Six questions you must ask when buying a second hand car or face £4,000 extra costs | Personal Finance | Finance

If you looking to buy a second hand car then you need to ask certain questions – as it could end up costing you later on.

The cost of new cars has risen over the last few years and more often than not, Brits are buying their vehicles second hand either through a dealership or through private sellers to get on the road.

However, car experts at ATS Euromaster told the Mirror that drivers potentially face significant extra costs by not asking the right questions when buying a second hand motor.

These extra costs could be in the form of hefty repairs or even fines which could reach as high as £4,000. To help drivers, technical support engineer at ATS Euromaster Simon Waye, has highlighted the six main questions you should ask when buying a second hand car.

He said: “It may seem a little daunting, but any reputable seller will be happy to answer any questions you may have, show you any documentation and explain more about the car. Most importantly don’t feel rushed into deciding there and then, it’s important to go away and make an informed decision”.

How long does the warranty last and what does it cover?

ATS Euromaster says used cars are typically out of warranty but there can be an option to add this as an extra when buying directly from a car dealership.

It is always worth checking what exactly the warranty covers, such as mileage limit, tyres, clutch and brakes which can be subjected to wear and tear which isn’t covered under the warranty. If your warranty doesn’t cover things such as brake pads or discs, then you face a cost of up to £440 to replace them.

What previous maintenance work has been completed?

When buying the car, you should make sure to ask the seller what previous maintenance work has been completed, along with information from the MOT, and service history booklet. Having this up to date information will allow you to keep track of what work has been done so you know when things may need another look at in the future.

You can also conduct a free MOT history check on the Government website which would highlight any areas of concern. According to ATS Euromaster, the potential cost for maintenance work and MOT could reach up to £327.

Can I test drive the car?

With a used car it is essential to take it for a test drive before buying it. This gives you the chance to see how it drives, if it responds smoothly and it allows you to test important parts such as the brakes. If the seller is hesitant about letting you test drive, it could be that they are trying to hide something.

In this case, it is best to walk away. Dealerships can face a fine of up to £300 for not having insurance while people test drive vehicles, and you could also buy a dodgy motor which could lead to further costs for you down the line.

What condition are the tyres and brakes in?

Tyres and brakes are among the most important parts of a car. You should be sure to check the tyres have good tread, don’t have any damage, and are ideally all the same brand and tyre type. It is also essential to ask when the brakes were last checked and changed.

ATS Euromaster says the 20p trick is a “great way” to check the tread. All you need to do is place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of your tyre. If the outer band of the 20p coin is obscured when it is inserted, then your tread is above the legal limit. You should be sure to check at least three locations around each tyre for an accurate reading.

The potential fine for insufficient tyre tread sits at £2,500 per tyre and the cost to replace each one is around £100 depending on what tyres you buy.

Check important paperwork is available on the day of purchase

ATS Euromaster says “it’s key” the car comes with a V5C as you will need this to register the car with the DVLA. It is also proof of ownership for the vehicle. Before you buy the car you should make sure no sections of the car’s paperwork has been tampered with and that there is a DVL watermark visible.

Proof of purchase is also important you should always make sure you as the buyer – and the seller – receive a copy that details the date of purchase, the vehicle’s specifics, and signatures from both parties. Though the cost to replace a V5C is only £25 it is an extra cost all the same.

What general condition is the car in?

This sounds like a basic question, however, it is a very important one to ask. When viewing the car ensure you look at things like the bodywork, the upholstery, and signs of general wear and tear. Check all electrical components work correctly as well as check fluid levels, the window wipers work and under the oil cap. These are all vital in making sure the car runs correctly, and costs to fix things such as this could reach up to £600 if there are multiple issues you have to sort out.

This article was crafted with the help of AI tools, which speed up the Daily Express editorial research. A Daily Express editor reviewed this content before it was published. You can report any errors here

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