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06 May 2022, 13:16

8 questions to ask when you buy a used car

If you’re in the market for a used car, you’ll probably be doing a lot of online research.

But there are some things you won’t find out until you actually arrive at the dealership. So make sure when you do, you’re equipped with a set of questions to ask when you buy a used car. This will help you feel more confident about making your decision.

The most important questions to ask when you buy a used car

1. Has the car been modified? 

Some owners choose to modify the engines of their cars to improve performance. If it’s done correctly, it will do just that. But if not, the engine may need some specialist attention further down the line. Make sure you’re aware of any work that’s been done to the engine before you buy.

2. Has the car ever been in a crash? 

When doing an initial bodywork check, you might notice some damage to the exterior of the vehicle. This may not be 100% proof of a crash – it could just be signs of wear and tear, especially if the car is old - so it’s best to ask the car dealer about the car’s history.

You may face some issues if the car was damaged in an accident before you bought it, so it's a good question to ask a car dealer before making your decision.

3. Can I see the paperwork?

While this should be a given, seeing the documents of a used car you’re thinking of buying is vital. One of the most important documents to look at before you pay is the registration document or logbook.

When viewing the car you’ll also be able to request the service history which will show you the work that’s been done on the car over the years, building a more accurate picture of the state of the car.

You should also be able to see the MOT certificate before you purchase, but this can be viewed online.

4. Are there any gaps in service history?

While an incomplete service history will sometimes be cause for concern, it’s not always a deal-breaker. When checking the car you’re interested in, review the documents that are available and find out if there’s a way you can retrieve lost or missing details. 

5. Can I take it for a test drive?

Most dealers will allow you to take a used car on a test drive, so make the most of this opportunity. It will help you to identify any issues with the engine, gearbox and brakes. So it’s a really good idea for you to take the vehicle out for a spin before purchasing.


6. How many previous owners are there?

The number of previous owners is usually stated in the car advert, however, if it isn’t, it’s a good question to ask the car dealer before purchasing a used car. One previous owner is ideal, because it will mean they’ll have bought it brand new, and this usually means the car will have been well looked after. Having just one previous owner will mean the car is more likely to have been driven in a consistent way.

However, don’t be put off too much by multiple previous owners. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially if each owner has treated the car with care and consideration.

7. Does the car have a warranty?

It’s a good idea to buy a car with a warranty cover for peace of mind. Each dealer will have its own policy on warranties so make sure you ask before you purchase your car so that you know if anything does go wrong, you’ll be able to get issues resolved within the warranty period.

8. Can I part exchange my car?

Part exchanging is an efficient option if you’re looking to get rid of your old car quickly without the hassle of putting it up for sale. During a part exchange, the dealer will place a value on your vehicle and subtract it from the price of the one you’re buying.

If you’re interested in this option, don’t forget to bring it up at the dealership, if they offer part exchange deals.

Ready to find your next car? Browse hundreds of used car deals now.


Read next: What to look for when buying a used car.

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