Personal finance | what you need to investigate before buying a used car

Cars are an expensive and valuable possession, probably one of the most valuable one can get. That’s why you need to ensure that you get one without any future complications. A used car holds potential for a lot of trouble as the previous owner may not have taken good care of it. In some cases, the repairs the car may have may be even more expensive than its cost. So before embarking on such a purchase, here are some major considerations you need to make.

Conduct a DVLA check

A DVLA check is done to get vehicle information that is held by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. All you’ll need is the vehicle’s registration number and make. A DVLA check gives you the information about the current tax rate and MOT expiry dates. It’ll also help you in knowing when the vehicle was first registered, and it’s year f manufacture. This is to ensure that the details of the vehicle that is being sold to you are not false.

Conduct a full HPI check

An HPI check should be your next step. It draws additional information that may not have been captured by a DVLA check alone. An HPI check gives you a comprehensive history of a vehicle that the seller may not want you to know. It reveals outstanding finances such as logbook loans that may have been taken on the vehicle. Remember, a lender can still take the vehicle from you even if you’ve bought the car without knowing about any loans on it. About 25% of vehicles have got an outstanding finance debt so performing an HPI check should be mandatory.

Ask for the original documents

Before buying a car, you need to ensure that the original documents are present. Consider it a red flag if the seller can’t provide proof of an original V5 registration document. Look for the DVLA watermark to ensure that the document is real. You should also ensure that the registration number of the vehicle and VIN match the one’s in the V5 document. This is an indication that the car is not stolen. A logbook loan would also not show up if the vehicle has not been correctly registered. That’s why the V5 document is monumental.

Be wary of some buying terms

Read through the financial agreement and if you see terms such as ‘sold as seen’ or ‘no refund,' then be alert. These are phrases that are used to limit your rights, so ensure you comprehensively understand these conditions. If you’re trading in your existing car, carefully go through the policies to avoid any future surprises.