s recommended to arrange a meeting at the home of a private seller to ensure that in the event of something going wrong after purchasing the vehicle, you’ll have the address of the seller.

The AA has a handy checklist of what to look for when examining an used vehicle and the papers it comes with. It is important to inquire questions about the car’s history with regards to service.

It is recommended to go to an initial test drive. It is important to ensure that you’re covered to take this test drive.

If you’re covered by your car insurance, make sure you contact your insurance provider to find out if you’re able to drive a vehicle owned by someone else. If you don’t have insurance the private seller’s or trader’s insurance may cover you. they’ll have to inquire.
If you’re not covered,

Don’t try driving a car when there’s no insurance. You’ll be responsible for any damages that you cause, and you may be penalized on your license.

Make sure you drive for at minimum 15 minutes on various kinds of roads. The AA offers a checklist of what to be looking for during the test drive.
If you’re not sure take a look at an independent report

If you’re not certain in this moment it’s probably a good option to consider a different vehicle.

You can however go one step further and request an independent assessment of the vehicle. This will provide complete information on the vehicle’s state of repair and cost between PS100 or PS200.

Independent reports are conducted by motoring companies and other specialists – contact for the Motor Ombudsman for advice on how to obtain an independent report for your region. Motor Ombudsman Motor Ombudsman is a government-backed self-regulatory body that regulates automobile industry.

When you purchase the car The transaction

Do not be afraid to bargain about the price. Start with a low price and let the seller negotiate the price. Be calm and only pay for what you are able to pay for. You can always end the contract when you feel you’re being pressured to pay excessively or purchasing more features.

Be sure to have the original (not the photocopie) of:

Log book (the V5C registration certificate)
the MOT test valid document

Don’t buy a car without a log book.

Taxes for transferring cars

The seller isn’t legally able to transfer any tax on the car that they’ve already paid onto you (the rules on this subject were changed in recent years). You’ll have to pay the taxes on your vehicle as soon as you purchase the vehicle. Sellers will receive the tax back for any amount that remains on the car after it is removed from sale.

Payment methods

There are many things to think about when deciding what to purchase a second hand vehicle.
If you make a payment in cash

Take a look at:

there aren’t any additional fees or the possibility of
There are times when you can earn discounts when you pay cash
If there is a problem with the vehicle, you don’t have the insurance that credit plans offer
You might not feel secure or safe with cash in your pocket in particular if it’s an expensive vehicle

If you use a debit card

You could be protected from issues if your provider is a member of the ‘chargeback’ scheme.

If you are using credit cards, you must have

Take a look at:

you are able to be flexible about paying for larger amounts when you have the funds to make them
You’ll be covered for items priced between PS100 to PS30,000 even if you pay a small portion of the purchase on your credit card (this is known as’section 75 protection)
the interest rates for credit cards are usually higher than the interest rates on a loan arrangement

If you make payment via electronic transfer

Think about:

your bank may set an upper limit for the amount you can transfer directly into someone else’s account
You can make the CHAPS payment however there is a cost make sure to check with your bank
If you’re purchasing from a private seller , they might not be comfortable with giving your bank account information

If you make a payment using the financing arranged by a trader

Think about:

You’ll be required to pay to cover interest, which is more costly.
This could help you purchase a car even if you don’t have the cash in the beginning
you may be protected in the event of a later issue as you could take actions against the finance company and the trader (or in place from the broker)

If you decide to use the finance arrangement you’ve made

Think about:

you’ll be required to pay for interest, and this will cost more
This can assist you in getting an automobile even if you don’t have the money upfront
when you’ve received your money through the company that you borrowed it from, you may make payments using a debit or credit card to secure your purchase.
If there’s a problem in the vehicle and the finance company doesn’t take any responsibility to help you resolve the issue.

Renting a car with a hire purchase

Take a look at:

you won’t be able to own the vehicle until the final payment is paid
You’ll need to make a deposit, typically around 10% of price of the vehicle
There will be a set monthly price – making it more manageable to budget
the car may be taken when you’re unable to pay the payment