Beware these five warning signs when buying a used car

If you feel nervous at the thought of going to view used cars, then you’re not alone. Many people are concerned about viewing second-hand vehicles in case they get “taken for a ride” with the car they are coerced into buying. If this sounds familiar, there are some key warning signals you can look out for – read on to find out what they are…


  1. The vehicle description

If you come across a seller description that’s vague on details, badly-written and is limited on contact details, it’s an obvious sign that you should give this one a miss. It could be that they’re vague on details because they don’t know enough about the vehicle, and you must ask yourself why. If only a mobile number given, this is another sure sign that they don’t want to divulge too much about themselves.


  1. The seller doesn’t want to meet at their home

It’s an absolute must that the seller meets you to test drive the car at their own home. For one, you need to make sure that the address corresponds to the one on the vehicle registration documents; if they wish to meet elsewhere, it could be a sign that they’re not the true owner. Secondly, imagine if there was a problem with the car once you drive away and you feel cheated – you have no address to find them and they can easily block your calls. It’s much safer to walk away.


  1. No registration documentation

When you go to see the seller, the first thing you must ask for is the vehicle registration documents, or V5C. If they are the true owner, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have this, as it’s easy to replace if lost or stolen. It will tell you vital information such as the registered keeper of the vehicle, model details and other specifics that would help you to identify the car. If they tell you they don’t have it, walk away.


  1. “Sold as seen”

This is another phrase that should ring alarm bells. You should always be able to thoroughly check the vehicle from tires to dipstick, and be given a test drive of the car. If the seller you’re faced with says it must be sold as seen, it’s usually a sign that something is wrong with the car or they have something else to hide.


  1. The car itself

Finally, when checking the car itself, look out for tell-tale signs of deception. If the bonnet is warm, it could be that the engine has trouble starting and they’ve warmed it up before you arrived. Is there any evidence of repair work and no satisfactory explanation for it? Does the mileage correspond to the average for a vehicle of that age? These are all vital checks.


We hope you found these warning signs useful – do you know of any others? Be sure to help our other readers by leaving them in the section below…




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