Buying a used car

There is something very special about buying a car, it’s not an age thing, it applies to everyone. Buying a used car or new one, it doesn’t matter, what’s important is “it’s your car.” Follow our Used Car Buyer’s Guide and get a bargain! and not a banger!

Before you buy a car

Buying your car will be one of the most sizeable purchases for you so far (unless you’ve bought a house already!). Young Car Driver is full of information to help you find your car for the best possible price. This section takes you through the Do’s, and Dont’s when buying a car from a dealer or private individual. We also take a look at the legal rights of your purchase.


How much can I afford for a car?

Budget to buy a used car

How much will your car cost to buy and run? ...

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Buying from a car dealer


A dealer gives you benefits, but the car will cost more...

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Buying a car privately


A car will be less buying private but so will your legal rights...

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Your legal rights


Bought a dodgy car? Check out the Sale of Goods Act...

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Buying the car

So you have found the vehicle you want. What next?

This section walks you through what to look out for, the right questions to ask the buyer, inspecting it, in fact, the whole buying process.


Checking a car’s history

car history

Is the car to good to be true? Check the history!...

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Questions to ask when buying a car

Questions to ask when buying a car

If you don't get the right answers - don't buy the car...

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Inspecting a car


Check the car for faults - inside - outside and the engine...

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Clocking: is the mileage genuine?

Clocking: is the mileage genuine?

Low mileage great! Or has the car been Clocked!...

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Test driving a car

Book testdrive now

Whats the car like to drive - does everything work - do you like it......

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The car buying process

Car buying process

Remember they want to sell more than you need to buy!...

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Don’t buy without checking


Make sure you have all the correct documents to transfer the ownership of the car to you. Make sure there is not outstanding finance from the previous owner (did you know that funding finance is on the car?). Read these sections to make sure all is above board.


Required documents

Registration Certificate of Car

If the seller can't produce the information then walk away...

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V5C Vehicle Registration Certificate (Logbook)

V5C Vehicle Registration Certificate (Logbook) displays the registered keeper of the car.

Don't even think about buying a car without a valid V5C...

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MOT Check (MOT certificate)

MOT check. Is the MOT certificate genuine?

Over 3 years old the car needs a valid MOT? You must see it!...

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Vehicle identification number (VIN)

The car's VIN helps in the process of tracking a stolen car

If the VIN has been tampered with don't buy the car...

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Top FAQs

Should I check a cars history before I buy it?

You need to know everything about a vehicles history before buying it. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. A vehicle check will tell you if the car is written off, has an active finance agreement or is recorded as stolen by the police. You can red more about checking the history ... 

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What is a VIN Number?

Vehicle identification number (VIN) is your car’s equivalent of our DNA. The VIN is a unique code that stays with the car for its lifetime. A VIN contains 17 characters (digits and capital letters) giving a car it’s own identification. The VIN acts as the car’s individual fingerprint. No two vehicles have the same vehicle identification ... 

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What should I look out for when test driving a car?

Test driving a car is your only chance to make sure that you find one that is comfortable, in good condition, and free of faults. You need to check the Gears & Clutch, Steering, Braking and generally what its like to drive. You will get an idea of whats its like straight away. If in doubt, ... 

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How much do cars costs to run?

Every car is different but you need to consider the following:  Repayments on the finance -Monthly. Insurance – Monthly. Vehicle tax – Monthly. Your expected fuel usage – Monthly. Maintenance (include servicing and replacement tyres) – Monthly. Read more about car running costs in our Buying Hub. ... 

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Buying a used car topics

Budget to buy a used car – Without doubt buying a car is an exciting time, but you do need to work out how much you can afford to pay for the car before you start looking because there are loads of running costs to consider in addition to the car purchase.

Buying from a dealer – Beware of dodgy car salesman when you buy a car through a dealer.

Buying a car privately – Look out for the pitfalls of buying a car privately (from a complete stranger) don’t just take someone’s’ word, Check it out!

Checking a cars’ history – Always check out the car, is the car Clocked or Stolen? The price of a Car History Check is nothing compared to what you could lose if you buy a bad car.

Questions to ask when buying a car – These questions apply to both dealer and private sales. Never buy a used car if you don’t know the history.

Inspecting a car – No matter how much you like a car, if you are in any doubt about the condition of the car , walk away, there’s always a better car around the corner.

Clocking – Is the car mileage genuine? A low mileage car is great! But has the car been clocked to hide the cars real mileage and value. Always get the car history checked.

Test driving a car – You must test drive the car thoroughly (many people don’t) be sure it’s’ in good condition, free of faults and its comfortable.

The car buying process – Never pay the asking price when buying a car. The seller will be expecting you to negotiate, don’t disappoint them. Don’t worry about haggling, remember it’s your money you will be saving and finally remember to stick to your budget. SUGGEST YOU TAKE A COPY OF THIS PAGE WITH YOU.

Download our Used Car Receipt – The receipt will enable you to record the purchase details when buying a used car, it will also help you remember what you must receive such as the V5C, spare keys, radio code and other items.

Required documents – The MOT and logbook (V5C) helps establish the car is legitimate. If the seller can’t produce them, don’t buy the a car and only accept originals (no photocopies).

V5C Vehicle Registration Certificate Never buy a used car without the V5C (also known as the Logbook).

MOT Certificate – Once a car reaches three years old it must, by Law, have an MOT with a new one issued each year after. Having an MOT certificate does not mean the car is in a roadworthy condition for the period of the MOT, it just means it was passed legal on the date of the MOT.

Vehicle Identification Number – The VIN is the unique code used to identify an individual car and will never change legitimately.

Your Legal Rights! – If you buy a car with a problem, you do have Legal Rights.