Don’t get caught: How to avoid buying a dodgy second-hand car.
Used car scams are on the rise so buyers need to tread carefully. Carrying out a few basic checks before you hand over the cash can save you thousands of pounds. It’s important to remember that buying stolen car will leave you significantly out of pocket with no chance of getting your money back. The police will simply take the car away.
So, when buying a second-hand car, here are the checks you must do before you hand over your hard-earned cash:
Must do checks: How to avoid buying a dodgy second-hand car.
This is the best £19.99 you will ever spend. Go to www.hpicheck.com to find out whether your potential purchase has finance outstanding, has ever been an insurance write off or has been stolen. If you are buying from a dealer the they will have already carried out a HPI check so always ask to see it. If there is outstanding finance ask for proof that it has been paid off.
One in four vehicles still has outstanding debt. If money is owed on a car by the previous owner the car still belongs to the finance company. They can repossess the car at any time.
This is a really useful way of checking the provenance of a vehicle including it’s mileage and condition. On top of that it’s absolutely free. Go to www.gov.co.uk/check-mot-history. here you will be able to check the mileage and view any recent “advisory items”. If these items have not been addressed since the MOT then you will be the one picking up the bill. At the very least you can use this as a price negotiating tool.
The V5C is what I used to know as the “Log Book” when I was younger. That then became the “Registration Document” and now it’s a “V5C”. Not quite so cuddly! The V5C will help you identify stolen or “cloned cars” but remember, a forged V5C is very common which is why you need to do all the checks I have listed.
This document will tell you three things:
- The serial number appears at the top of the page in a white circle.
- The document reference number in the white square halfway down the page.
- The issue date at the bottom of the page.
So how does this information help us? Well, if you want to avoid buying a second-hand dodgy car this is what you need to do.
First check the serial number. If it is between BG8229501 to BG9999030 or BI2305501 to BI2800000 then this indicates this V5C is one of a stolen batch.
The next step is to go to www.vehicleenquiry.service.gov.uk
Here you should enter the vehicle registration number, the car make and document reference number. Scroll down and you will see the V5C issue date. That date should match the one on the seller’s V5. If it doesn’t you will have enormous problems with the DVLA when you come to put the vehicle into your name.
This is the one most people are familiar with so I’m hoping you always do this. VIN stands for vehicle Identification number which is also the chassis number. The VIN can be found on the bottom right hand corner of the windscreen although some owners have it etched onto their side windows as well to help prevent theft. Make sure that the same VIN appears on the V5C and also on the HPI check.
INDEPENDENT CAR CHECK: AVOIDING DODGY SECOND-HAND CARS.
Consider having an independent qualified examiner check the vehicle over. I know it costs – but it’s often money well spent. You also have come back if later on you find something not quite right. The AA charge around £250 for a full inspection but if your new pride and joy turns out to be two cars that have been welded together that will be the best couple of hundred quid you will ever spend.
There are lots of stolen cars out there and you need to steer well clear. These checks are vital if you want to avoid buying a dodgy second-hand car.