Buyer Beware | 5 Things to Check Before Buying a Used Car

Used Cars beware
Used Cars beware

When you’re buying a used car it pays to be aware of the traps and pitfalls that are around. Below is a handy list of things to check out before you buy a used car. For more information on the kinds of things used car buyers ought to be aware of, look online for advice from car finance experts like Dream Loans.

Where Is It Parked?

This may sound silly but if the car you’re looking at is not parked on level ground, make sure you get it to a level place and get out and look at the wheels. This is so you can see if the tyres are level, and whether anything is sagging on the car. If the tyres appear uneven, it is an indication that there may be an issue with the car’s frame and you will have ongoing maintenance issues to deal with.


Make sure you look over the car’s detailing carefully. Look for rust spots, dents and scratches. Run your fingers along the panel edges; if you feel any roughness, it’s a good indication that the area has recently been covered with masking tape, and the car has recently been detailed. This may be fine, or it could indicate that the vendor is attempting to hide something.

Used Cars

Used Cars

Look In The Boot

The condition of the boot will give you an idea of how well looked after the car was. Look for any signs of rust or water damage. If water gets into the boot too easily, there will be signs. You should also make sure you check any spare tyres are intact and to be sold as part of the car. The boot is also one of the best places on a car to see how well maintained the overall vehicle might be.

Tyre Telltales

A car’s tyres are a pretty good indicator of whether or not there are any internal issues with the wheel alignment, or the chassis. Feathering on the tyre’s surface indicates a problem with the wheel alignment. Poor wheel alignment can in turn be caused by problems with the steering or suspension.

Used Cars beware

Used Cars beware

Signs Of Car Accidents

Car crashes can massively damage the frame of a vehicle and there will always be signs, no matter what the used car vendor tells you. Look carefully at the part of the car where front fenders meet the radiator. This is called the ‘saddle’; if the saddle is not bolted in (if it’s welded, for example) this may indicate that the fenders have been realigned, which only happens after an accident.

There are a lot of things to check out when you buy a used car. You can pay a vehicle inspector to look over the car for you and if any of the indicators on the list raise a red flag, then it may be a very good idea to do this. It’s also worth taking a friend along with you if they know more about cars than you do.

What’s the first thing you check when you buy a used car? Share your advice in the comments box below.