CarSite.co.uk Buying Advice
Post Drive Inspection
- Value Of Buying A Used Car
- Used Car Buying Scams
- Safe buying tips
- Making the most of your test drive
- Inspecting a Used Car
- Post Drive Inspection
- Questions to ask the seller
- Used Car Buyer's Checklist
This part is important, too. With the engine running, open the bonnet and check inside. Have any leaks appeared that weren't there before? If the seller has something to hide, such as an oil or coolant leak, it might not be hiding any more! Don't just look; listen and smell. Is the engine running smoothly? Can you hear any clattering, which could indicate valve problems? Can you smell burning oil - or the sweet scent of coolant? Don’t forget the exhaust pipe; is the exhaust fairly clear and colorless, or is it smoky? Is the smoke bluish (a sign of oil being burned) or dramatically white or steamy (possibly a head gasket problem)?
Check under the car again to see if it's leaking - remember, if you ran the air conditioning earlier, a little water leakage is perfectly normal.
Who Owns the Car?
While you have the car in front of you, ask to see the V5 (registration document) and compare the vehicle identification (chassis) number on the V5 with the one on the car to ensure they're the same*. You need to be absolutely sure the seller owns the car; if the name on the V5 differs from the name of the seller, it’s time to start asking questions.
Call in the Inspector
If you're pretty sure you want the car and agree with the seller on a price, stipulate that the sale is contingent upon inspection by a professional mechanic. This shouldn't be a problem for the seller. If it is, he or she probably has something to hide; inspections can't harm the car, and if the seller is uncooperative about making it available, it’s best to take your custom elsewhere.
An inspection is likely to cost between £75 and £100.
Even if you do all the right things and have your prospective car(s) inspected by a pro, something can go wrong right after you buy it - something for which you will have to pay. That's why you owe it to yourself to detect all apparent problems, even if it costs an extra £100.