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The documents that accompany of used car that’s for sale are important to tell if the car you’re looking at is owned by the seller, how well it’s been looked after and also it’s road worthiness.
The V5C registration document shows who the registered keeper of the vehicle is (not necessarily the legal owner) and also records the last two keepers.
Ensure that the form is an original with an official watermark with no over-writing or attempts to modify its details, e.g.
The V5C has a record of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and this should match the car including a metal plate in the engine bay, stamped into the vehicles chassis under a small carpet flat inside the car and on newer vehicles, etched into the bottom of the windscreen. The V5C shows the details of previous keepers and as the previous keepers can be a useful source of information a vehicle, it might be worth getting in touch to ask some questions, e.g. In order to by road tax for a car, you’ll need the V5C document so make sure it’s available when you by the car and walk away if the seller can’t produce it. Cars that are three years old or more require an MOT certificate based on a yearly inspection and there should be a continuous run of valid certificates. With concurrent MOT certifications, the recorded mileage should increase steadily with age and be consistent with the service record. The majority of vehicles will require some attention from a mechanic at a garage during their lifetime so are likely to have a collection of receipts and invoices from that work, including yearly servicing and MOT tests. Looking through the servicing history, look for any recurring problems that might indicate faults that keep occurring and that might not have been fixed. Make sure there is a handbook available for the car, as these can be expensive to replace if it’s not available.
If a vehicle seems like a real bargain, or has a very low mileage for its age then there may be a problem with the car or its history. To help you avoid making a potentially expensive mistake when you buy a used car, get an HPI check to make sure that it’s not got any outstanding finance or hire purchase agreements in place. Make sure to get a receipt showing the vehicle details, price, terms of sale and the seller’s details.
If you don’t check the documentation it could be a very expensive long term purchase.
Getting a new car may sometimes turn out to be a complicated experience, mostly because budgetary worries end up leading us into preferring to purchase more affordable and at times, less safe, vehicles. If you’re thinking about buying a used car, you should make sure you pay attention to what safety experts are saying about the risks associated with used cars before you actually begin doing your research.
According to a series of reports, the astounding number of auto recalls reported in 2014 alone makes the experience of buying a used car an even more potentially deadly one, mostly because as it stands, over 40 million cars on U.S. Car dealerships that sell used cars are not required by law to report any recall issues to potential buyers. According to a recent report carried out by CBS, many dealerships did not let undercover reporters know about open recalls related to the cars they had looked up beforehand. This problem happened in several other dealerships, where salespeople would assure the reporter the vehicle was safe in spite of the open recalls.
Experts have urged consumers repeatedly to avoid simply trusting dealerships when looking for a used car, mostly because they are not required by law to be honest about the vehicle’s recall history.
While many believe that safety should be a priority for both the salesperson and the consumer, only consumers are being left to bear the responsibility of checking for open recalls before taking the car home, making accidents linked to equipment failure even more likely since a greater number of recalled and dangerous vehicles continue to make their way across the country.
While many lawmakers have been looking into introducing bills that would tackle this particular issue, only consumers can ensure the vehicle they are thinking about buying is actually safe. NRMA motoring expert Tim Pomroy on how to check your car's oil and water a€“ it could save your engine! Accurate warning lights and the improved reliability of the modern car mean that checking under the bonnet has become a less frequent pastime for drivers.
The modern engine might also look a bit different from the cars we used to drive, but the basics are the same. Visit your local NRMA MotorServe store where we can give you the right advice on checking your oil and water in store or at the time of servicing. You don’t have to be a car expert to know when you are being ripped off, but if you are unsure about the motoring industry, then it would be advisable to bring a friend along who knows cars who can aid in your car inspection. If the previous owner did their homework then there should be a record of all the services that the vehicle had unless the car was self-serviced.

