Second-Hand Vehicle Buying Checklist

A used automobile is one of the most difficult purchases to make. With so many horror stories of motorists driving away with unsafe or even illegal cars, it can make the process one that is extremely daunting. Use this second-hand car checklist to find a safe, reliable and high-quality vehicle for a decent price.

Reliable Seller

Always ensure that you are dealing with a reliable seller. Be wary of private sellers as this is where a lot of used car scams are used, or simply browse at reputable dealerships like Unbeatablecar.


View the car in good light and carefully examine the bodywork for signs of rust and be sure that all the panels line up smoothly. Scratches, dings and dents and you may be able to negotiate a lower price.


Check the condition of the four tyres, the spare and wheels. Look out for bulges or splits as these will need to be replaced, as well as uneven wear which could be a result of alignment issues.


Start the engine and listen for abnormal noises and watch the exhaust for smoke. You should also check the oil dipstick and the inside of the oil filler cap – any sludge and the engine will be damaged.


Open and close all the doors, wind down all the windows, check all of the lights, test the electronics and any other equipment that the automobile has.


Look for large rips or tears in the upholstery or cigarette burns on the seats. The odometer should match the general condition of the interior, otherwise it may have been clocked.

Test Drive

All of the gear changes should be smooth and quiet, whilst the biting point should be around halfway through the pedal’s travel. Test the brakes and handbrake – they should be responsive and provide power even at speeds.


Ask to see all of the paperwork for the automobile – this should match the automobile that you are looking at and also reveal any issues about the car’s past. It is also worth obtaining a vehicle history report to check this against the automobile and logbook (this is the best way to sidestep scam).

Second Opinion

Get somebody else to look over the vehicle to give their opinion. A mechanic’s assessment is an excellent way to uncover any issues and ensure that you are getting a reliable automobile.


Once you are happy, negotiate a fair price with the seller. Have a maximum figure in mind and do not go over this, but be flexible and fair with the price. Any minor issues with the car and you should be able to negotiate a lower price.

~ by velofinds on September 1, 2009.

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