Buying a used car is practical, will save you money and will also put your dream car that little bit closer within reach! What is not to love? There are a huge range of used cars out there and normally you will be able to drive away the same day. In this article we want to help you know what to look for when buying the used car of your dreams.

Why Should I Buy A Used Car?

Buying a used car is one of the best and most affordable ways to buy a car. Did you know that on average used cars can be up to 50% cheaper than brand new cars. The majority of people start off wanting a brand new car and then when they realise the savings they will make, they quickly switch to a used one.

Something to think about also is that the bulk of the depreciation has already happened. New cars depreciate as soon as they drive off the lot.  With used cars this has already happened and in some rare cases some cars can even gain some value.

Did you know that customisation costs will be lower too? When you buy a brand new car add ons can stack the bill right up, whereas when you install your own, it brings down the price by a lot. It is a great way to save money and the other great part is if you choose to not have the customisation anymore you can just sell it.

Can I Test Drive A Used Car?

Yes! With the seller's permission of course. If the seller does not allow this, this could be a warning. It is important to make sure you are properly insured when you are taking out the car as it is a legal requirement to have at least third party insurance to drive a car. Here is a quick list of things to look out for when taking your car for a test drive:

  • If the ride is bumpy, there could be an issue with suspension
  • If the clutch slips this could indicate the cultch is due for replacement
  • If the car is pulling in one direction, this could be an alignment issue
  • If you hear whining coming from the steering wheel this could be a power steering issue
  • If the handbrake feels unstable this could indicate a replacement is needed

And finally...

  • If the breaks are wobbling this could also be a sign that they need to be replaced.

What Else Shall I Look For When Buying A Used Car?

Here is a comprehensive list of all of the things you need to look out for when you buy a used car. We would always recommend looking at the car during the day if possible as the sunlight will help you spot problems if there are any.

MOT & Servicing

If the car you are looking at is more than three years old, its entire MOT history can be viewed online. All you have to do is add the car's registration number into the Government website and you will be shown all of the details you need.

It is important that you pay attention to all of the details as if there are any issues that could be transferred to you with ownership. You should also always look at the car’s service book and ask the owner if they have any maintenance receipts, just to keep on top of everything when the car is handed over to you.

Check The Outside Of The Car

When checking the body of the car you will need to check for any scratches and dents as well as any mismatching paint work as this could indicate damage. Whilst you are looking at the body of the car, we would then recommend you checking the tyres. Tyres are a crucial part of the vehicle and if damaged could cause a serious accident.

Tyres will need to have a minimum of 1.6mm tread depth to be road legal, they should also be free from any cuts or bulges and each tread should be evenly worn on each tyre.

Check The Inside Of The Car

From the outside in, now it is time to check the oil levels. To check the oil levels you need to ensure that the car is cool and parked on a level surface. Next open the bonnet and check the oil levels using the dipstick. Low oil levels could be a poor maintenance issue and if the oil is black and now brown this could indicate that the oil has not been changed in a while.

Tip: Clean engine oil will be a golden yellow colour!

Next, you need to check the engine. Three of the most common signs of engine/battery issues include:

  • The engine not starting
  • The motor not working
  • The lights on the interior and exterior are dim during ignition

Another quick tip we would recommend is to check the colour of the exhaust emissions. If the emissions are black this could be a sign of burning fuel and black smoke can indicate burning oil.


Milage will always be higher than what was recorded on the last MOT if it is not it has been illegally wound back. The average driver drives around 9,000 miles a year, however this is hard to gauge as nowadays people do travel quite far for work or to visit family and friends.

You do not need to be put off by higher mileage, but if the mileage is higher you will need to ensure that the car has been maintained, serviced and has an up to date MOT.

Buying from a main dealership is the safest and simplest process. You will usually find when you use a dealership you will receive a full service history, all checks will have already been carried out and the car may even come with warranty and breakdown cover.

Jacob is a marketing executive at Holders of Congresbury. Holders offer a huge range of used cars in Weston. If you are looking for your dream car today, get in touch with a member of the Holders team.