If you have a specific car in mind, you need to ask yourself what do the replacement parts for this specific car cost? After you have your budget allocated for your vehicle, you need to know what type of vehicle you want to buy. When buying a used car it is imperative that you check the mileage on the odometer, as this determines the cars true age. It’s always good to give the body a thorough inspection, for dents and rust, as this can give you a good indication of whether the car has been looked after well or not. If the vehicle has an on-board computer, make sure that all the functionality works and that the air conditioner, electric windows and all the other electronics are fully functional. This is probably the most important part of the car, so be sure to give the engine a proper inspection. This is the fun part, but ultimately the deciding factor for whether the car lives up to your standards or not.
Buying a car doesn’t have to be a nightmare, just be sure to do your homework and always get a second opinion from a trusted friend.
My family, work, cars and sport are the 4 things that I am most passionate about and motivate me. The RAC is launching a used car history checking service in direct competition to HPI Check, which it said it would undercut the market leader by at least 50% and uses identical data sources.
Diamond said data for the checks is collated from the Finance and Leasing Association, to determine whether there is outstanding finance and the Police National Computer Database, to see if the vehicle has been stolen; and the Motor Insurance Anti Fraud and Theft Register (MIAFTR) for insured claims. The only previous major challenger to HPI and Experian was Auto Trader which in 2005 launched Trader Data Systems, using self-sourced data, but closed it after just three years. The initiative is an extension of the provenance checking service the RAC has offered consumers since December 2014 under the RAC Car Passport banner. It’s vital to check this over before you buy and to ensure that the seller is the keeper and therefore legally entitled to sell it, you can ask for a second form of identification to check, e.g. You can request a replacement from the DVLA but request that the seller does this and produces an original document before paying out any money. Ideally you’ll want to see as complete a service history as possible as this will allow you to contact the garage to make sure that it actually exists and that the work was undertaken.
There are bargains to be had but in general but if a deal looks too good to be true, then it most likely is.
One way to minimise the risks when buying used cars is to use a garage which can provide warranties and guarantees. These companies are also not required to have the issue fixed before making the vehicle available.Too often, consumers purchase vehicles with more than one recall under its belt that unfortunately has never been addressed. In one of the cases, the reporters asked a salesman about a Toyota Rav4 that had been recalled for a suspension issue.
If you’re in the market for a used car and you would like to make sure the vehicle you’re purchasing has been inspected and fixed after being recalled for safety reasons, look up the VIN number with the help of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s online recall tool before you actually purchase the car. Listed here are some of the businesses that make up the National Roads and Motorists'A Association family of businesses, products and services. With more and more cars requiring specific lubricants and fluids, it's the best way to ensure that you put the correct spec oil in your car. Wait for a few minutes after you turn the engine off, and park on a level piece of roadway for the oil to settle. The easiest way is to check the plastic reserve tank that's connected to the cooling system. Normally located at the back or side of the engine bay, the brake fluid reservoir is usually made of plastic with a high and low marking on the side. If you are considering buying a used car for the first time, we recommend you read this article so that you are fully aware of what to look for and can confidently eliminate any daunting factors.
It always helps to get a trusted second opinion, after all, a car has lots of working parts that need maintenance.
A service history can give you a good indication on the repairs and maintenance that has been done on the vehicle and you can get a better idea of the vehicles condition. If you are on a tight budget, try and fade away from buying a massive petrol guzzler where you get 5km per litre because this could cripple your budget faster than you can think.

It won’t benefit you if you buy a small hatchback but you like transporting your bicycle around for weekend rides.
If the price and mileage is high for a newer model then it’s probably not the best idea to spend so much money on that specific car.
Naturally over a period of time the body of a car will deteriorate and won’t look brand new, but make sure all the panels line up properly and that all the doors and windows open and close as they should.
Check that there are no leaks or corrosion, and that the gaskets, brake fluid, reservoir and belts don’t look deteriorated, as this could mean possible replacement in the near future.
Taking the car for a test drive will allow you to test the brakes and the clutch as well as the smoothness of the gearbox. It uses exactly the same data sources as other provenance checks and is effectively identical in specification but offers a much lower cost and the high level of credibility of the RAC name,” said Robert Diamond (pictured), managing director of Motoring Services at the RAC.
It will initially be marketed to the RAC’s approved used car dealer network and dealers selling RAC Warranty products. One useful tip is to take a V5C from another vehicle if you have access to one and compare them to make sure the fonts and alignment are all correct to reduce the risk of receiving a forgery. Vehicles being sold away from the keepers registered address should result in more questions being asked and avoid buying from pub car parks without very good justification. There may be some slight variation on the colour which can depend on the viewpoint of the manufacturer or a previous owner – but it’s important to make sure that all of the other details are as they should be. One other quick check is to see whether the garages used are in the general area of the registered address at that time.
Considering several recalls are related to equipment failure that could lead to deadly crashes, it’s particularly impressive that companies are not going that extra length to ensure their consumers are safe. Instead of explaining to the undercover reporter the car had been recalled and that the issue had yet to be addressed, the salesman simply stated that the car was safe.
Before you remove the dipstick, make sure you look closely at its entry point into the engine a€“ or you may not be able to reinsert it a€“ and then wipe with a clean cloth or paper towel. On the side of the reservoir will be a low and high mark and the coolant level should be between the two marks. Normally the fluid will sit between these graduations, and vary slightly as the brake pads wear.
You will get a good indication of what state the shocks are in and whether the suspension is operational. If they aren’t the registered keeper, ask why they’re selling the vehicle on behalf of someone else. This will allow you to check whether the MOTs you have are valid and also identify if there have been any gaps in the cars history. Marked towards the lower end are the high- and low-level markings, and the engine oil should always be between these two points. It's always good practice to check the coolant level on the radiator via the radiator cap, with one important proviso a€“ this should always be done when the engine is cold. If the level is continuously low and dropping there could be a leak in the braking system that requires immediate mechanical attention.
It there are gaps, ask the seller if they know why these might have occurred, as they can be indicative of MOT failures or the car having been taken off the road for a period.
Insert the dipstick back into the tube and then remove to see where the level has registered.
Removing the cap when the engine is hot can cause coolant to spray out under pressure, seriously scalding you. If it's not between the points, add the correct specification oil via the engine oil filler cap located on the top of the engine. If the level is low you can add coolant, again checking the owner's handbook for the correct recommendation.
Do your research online and try answer all these questions before buying a car that you might regret.

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