Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 5th November 2019

From classic cars to modern motors, buying a used car online can sometimes be a difficult process, often leaving people confused and occasionally ripped off. So, with this in mind we wanted to go through some top tips to help you make the best decision when purchasing a used car online. 

Go Through The Paperwork Thoroughly 

It’s essential that you read over any paperwork as thoroughly as you can. This includes doing an HPI check for any outstanding finance and mileage, and of course you need to make sure that the car is able to be legally sold. 

You also need to check for a V5C, and it’s advisable to request for any purchase receipts. It’s always a good idea to enquire about the car’s servicing history, and check that it also has a valid MOT. Keep in mind that you should be able to go through the car’s history online, if you get the registration in advance.

Arrange to See And Inspect The Car

Of course, even if you’re using an online seller to buy a used car, it’s essential that you arrange to go and view the vehicle so that you can give it an inspection. Make sure you take a look under the bonnet to check that fluid levels are topped up, and be on the lookout for oil splatter, as this could indicate a previous leak. When negotiating price, be sure to check the age of the battery and the cambelt.

Have a quick look under the car as well to see if there are any signs of rust or other leaks, and it’s a good idea to inspect the underside of the oil filler cap for white spots. If you notice any, this could indicate a failed head gasket. Check the car’s mileage, and test out everything, including the steering wheel, pedals, gear stick, wipers and lights for any wear and tear or faults. 

Take the car for a test drive 

When it comes to really seeing the value of any used car, it’s important  that you take it out for a test drive if possible. If your insurance doesn’t allow you to drive it, then ask the current owner to take you out for a quick spin.

Get them to perform all the basics, such as emergency stop, and keep an eye on the gauges to make sure they’re all working as they should. Check that the car’s steering is straight, and that there’s no pulling to one side or juddering at speed. Also, it’s worth keeping your ears open to listen out for any unusual noises. 

Once you’re happy with the car, make sure that the handover process is official. Fill out all the correct transfer sections on the V5C, and of course ensure that the owner does the same. Check that the MOT is valid and get the car insured and taxed in your name.  

It’s difficult to know if you’re getting a good deal online, or whether you can trust the seller, so it’s always worth following these tips. Even if you’re not a car expert, sticking to these tips can at least give you the peace of mind that you’re making the most informed decision. 

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