How to buy a used car

How To Buy A Used Car



Buying a used car from an individual is not a decision to be made lightly. Beyond choosing the right model, you also have to pay close attention to the car’s condition and take it for a test drive before committing to buy. SPOTiCAR has many helpful tips to help you choose and buy your next used car with confidence. 




Before starting your search for a used car, you need to define your priorities and needs. This includes which category you’ll be looking in. The following are some common examples: 


  • A city car, for urban environments and economical use 

  • A hatchback, for versatility on the road 

  • A station wagon, for a large boot without sacrificing driving pleasure 

  • An MPV, SUV or multipurpose vehicle, to accommodate several family members and their luggage with ease 

  • A sports car, for thrilling drives 

  • A convertible, for outdoor fun 


You will also need to think about the type of engine you want and its transmission, such as: 


  • Petrol, if you travel less than 15,000 miles per year 

  • Diesel, for big wheelers or if you ever have to tow anything 

  • Electric engines, for city trips 

  • Hybrid models, for combined urban and rural road use 

  • Automatic transmission, for frequent city trippers 




You should allow around 10 minutes for vehicle condition checks and make sure you are conducting them in a well-lit environment. Make sure to check: 


  • The car’s exterior, including paint, bodywork, wheels, brakes, tyres, doors, tailgate, and headlights 


  • The engine: look at its general condition and fluid levels, as well as checking for leaks 


  • Interior spaces, including seat condition, cleanliness of the passenger compartment, dashboard lights and electronic systems 






You must test drive the car to ensure that it is comfortable for you to drive and there are no immediate problems.  


Start in a stationary position and check the main functions, including the lights, headlights, indicators, horn, windscreen wipers, windows, mirrors, air conditioning and any screens. 


The test drive should ideally take place in city streets, on winding country roads and on motorways. This way, you can make sure the engine, steering wheel, gears, brakes, and wheels are all in good working order.  






Once the purchase is complete, a minimum number of documents must be provided by the vehicle owner, including: 


  • V5C vehicle registration certificate, also called a logbook. This must be crossed out, dated and signed by the seller. 


  • Valid MOT certificate (for a vehicle over 3 years old). 


  • Service history: this is additional proof of repairs and good maintenance of the vehicle. 


  • User manual (optional): a practical addition to help you master the finer details of your newly acquired used car. 


With these documents in hand, you then have 30 days to register your used car in your name. 


And finally, don't forget to insure the vehicle, starting from the day of purchase. 




There’s no question that you can get a great deal on a used car when you buy from an individual. However, you get no guarantees regarding the condition of the vehicle. 


When you buy a used car from a professional like SPOTiCAR, you can access a trusted and reliable network of 500 Vauxhall, Peugeot, DS Automobiles and Citroën resellers to find the model that’s right for you at the best price. We thoroughly check all vehicles before listing them for sale, and provide peace of mind in the form of customer guarantees including: 



  • Minimum 12 months warranty 

  • 12 Months Roadside Assistance 

  • Comprehensive multi point check 

  • Vehicle history & mileage check 

  • 30-day vehicle exchange programme 

  • Manufacturer retail experience from trusted brands 

  • Part exchange of your previous vehicle 

  • Finance options & Extended Warranty available 

  • Professional advice and support 


There’s a lot to consider when you’re looking to buy a used car, but we hope this article has given you all you need to know to help you make the best decision for you.  



Nothing should be overlooked when buying a used car and, in this article, SPOTiCAR gives you all the steps you need to take before completing your transaction.