a general RAC checklist: -
budget and stick to it.
list of questions to ask before going to buy the car – then record the
answers and ask the seller to sign and date the document.
check the car’s registration document (V5) to validate ownership and
accuracy of the vehicles age and mileage. Does the condition of the car
reflect its stated age and mileage?
that the engine/chassis numbers match the documentation.
drive the car – but ensure that the appropriate insurance is obtained.
rely on the MOT as evidence of a car’s condition.
beneath the bonnet and boot for oil leaks, welds untidy seams or other
evidence of accident repairs. Does the colour and texture of the paintwork
match all over and are the lights and electrics in working order?
rust and paint bubbles particularly on the sills, wheel arches, seams,
door bottoms and suspension mountings.
interior of a car can tell you a lot. A badly worn interior can indicate
high mileage. Buy a vehicle status chech to see whether it’s been
stolen, has been written off or has outstanding finance.
correction isn’t unheard of and it is wise to fully check all the areas
of a cars wear and tear. Check the drivers seat bolster, steering wheel
and gear knob for wear and relate to the mileage of the car.
Check the seat belts, pedals and all the electrics for sluggish
motors. If you are buying a classic it is worth doing a Google search on
the specific car to find out what the expensive fixes are and the usual
high expenses are engine problems – check cam belts/timing chains. Check
for unusual noises from the clutch, gearbox, suspension knocking, brakes
and any other areas you can listen out for. Check the condition of the
wheels, serious curbing could have effected the tracking which can be
fairly costly to put right. Check for what sort of parts have been used by
looking at receipts or if you have a keen eye, you may be able to spot if
exhausts, suspension or tyres are manufacturer recommended. Look for odd
tyres around the car, this can be a sign of neglect.
that if the car has previously been purchased on finance that it has been
paid off. I have heard of instances where the car registration has been
the old recorded detail with a certain finance company and the new buyer
has had to pay off the balance. Previous MOT can verify the mileage as
well as the service documents. An HPI check is worthwhile to see if the
car has had any damage and the extent of the impacts.
is worth looking at different car sales magazines and websites to check
what sort of money the car in question goes for. Don’t pay over the odds
and be sceptical of paying to far under, some say “If it’s too good to
be true, it probably is”.