5 Things to Check When Buying a Used Car

Buying a car is an exciting experience. Many people opt for used cars because of the price and their ability to retain their value better than brand new cars. However, it might be trickier to know exactly what you are buying from a used car dealership and the manufacturer’s warranty may have already run out. If you know what defects to look for, you are less likely to buy something that will need a lot of money spent on repairs. Here are 5 things to check when buying a used car.


If the car you are buying is more than three years old, then it needs to have an MOT certificate. Many used car showrooms will MOT it just before you drive it away, to make sure that the car is roadworthy and fix any defects before you pay for it.

Always check on the DVLA website to make sure the car has had an MOT done. Look for any advisories or failures. It may be worth presenting the car early for an MOT after you buy it, so you know it is road legal. Search for MOT Birmingham and you will find several MOT centres nearby.


Check the history of the car before you buy it by checking the logbook and making sure that the car has not been in an accident and then patched up. You can also check if the car has been stolen. That way you are less likely to get any nasty surprises once you have brought it.

Insurance Band

It is a good idea to check the price difference between insuring your existing car and your new car. Sometimes there can be a dramatic increase, which may put you off the idea of buying. Occasionally, your new car can be cheaper to insure, which would give you a pleasant surprise.

You should call your insurance company before you pick the car up so that they can start the insurance from the minute you drive it home. That way you know you are covered if you are in an accident, or it gets stolen from the supermarket car park when you stop for a pint of milk.


You can often get a good idea of the state of a car by checking the bodywork. Check for any obvious signs of disrepair such as rust, paint chips, or dents. Check around the door seals, under the car, and under the bonnet for these things too, rather than just checking the obvious places. You might be glad you did.

Test Drive

You should test drive the car before you buy it. Here you are looking for things such as any unusual noises, steering problems, making sure the brakes are good, and any warning lights that appear on the dashboard. These can all be signs that buying the car is a bad idea.

Make sure you check these five things before you buy a car and that you are satisfied with what you have found. It can be a costly mistake to get halfway down the road and break down.