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What To Know When Buying a Second Hand Car

Second hand cars are a great option for saving some money or upgrading your model on a budget, but there can be many pitfalls when buying second hands cars that could lead to bigger issues down the line. Whether buying a second hand car for the first time or the fifth time, there are many aspects to consider before you hand over any money or sign any paperwork. Used cars can have a variety of issues that aren’t visible and making sure you know what to look for in a second hand car can save you trips in and out of the garage and costly bills.

Check The Documents

Checking the car’s documents thoroughly is the first thing you will need to do when buying a second hand car. All cars should have a V5C registration document, without it you can’t tax the car so don’t accept any excuses for not having one. A V5C document should have a watermark. It shouldn’t contain any spelling mistakes. Always check that the details on the V5C are correct, this sounds obvious but never makes assumptions. People who want to scam you rely on you not checking details carefully, which could mean you getting sold a car different to the one you viewed. The number plate, Vehicle Identification Number, the engine number and the colour of the car will all be on the V5C, it is worth checking that these details match the second hand car you are buying. You should also make sure you have a full record of the car’s MOT history especially if it is an older model. Ask about the reliability of the car, get details on previous accidents or damage, be forward about the details you need to know and watch out for any information that doesn’t sound right or is contradictory. Remember, this will be your car and any problems it has will become yours. Don’t be afraid to be direct and scrupulous about the details you demand. An honest seller will have no problem divulging this information.

Check for Accidental Damage

Some people sell on cars because the cost of the work needed on them is more than the car is worth. They may get cheap work done on the car to cover obvious signs of damage and then sell it on for more than it’s worth, using your money to purchase another, better car for themselves. Make sure to check for signs of inconsistent spacing between metalwork and panels. Also, check the paintwork for mismatched colours as these are signs of repeated or substantial repair work. Wiper blades, side mirrors, windscreen washers, tyres and air conditioning should always be checked. Less obvious places to check include under the bonnet or in the boot, the inner welding of the car and window seals. Any signs of damage or repair work to these systems can indicate future problems for you which can be costly in the future. Of course, some people will take a car with a few minor issues if they can get a good price or the damage is minimal or manageable. This is your decision to make and depends entirely on your preferences and budget. Just be sure to have all the information of any accidental damage or extensive repair work before you decide which second hand car to buy.

Check the Locking System

When buying a second hand car, always check the locking system. Whether manual or electric you need to check if it is temperamental. The keys should work remotely and you should be checking spare keys too. Make sure to check all doors, including back doors if the car has them. The locking system should also include the boot, windows, sunroof and petrol cap, so make sure you check all of them. Test the windows close properly and smoothly, make sure the boot closes by the latch as well as the lock and check the sunroof mechanism works correctly. Modern smart keys are expensive to replace, particularly the master key provided by some manufacturers to programme new spare keys to the car. Getting stuck with a broken or faulty car key or locking system can be more costly than you’d think.

Safety Checks

Safety checks should be carried out by a dealership before they sell on a car, which is why it’s always best to find someone reliable. However, if you’re considering buying from a private seller or you have concerns over the reliability of the dealership you chose, carrying out a safety check is important for identifying dangers with the second hand car. The tyres should have a 3mm tread that meets the new requirements. Tyres that don’t meet the minimum will need replacing which you will have to pay for, adding extra costs on top of the car. If the model comes with a spare tyre make sure to check this too. It should be in usable condition. If the car is being sold with extras such as a tyre pump or sealant kit make sure they are workable. Check the seat belts work correctly by pulling sharply to test the retractor. Also, check for cuts or fraying on the seatbelts as this can affect their reliability. Airbags and warning lights should all be checked to make sure they are intact and still function correctly. Check that all car lights work properly, replacement bulbs can be expensive.

Second Hand Cars from German Specialists

If you are looking for a second hand car that is reliable, high quality and competitively priced, German Specialists Ltd are experts in German model cars. We sell both new and used German cars that go through thorough checks and services so that you get the car you want without the worry of faults or future costs. All the cars we sell are reliable and in excellent condition. If you’d like to find out more about buying a second hand car get in touch with German Specialists Ltd. Give us a call on 0161 476 4422 or fill out our online contact form.

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