What to Look for When Buying a Used Car

Features to Look for When Buying a Used Car in the UK

No matter your age or background, buying a car is an important milestone. While you might be attracted to the shiny brand-new models seen in advertisements, purchasing a used car could save you a small fortune in the long run. Improved manufacturing practises have also improved the reliability of used vehicles. However, you must still do your research to ensure you make the best purchase. When it comes to quality used cars for sale in Wellington, Somerset, Westpark Direct is a trusted source. Below, we’ve provided helpful tips about what features to consider for anyone buying a used car in the UK. With over eight million used cars sold in the UK per year, you should be able to find what you want!

Should You Buy a Used Car From a Dealer or Private Seller?

Whether you’ve decided to buy a used car from a dealership or a private seller, the principle of caveat emptor (“let the buyer beware”) still applies. There are pros and cons to both marketplaces. Buying a used car from a dealership such as Westpark Direct ensures it has been tested and inspected thoroughly before being listed. Depending on the vehicle’s age and mileage, most used car dealers offer a warranty on parts or repairs for your peace of mind. Dealing with a business with a reputation to protect typically ensures better customer support before, during, and after the sale.

Our Wellington car dealers have more resources available, including a database of finance companies to offer you the best used car finance deals. We also have a larger selection of vehicles at various prices, while a private seller may only have one or two. While you might be able to negotiate a lower price with a private seller, they may not be able to give you a detailed history of the car’s ownership. Buying a used car from a dealership usually gives you more buyer’s rights and protection, although you should always inspect and take the car for a test drive before making your decision.

What to Check When Viewing Used Cars

At the top of your used car inspection checklist should be the engine, tyres, gearbox, clutch, body, and interior. While seeing what’s beneath the hood may feel a bit awkward with the seller present, it’s a crucial part of the car buying process. Be on the lookout for all of the following:

  • Engine – When examining the engine, look for signs of leaks and wear and tear. If the car has an oil leak, you might notice oil spots beneath it or sludge along its engine or underbelly. Be sure to check the car’s fluid levels, including the oil, brakes, and power steering fluid. If any of them are low, the car has likely not been very well-maintained.
  • Tyres – Check the amount of tread and rubber condition to determine how soon you’ll need to change the car’s tyres. Replacing rubber isn’t cheap. Uneven tyre wear on one side could indicate a wheel or suspension alignment issue. Examine the tyres for bulges, splits, or gouges and the wheels and rims for any large dents needing repair. Don’t forget to check the spare!
  • Gearbox and Clutch – When checking the car’s gearbox and clutch, you’re feeling to see if the car switches gears smoothly and quietly. Grinding or screeching noises indicate an issue. You also shouldn’t feel resistance. Be sure to take the car for a test drive at various speeds to see how it accelerates and shifts gears. Gear and clutch replacements can be costly.
  • Bodywork – When inspecting the car’s bodywork, you’re looking for signs of repair, repainting, or panel replacements that may have been made after an accident. Pay attention to rust, gaps between the panels, potential leaks around the door seals, car park dents on the doors, and any other damages. Used cars may not be perfect, but you want a clear picture of the car’s past.
  • Interior – You can tell a lot about a car’s upkeep by its interior. Make sure the mileage matches the story the interior tells. Otherwise, the seller may be trying to hide something. Do the locks, windows, and electric controls work? If you’re unhappy about upholstery rips or issues with the car’s sunroof or radio, you might be able to negotiate a lower price if repairs are needed.

Don’t Forget to Check the Car’s Documents & Service History

The most important document to check when buying a used car in the UK is the V5C, or the vehicle’s registration document. You want to ensure the make and model match what’s recorded on the V5 and the number plate. You also want to check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which is usually found in the lower corner of the windscreen. This is especially important when buying from a private seller to ensure the car isn’t stolen. These documents should tell you how many owners the vehicle has had and if there is any outstanding financing. If it’s had numerous owners in a short period, there may be something afoot. Checking the MOT certificate (or the online MOT history) is also vital to see the car’s service history. Was it well-maintained? Be aware of any service gaps or mileage discrepancies.

Browse our used cars in Taunton, Somerset

If you’re looking for the best used cars for sale in Wellington, call or visit Westpark Direct. We’re constantly updating our inventory to include the top auto manufacturers, including Nissan, Mazda, Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota, Honda, Fiat, Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and many more. When it comes to Wellington car sales, you won’t find a better selection or financing options. Check out our reviews. You can also keep your used car running in peak condition with our service department. Come see us today!