The Ultimate Checklist of Buying a Used Car

The used car market is a superb place to find a vehicle. It is an enormous market so there is great variety affordable and, provided that you know how to navigate the market, you can find a high-quality vehicle for an affordable price. It can also be a daunting place to shop because it is so large and you hear of used car scams and fraudulent sellers which is why you need to have a checklist in place while browsing.

Reliable Seller

First, you should make sure that you are buying from a reliable seller. Local car dealerships are the best option as it is a hassle-free option to buy a used car. Moreover, you will get various options of the car to choose from.

Physical Assessment

When looking at a car there are a few key areas to focus on:

  • Bodywork: Look out for dents, scratches and panel gaps
  • Tyres: Look for bulges, damage and tread that is at least 1.6mm
  • Engine: Check for leaks, oil level and head gasket condition
  • Interior: Look for damage to upholstery, cigarette burns, dashboard condition etc.

Test Drive

It is also important to take any car out for a test drive to see how it performs and if you feel comfortable driving it. On a test drive you should:

  • Check that the electronics work
  • Test the clutch biting point
  • Listen to the smoothness of gear changes
  • Make sure brakes are responsive
  • Assess the steering
  • Check the suspension works properly


Next, you should get a few checks carried out to make sure that this is a safe and reliable automobile. This will include a vehicle history check to ensure that the car does not have any secrets and vehicle specification checks which will provide you with key information about the vehicle which you would not know just by looking at it.


Equally important when buying a used car is the documentation. This will include the V5C (or log book) which should match the vehicle that you are looking at as well as any previous MOT certificates so that you can see any work carried out as well as check that the mileage adds up (clocking is one of the more common scams).

These are the main areas to focus on when shopping in the used car market. If you are patient, vigilant and confident when shopping here it can be a great place to find a high-quality automobile for an affordable price.