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When it comes to buying a car it always pays to do your homework! While looking for your new set of wheels can be great, it can also be fraught with risk if you don’t know what you’re looking for so make sure you’re seller savvy and are clued up on exactly what you need to be looking out for! Here are 10 things to remember when buying a car:

1. The Dealer:

Who are you buying your new car off? While there are plenty of reputable dealerships as well as independent trade sellers there are unfortunately still a few out there that will try to rip you off. Ensure you choose dealers that have a great track record, if you’re looking online then make sure you check out any reviews or ratings they have.

2. Check the Bodywork

Give the bodywork of the car a once over, check for dents and scratches but more importantly look closely over the paintwork. Check for any inconsistencies – if you notice different shades of colour or there are patches where the paintwork isn’t smooth it may well be the case that is has undergone a re-spray at some point. This could mean it has previously suffered damage.

Car with Driver-Silhouette

3. Get a HPI Check

Before you purchase a car you should always have a HPI check carried out on the car. This will ensure there is no outstanding finance on the car, it has never been reported stolen and it hasn’t been written off by an insurer.

4. Check Under the Bonnet

Don’t worry! You don’t have to be a mechanic for this bit – you just need to check for signs of wear and tear. Check the engine for any signs of rusting or repair as this could indicate previous damage. You should also have a look over the belts. Check that the radiator belt is not soft and that any other belts or hoses are free from bends or cracks as these things can be expensive to replace.

Lift the oil dipstick and check the quality of the oil, it should be clear and golden – if it’s not the oil probably needs replacing. Ensure you check under the engine cap – if you see a white, creamy substance this is bad news. This could indicate damage to the head gasket or even engine damage that is beyond repair.

5. Check the Mileage

The mileage of a car should always be genuine but you can check this by inspecting the interior of the car. If it’s low mileage then the driver’s seat and steering wheel shouldn’t be particularly worn. If the wear and tear of the interior is inconsistent with the mileage alarm bells should start to ring for you. You can always check through the service history to check the mileage is consistent.

Trabant 601

6. Always Test Drive the Car

Never purchase a car without test driving it; you could pick up on underlying mechanical problems whilst driving it. During the test drive ensure you press the brakes firmly to check they are in full working order. Also check that the steering isn’t too heavy and that it doesn’t pull to one side.

7. Check the Paperwork

Don’t be afraid to have a thorough check through all the paperwork, including past MOT’s and services. You can look at the sort of maintenance work it has had in the past and check that it hasn’t had any major repairs. You should also check when the cambelt or timing belt was last changed and gauge when it would next need replacing, this can be a costly procedure but even more so if the belt was to snap.

8. Check The Number of Previous Owners

The log book will give you information on how many previous owners it has had, cars with just one or two long term owners will often have been looked after better. You should also look at the V5 and check who currently owns the car, if the name doesn’t match with the person selling it try to find out why the previous owner decided to sell.

9. Check When the MOT is due

You don’t want to buy a car and then be forking out money for MOT’s and services as soon as you have bought it. Many reputable garages and dealers will offer to put a full 12 months MOT on the car so check if this is an option.

10. Don’t Be Pressured into Buying

Never be pressured into buying a car. If you’re not sure about it or you have a bad feeling about either the car of the seller – go with your gut instinct and look elsewhere. A car is a big investment and a decision you need to be 100% confident in.

This post was written by Meredith Watts on behalf of Moneybarn, a reliable and dynamic company who specialise in providing car finance based on your personal circumstance, regardless of your credit history.