As the price of used cars go up and up, many of us are turning to buying used cars as a way to keep costs down.

Buying a used car can save you huge amounts of money. However, it’s important to be aware of a few things that might just cost money to fix in the long run.  In this article we list the 6 top things to look out for when buying a used car, from the overall efficiency of the vehicle, right through to the condition of the engine.

1. Familiarise yourself with the vehicle history


It’s important to check the vehicle history by VIN of any vehicle that you are buying. This will outline the entire history of the vehicle. Things to look out for include whether the vehicle has been stolen or has an outstanding loan against it. Most importantly it will tell you if the vehicle has been serviced or not.

2. Do your research


One of the golden rules of buying a new car is to research it as much as possible. You should go online first to check the marketplace for prices on cars from different commercial and private retailers. Don’t forget to contact garages directly to compare the specifications of certain vehicles and to compare price.

3. Know your budget


Set your budget at a price that you can comfortably afford. Before you set out to obtain quotes keep in mind that your budget might need to include maintenance and running costs. Remember to get a few quotes and not just settle on one.

4. Ask lots of questions


A common mistake made by people when buying used cars is the fact that they do not gather all the information to need to make an informed purchasing decision. Many buyers do not have the full picture or a clear understanding of the history of the vehicle. This is probably the single biggest mistake a buyer of a second hand vehicle will make. It is wise to make sure that you have no doubts in your mind about your potential purchase. If you do, then you should get these resolved as soon as possible with the seller.

5. Do a thorough inspection


The only way you can know that a thorough inspection has been carried out on a vehicle is if you have asked a qualified mechanic to do it. An experienced mechanic is the best person to identify small details like the condition of the seatbelts and tyres, through to any signs of rust or decay.

6. Have a test drive


Never purchase a used car unless you know how it runs. It would be a mistake to give over your hard earned cash for a car that you have not even tested. Some of the important things to check when out on the road are gear changes (are they comfortable?) and the steering wheel (does it move smoothly or is there some resistance?).


James is a passionate 'petrol-head' that loves to write about cars for When he's not writing about cars he likes to spend his weekend driving them whenever and wherever he can!

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