If you’re about to buy a used car, then one instant online check could save you £1000s in repairs and possibly save your life. Read on to find out the details of this essential tool for all used car buyers across the UK.
What is the problem with buying a used car?
Most used cars are perfectly safe and legitimate, but some will be potential money pits or even death traps. It’s easy to make a used vehicle look perfect on the outside but it’s what’s under the skin that really matters.
How do I find out if the car is safe?
The best way to check is to pay a qualified mechanic to examine the vehicle, but that’s not always possible and can be expensive. However, there is a way of revealing just how well maintained the car you’re considering is.
How can I give the car a free online check, then?
The Driver Vehicle Standards Agency offers a free online tool allowing potential buyers to investigate a car’s MOT history, simply by entering its number plate and make.
How can this help me decide if the car is a good – or safe – buy?
The website will give you a full history of the car’s MOTs from the first to most recent. You will see if it passed or failed and the reasons why. This will give you good insight as to how it’s been treated. For example, failing regularly on worn brakes could suggest it’s been driven hard and furiously. Tyre-tread failure and faulty suspension will indicate a patchy maintenance history – helping you make informed decisions.
What about clocking – can I check the used car’s mileage is genuine?
You’ll certainly be able to get a good idea. The MOT history records the mileage at each test date, so a total that’s only increased by a few miles over the year – despite warn discs as a fail notice, for example – could suggest someone’s not being completely honest. ‘Clocking’ is a big problem at the moment, so make sure you make sure you check this invaluable information.
How can I get an idea of the car’s current condition?
The car might have a current MOT, but this online check will also reveal advisory notes on areas that will need working on soon. One sample car we looked at had advisory notes indicating that seatbelt mounts were becoming corroded and would soon need remedial work. It also noted brake discs were worn close to the limit – meaning more work and expense. With this information in hand, you could expect to shave several hundred pounds off the asking price or help you decide to simply walk away.
Where can I check the MOT history of a car I am going to buy?
Simple – just click here.