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The KwikGuide to
Buying a used car
Section 1: The Search
what to look for
check the costs
where to look
where to buyarranging to viewSection 2: The Car

oily bits
test driving
Section 3: The Dealhagglingarranging to payI've been conned!
useful links
Kwik checklist
back to main index

Buying a used car

arranging to view a car

Once you've found a car you like the sound of, first establish the status
of who's selling.
If the advertiser is a car trader, they're legally obliged to
declare it by putting the letter 'T' or word 'Trade' in their advert. This declaration gives you rights you wouldn't have if buying privately - the same rights, in fact,
as if you were buying from a plush showroom.

So not surprisingly some small traders try and get out of these obligations. If
the ad you're looking at doesn't show 'T' or 'Trade', check them out by first not mentioning the car you're interested in. Say you're calling about "the car".
A private seller is unlikely to be selling more than one at once. But a trader
might have to ask you which car you mean.

KwikTip: always get a car insurance quote from Direct Line too,
as they don't take part in the price comparison websites.

It may be that a small-time trader only deals in one car at a time. So double
check by asking "how long have you owned it?". Anything less than
6 months, ask them directly if they are a trader or private seller. If they're still evasive or admit they're a trader after all, ask yourself if you really want to deal
with someone who has already lied in their advert.

When you know who you're buying from, ask for a few more details about
the car, partly to get more info about the car but also to get an idea about the person you're talking to. Depending what's in the advert, ask questions like:

- how many previous keepers has it had?
- why are you selling?
- what's the mileage / do you know if it's genuine?
- what sort of condition is the car in?
- any outstanding finance or HP agreement?
- does it have tax and MOT?
- does it have any service records?
- have you had any major problems with it?
- has it had any accidents? What was the damage?
- where was it repaired?
- has it been modified in any way?
- has anything been replaced on it lately?

- has it transported pets or does the driver smoke?

After a short chat, instinct should guide you about the honesty of the seller. If you're happy with the answers, make an appointment to view the car.

Arrange to go to their house. Don't go at night or in the rain, don't go alone,
and don't go carrying a large amount of money. They may be trying to be helpful but, but be suspicious if the seller wants to bring the car to you or suggests a 'mutually convenient' location like a pub or car park.

Next page:
checking a used car for faults >>


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