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What to do when buying a used car

We Are Marmalade profile

We Are Marmalade

January 8, 2018

Owning a car 4 min read

Buying a car, whether it’s your first or your tenth is a really exciting time! We recommend new cars because they are considered to be much safer, but we appreciate that a brand new car isn’t within reach for everyone, so we’ve put together a list of tips to keep in mind when you’re looking for your next ride!

Find the right car

When you’re buying a car, whether it is new or second hand, you need to make sure it’s the right car for you. If you need a lot of space inside, then having a 3 door with a tiny boot might not be the best idea. Although price determines a lot of decisions we make, it’s good to be flexible with your requirements so that you can find the right thing within your price range.

Keep your eye out

Don’t just buy the first car for sale that pops up on your internet search. Make sure you’re looking around and doing your research. Check things like how much your tax and insurance will be, if a car does catch your eye. It may look the part, but being too heavy on the purse strings is not what you want!



Yes, the dreaded and probably most boring part of buying a car is the paperwork. Here are some things you need to check before you hand over your hard earned cash:

  • The listed keeper is selling the car, from the address stated on the V5C logbook, or if you’re buying from a dealer then that they have the right to sell the car.
  • Check the logbook registration and chassis number, against what is on the vehicle.
  • Look for any discrepancies in the service record.
  • Check the car mileage and MOT history (you can find this online if you have the registration number).

Check it over

You need to make sure that you’re buying a car worthy of the road and your money. Make sure you check the car carefully when viewing it. Look at every detail, inside and out. Some things to remember to check, that may not pop into your mind are:

  • Do the remote keys work?
  • Do all the electric windows open and close?
  • Does the air conditioning work?
  • Does the immobiliser work to unlock the car?

Test drive!

One huge part of buying a car is actually driving it! However, try and not get caught up in the excitement of being behind the wheel of a potential new ride, and make sure you’re looking out for any problems.

  • Does the car start easily?
  • Are they any unusual sounds coming from the car, maybe from the engine or the brakes?
  • Does the steering feel ok?
  • Can you see any smoke coming from the exhaust?
  • How do the pedals feel?
  • Check you can run through the gears and they feel ok!


Paying for the car

If you’ve done all the checks previously stated and you’re wanting to go ahead then that’s great! When it comes to paying for the car, be careful about taking a large amount of money with you. Ask if it’s possible to do a bank transfer – any genuine seller shouldn’t have a problem with this!

Do you have any other tips?

Have you bought a second-hand car? Was it the best purchase you’ve made, or did you end up buying something that wasn’t what it seems? Get in touch on our Facebook page and let us know! For anyone who’s looking to buy a second-hand car, follow these tips to make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for!

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By We Are Marmalade

'We champion young drivers with award-winning low cost insurance for learner and new drivers and a great young drivers' car scheme.'  See more posts by We Are

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