Price Any Car: Car Price Guide

Used Car Buying Check List

Our top ten things to check before buying a used car. If in doubt ask a friend or pay an expert to help check the vehicle for you.

// Before you view the car

- You don't want a car that has been stolen, clocked or involved in a serious smash. Check out the history with a quick online check.

// Viewing the car

- Is the V5C vehicle registration document available to view? Taxing the car without this will be impossible.

- Check that the person you are talking to is the person listed as the owner on the V5C and that the car's listed colour matches. All panels should be in alignment and the same colour.

- Does the mileage roughly fit with the age and condition of the car? Most cars travel about 10,000 miles per year although executive and sports cars can be far higher/lower.

- Are the tyres in good condition, with well over 3mm of tread left? Use a 20 pence piece to check this with your fingernail; the border of a 20p is 3mm wide so you shouldn't see any sticking out if you place one inside the tread.

- Sludge on the underside of the oil filler cap might indiciate a poor service record.

// The test drive

- Make sure that you are insured for a test drive. Dealer's cover will usually take this into account, however private sellers are unlikely to have a policy that covers you. It is also worth checking your own policy in case it allows you to drive another person's car with their permission.

- Listen for unusual noises when the engine starts from cold while looking for excessive exhaust emissions.

- Check the electrics such as the air conditioning, remote locking and cd player to make sure they all work.

- Are the brakes effective or does the car take a long time to stop? Listen for unusual noises while braking or the car pulling to one side.