Buying a Used Car? Here’s a 11 Point Checklist to Help You Make an Informed Decision | #CP

My current PCP deal is coming to an end on my current car and we have now began to explore all of our options. One of the options available to me is looking at investing in a nearly used car and to help myself and others avoid some of the most common pitfalls when buying a used car online or offline from a dealer or a stranger, i have put together an 11 point check-lists:

1. How much can you afford?
A good rule of thumb to remember that your payment should be no more than 20% of your net pay. Why? So you can afford to pay for any future issues or replacement parts.

2. Look for rust and leaking fluids
If you find rust it means that the metal on the car is breaking down. Which means over time, rust will continue to eat away through the vehicle causing real damage.
- ensure you check underneath the card, hinges and doors
- lift up the pads and carpet on the floor and trunk
- check to see if any fluids have leaked recently

Don't forget to undertake your winter checks, i wrote a post on this a couple of weeks back here.

3. What's under the hood
You don't need to be a mechanic to spot problems under the hood. Check from rust, dents, visible damage, or even animals! If you see anything unfamiliar don't be afraid to ask the owner. Newer parts will stand out, which will show you that it has recently been repaired or updated.

4. Check the colour of the fluids
Most of the fluids in your car should look clear, should your transmission fluid look black or smell burnt then you know that it hasn't been changed and or serviced in a long time.

5. Check for warning lights
If you see a warning light present then this should be a red flag. There might not be a huge problem with the car, but you should not buy a car if you do not know what the issue is and i would ask them to fix it before purchase. Do not buy in good faith, the problem could be different from what they have communicated.

6. Brake Check 
One good way of checking the state of the breaking system without getting your hands dirty is to ensure that the brakes don't vibrate when you use them, I would also look out and listen for squeaking and scraping sounds. Spot any of these and they need replacing before purchase.

7. Inspect the glass 
A tiny chip or crack in your windscreen could spread, causing reduced visibility and could potentially shatter. Depending on where you are in the world is can be illegal to knowingly drive with a cracked window screen. If you spot damage ask for the owner / dealership to reduce the screen before purchase.

8. Find the vehicle history
You can check the MOT history of any used vehicle for free on the government website right here:

By looking at the history you can see the following:
  • if it passed or failed 
  • the mileage recorded when it was tested 
  • where each test was done 
  • what parts failed at each test, and if any parts had minor problems
  • when its next MOT is due
9. Check the reviews
Don't just check the reviews of the car make and model. Make sure you do your research on the dealership and owner before you buy. You want to buy from someone with confidence and you want to know that customer service is important to them, Just in case there are issues with the car, you want to be well looked after. The KAP Motors' group is one i would personally recommend as a starting point.

If you are looking to sell your car to raise the cash for a new car, then i recommend selling your car via Gumtree's sell my car service, which is free, take a look: 

10. How long has it been on the market
If the car has been up for sale for a considerable duration then i it worth asking yourself why this might be the case? Have other been looked at the cars and it hasn't met their high standards?

11. Research the right car
Look at a couple of options, the car you want might not be the car you need. Looking online for reviews, videos and images will help you build-up a picture of how the car will suit you and you current lifestyle. 

Thanks for reading folks. If you have any other pearls of wisdom please do share.

Karl Young

Part-time daddy and lifestyle blogger. Father of 2 boys under 2. Golfer, scare-fan, tea-lover, traveller, squash and poker player. I write on the @HuffPostUK

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