Tips for buying a vehicle

Date posted: August 23, 2012

Buying a car can be a tough decision to make, especially when you’re buying second-hand. have put together some tips to consider when it comes to buying a vehicle, in addition to some advice to help reduce the risk of buying a stolen vehicle.

Above all, it’s important that you know about the seller and their background, the vehicle’s registration certificate and the origin of the vehicle, in addition asking yourself whether the vehicle suits your needs and meets your requirements. If you think the cost of the vehicle is too good to be true then it probably is.

Ask plenty of questions beforehand

Before seeing the vehicle, there are a few things to consider. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller plenty of questions before arranging to meet. Is the seller the registered keeper? Do you have the expiry date of the tax disc and the MOT test number? Do you know the full make and model of the vehicle, in addition to the vehicle registration number?

If you have any other queries then this is your opportunity to ask. You should then arrange to see the vehicle at the registered keeper’s address.

Check the vehicle

When you arrive at the registered keeper’s address, greet the seller, who should then show you to the vehicle. Take this opportunity to have a thorough look at the vehicle; look out for any scratches or scrapes, dents or damage to the interior. Be very observant and ensure all of your questions are answered. After all, you want to receive a vehicle that’s worth the money.

Remember to ask for the vehicle’s registration certificate.

Check the vehicle’s registration certificate

Unfortunately, thieves can change the appearance of a stolen vehicle and its paperwork in an attempt to make it look genuine (known as ‘cloning’) and they can also forge documents.

Once you’ve obtained the vehicle’s registration certificate, check it over thoroughly; hold the V5C up to the light. If there isn’t a ‘DVL’ watermark then the certificate is likely to have been altered or forged.

Check whether the V5C matches all of the other documentation provided by the seller including the vehicle’s details.

You’ll also notice a small serial number in a white circle in the top right hand corner of the V5C. If it looks like it may have been altered or parts of it are missing then there’s probably something dodgy going on. Similarly, if the serial number is in the following ranges (on a blue V5C) then contact the police:

  • BG8229501 to BG9999030
  • BI2305501 to BI2800000

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