Buying a car

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Buying a Car

Always remember

  • The seller is not doing you a favour by selling you his car - you are doing him a favour if you decide to buy it!
  • If you find the seller unhelpful walk away.  You will come across the same car later which may be in better condition.
  • Just because the car has a MOT certificate, it does not mean it is bound to be road worthy when you come to buy it.


  • Your homework on the make, model, engine etc. which is right for your needs.  Always have a budget and stick to it.  If you haggle you can expect some discount to bring the car to the price YOU want it and not the seller.
  • Look for reputable dealers and check out their premises.
  • Assess the seller to see if they are genuine. If you are buying your car privately you will not get warranties and as many legal rights as you would expect from a main dealer.
  • Make sure that you see the servicing records, vehicle registration document and MOT certificate (if the car is over 3 years old). Check that the mileage and condition add up to reassure yourself that the car has not been “clocked”.  If you cannot see these documents, then walk away immediately.
  • Make sure the sellers' name and address is on the vehicle registration document. If it is not this could be a dodgy dealer!
  • Check any warranty/guarantee covers, if you are buying from a trader. They may not be worth the paper they are written on.

Do Not

  • Buy the first car you see.  Always do your homework and shop around on the internet and search the classified advertisements to find yourself the best deal, at the best price.  Compare similar cars so that you know what you can expect to pay.
  • Buy away from the seller’s home or garage.  If something goes wrong you may find it hard to contact them.
  • Buy a car unless you are sure it is mechanically sound.  Get a mechanic or engineer to give the car a thorough check and test drive.  Always view the car in daylight so that any scratches and other imperfections can be easily seen. You do not want to get any nasty shocks later!
  • Buy if the deal does not feel right in any way. There will always be another car that is right for you.