Top 3 Mistakes People Make When Buying a Used Car

Buying a car can be an exciting time for many people which unfortunately can turn into a nightmare for some of them. There are many things to look out for when buying a second hand car especially as some owners try to hide problems from buyers in an effort to drive up the price of the car. Here are a few of the biggest mistakes people make so you don’t have to.

Car History Checks

Checking the history of a car that you are about to buy is absolutely essential. If you buy a car that turns out has been stolen, the police have the right to take your car and return it to its original owner with no compensation to you what so ever. Similarly, a history check can uncover if the car has been in an accident. A car involved in an accident in the past can drive up the insurance costs or worse still, be impossible to insure and therefore cannot be legally driven if it has had a serious accident. Luckily a handful of used car websites history check every second hand car being sold on the site for you so you can avoid falling into the car history trap.

View the Car Before You Buy It

It is far too easy to look at pictures of used cars that have been taken in such a way that all the problems with the car are hidden and believe that you are buying a bargain. Make sure that you see the car with your own eyes before you buy or make any sort of commitment to buy the car such as a deposit. There are many things to look out for when viewing a car. Take a look at the engine and look for rust, burn marks, oil stains and dirt. You don’t have to be a mechanic to do this. If the engine looks poorly looked after, the chances are it has been. If at all possible ask the owner to start the car making sure the car starts the first time and that the engine sounds healthy. Lastly, try your best to look everywhere around and underneath the car, looking for rust and damage especially around the wheel arches.

Drive the Car before you Buy

It is amazing how many people buy a car without having ever driven it. The average person keeps their car for a few years, so why not test drive the car you will be driving for the next few years. Make sure the car is comfortable to drive, as some seats and steering setups just don’t suit some people. Make sure the car handles well for your tastes, that the gear stick (if it is a manual) is in a comfortable place and arguable most important of all, you have good visibility through all windows and mirrors.


Filed Under: Car Opinions


  • Jessica

    I bought my one and only car which is a 2nd hand. I brought my father who has firm grasp about cars. We look inside and out, test drive it, and well, one factor that stands out as its considerably cheaper price. I think the article will improve our awareness in settling for used cars, when we are at the crossroads between practicality and qualtiy.

  • Mike Fischer

    If you are considering purchasing a used car, you absolutely must get an AutoCheck Vehicle History Report AND have a mechanic inspect the car on a lift. Never pay cash for a deposit on a used car. If the deal falls through, you’ll never get your cash back, but you can always dispute a credit transaction.
    Twitter: @unocardealers