Finding Good Used Cars – A Complete Guide

There are several important points that you should always seek to verify before you agree to purchase or part with any money. One of the first things to do is to inspect the vehicle to make sure that it is in a satisfactory condition for its age, price and mileage. If you are not confident or competent to do this yourself, take someone along with you who knows what to look out for. Ask the seller if the car has a service history and ask to see any supporting paperwork such as the current MOT which may indicate the mileage when it was last tested and might help to confirm it is genuine.

Where To Buy

There are several ways that you can buy a used car including from a private seller, from a used car dealer, at an auction or maybe over the internet from a site such as eBay or Auto trader. Each method of purchase has its own set of rules and standards and you have to make sure that you carry out the same checks regardless of where or who you are intending to buy from. If you are buying from a private seller you need to make sure that they are entitled to sell the vehicle and check their name and address matches with the vehicle registration documents. Meeting a seller at a neutral address might be convenient from a traveling point of view but it could leave you exposed to a fraudulent transaction where you may find it difficult to track down the person again after they have taken your money.

If you intend to buy a car from an auction, this can be a good way to get a nearly new car at a reasonable price, but you have to make sure that you are aware of the bidding rules before actually buying a car for real. It is always a good idea to go to an auction on a trial run without actually intending to bid, so that you can get a feel for how it all works and to make sure that you do not get carried away the first time you see a car you are interested in. Check the terms and conditions for the auction house as auctioneers can issue disclaimers such as “Sold as seen” which would mean that you have no legal recourse if there is a problem with the car.


Cash is often the most convenient way to buy a car if you have the money available and you may even be able to negotiate a discount for cash payment, although a lot of used car dealers like to try and sell you finance as they often make a good commission for signing you up, which adds to their profits, so they don’t have a great incentive in that situation to accept a cash bid.  If you pay by debit card or credit card at a dealership then you would have some protection from your card company should there be any problem with the vehicle and you try to get your money back. If you are buying from a private seller then cash is probably the most efficient way of paying as you can exchange the money for the keys and documents for your new car all at the same time.

There are plenty of bargains around and unfortunately quite a number of rogue sellers as well so always make sure that you carry out all the checks mentioned and if you are unsure in any way, it is always much easier to walk away and find another car rather than try to sort out a problem after you have parted with your cash.