Advice on how to Buy a Used Car or Van

A car or Van is widely regarded as being the second most costly purchase in our lives next to that of our home.

With this in mind we have outlined below some sensible advice that we would like to share with you before you make your decision.


Most of us are guilty of spending far more than we should on certain items. As a car incurs ongoing costs it is vital that you do some research into the monthly running bills.

These will include:

Insurance, (Get a quote from our partner, Adrian Flux)

Fuel, if you travel to work by car each day MPG maybe a large factor. Visit the manufacturer's website to ascertain the MPG of the vehicle you are considering.

Road Tax, in recent years the government has changed the legislation in how our vehicles are charged road tax. As a rule the lower the emissions = the lower the road tax. To check the road tax of the vehicle you are considering visit the DVLAs website.

Finance, If you require finance you can quickly and easily apply for a decision via our partner, just click on the link and fill in your details.

Inspection of the Used Car

Before you even see the vehicle you are thinking of viewing you can apply for a full report of the vehicles history via our partner, HPI. An HPI report will provide you with invaluable information as to whether the car has been in any accidents, how many owners the vehicle has had and also what (if any) finance is outstanding on the vehicle.

When you do view the car try to pick a dry day as rain can disguise minor blemishes in the paintwork.

Although an HPI check will highlight any major accident damage it is important you examine the bodywork yourself to see if all the body panels have even gaps and that you cannot see any rust or mismatched paint.

Finally ask to see all the documents the seller has. These should include:

Service invoices and a "stamped" service book. Look for any irregular patterns of mileage. For example if you see the car usually gets serviced every 12,000 miles but there are periods where the vehicle has done considerable more or less miles between servicing do not be afraid to ask why.

MOT certificates

The V5 (registration document). From this check that the Vehicle Identification number of VIN number as it is commonly called matches with that on the windscreen, under the bonnet and stamped into the chassis under the carpet beside the driver's seat.

Haggling the Price

Most of us that are not used to haggling feel awkward at the very least. However when buying a used car you have to bear in mind that the seller is most likely expecting for you to make a lower offer.

As long as you go prepared with the knowledge of what other similar vehicles are been offered for sale at and have your maximum budget in mind, look the seller in the eye, take a deep breath and make as low an offer as you dare! Always remember you can always up your offer, never down.

If it looks as though negotiations are at a stalemate try and ask for other small commitments to cement the deal. For example a full tank of fuel or a free service.


We have already spoken of checking the VIN number and service history; however there is one final piece of advice that you must take note.

When completing the deal you must ensure that you sign the new keeper parts of the V5c (logbook) and see this is sent off to the DVLA. In addition ask the seller to complete a receipt for you both.