Mamma Musings

Checks to Complete before buying a used car

Online shopping has been a craze which does not show any signs for fading. From purchasing small items such as clothes to large objects including cars. Whether this is being advertised privately or on car sale sites such as Auto Trader or eBay. It is always worthwhile checking the new vehicle price from a reputable dealer or motoring site such as here which will give you an indication if you are getting good value or not. 

With the increase of online car sales, there has also been an increase in cars being sold which have a hidden past.  There are many steps you can take to avoid buying a car which has been damaged, stolen or still has outstanding finance. 

Easy and Simple Checks to Complete

There are many easy checks you can do yourself whilst viewing the vehicle. They are many buyer checklists available online but we will discuss the import parts to check over whilst viewing any used car.


This is more than a simple kick to each wheel. Many years ago, this was a way to check tyre pressure or worn bearings, but these days they are better ways to go about this. When you look at the tyres, try to get down to that level on your knees. This will give you a better viewing point for the tyres. 

Check for things such as Tyre Brand and Tread. Remember the legal minimum is 1.6mm, so if they are below 3mm we would advise budgeting for some new tyres very soon. While the brand of tyre may not cause concern in most sales, if the seller has budgets on a premium sports car this may also need changing to ensure better performance. 

Check for Defects?

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Ensure you look over the vehicle bodywork during the day, and when it is not raining or the car is wet. This will ensure you get the best viewing of the car as dull light and water droplets can hide blemishes. Along with checking the bodywork for these marks, also take this time to check for kerbed alloys.

After checking the paint, don’t forget to check the glass to. Check for chips or cracks in each window. Remember anything in the drivers eyeline this could lead to a future MOT failure.

In addition to the outside, ensure you check inside. Check for any weird or overpowering smells when you first open the door. Check all over the inside from the dashboard to the car seats for any stains, tears or blemishes.

Do not expect a used car to be perfect, but some blemishes can help you during the negotiations.  

Check Panels 

After looking over the bodywork for scratches and dents, look at the gaps between the panels. These should be symmetrical and consistent through the vehicle. If you notice that one or more panel gap seems to be overly large or small this could be a sign of repaired bodywork after a car accident. Another indication is that they are colour differences in the paint between the panels. 

A great way to check if a car has been in a major accident is to conduct an online Reg Check. For under £10, these reports will conduct over 20 different history checks on the car and highlight any issues to you. These issues can range from write off details, police stolen report, outstanding finance and so much more.

Check Fluid Levels

It is always a good idea to check the fluid levels on a used car. The most popular ones include oil, power steering fluid and brake fluid. Low fluid levels could mean poor maintenance of the vehicle which could lead to issues in the future. 

Whilst checking these, look for any potential leaks under the bonnet and where the car is usually parked. Also check under the Oil cap for any white liquid. White liquid is created when coolant mixes with oil and could be a sign that a head gasket has or is failing. 

Check Electrics

Check everything. From the window controls, wing mirrors, air conditioning, radio to sunroof operations and automated seat movements. Pretty much every button you can see, try it! 

Whilst checking each light, look for any chips or cracks in the light cases, or any moisture inside the unit. 


Note: This is a collaborative post
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