4 Top Tips for Choosing a Second-Hand Car

If, like me, you’re pretty clueless when it comes to cars and all of their intricate mechanics, you’ll no doubt find the prospect of buying a second-hand car incredibly daunting.

Unlike new cars that are guaranteed for several years and often come with lots of added extras, buying a second-hand car is a risky business. How do you ensure it’s going to be as reliable as that all-too-convincing car salesman says?

Well, here are some tips that I think will help you along the way:

1. Think About What You Need
Before you even start searching around for your next car, think about what you want and how much you’re willing to spend. This will allow you to narrow down your options so you can see what’s available within your price range.

Then, get to grips with your research, looking around to get an idea of the market and what sorts of prices there are for the type of car you’re looking at.

A car with a big engine may seem quite cheap, but don’t forget about the running costs, which could be higher (particularly tax, fuel and insurance).

2. Finding a Dealer 
Dealers like Motorpoint are governed by the Sales of Goods Act which means the seller’s description must be accurate. The car should also be roadworthy, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality. This gives you instant peace of mind that your car is fit for the road – something you can’t always guarantee when you’re buying privately.

Equally, when you’ve bought from a reputable dealer, you’ve always got a contact to go back to if you do have any problems. Try asking around for recommendations on the best dealer in your area.

3. Viewing the Car
If you do start looking privately, always be wary if the seller’s asking you to view the car somewhere other than their home. If you don’t know where they live, where are you going to go if there’s an issue with the car?

Also, in face-to-face situations, either with a private seller or dealer, don’t feel pressurised into making a decision. Unfortunately, some people will try the hard sell when they get a feeling you don’t know what you’re talking about when it comes to cars, so try to retain your confidence, perhaps asking your partner, friend or family member to come with you for added support.

4. Doing the Necessary Checks
Finally, always do the necessary online checks before you go ahead with the deal. Run a check on the DVLA website to check that all of the details about your car are correct, including the MOT history. You might also want to run a private history check that looks to see if it’s the correct mileage, hasn’t been in a serious collision, hasn’t been reported stolen and hasn’t got outstanding finance on it.


  1. I always seem to get bad deals - following your tips will hopefully give me something more reliable

  2. We've only ever managed to get bad deals on second hand cars. I suspect we're jinxed!

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