Buying a used car

When buying a used car, there is a lot to think about. It can be really tricky to make sure you’re getting a great deal and the car that’s right for you. 

At Meashams Self Drive, we know a thing or two about selling used cars. We make sure our customers have all the detail they need to make an informed choice when hiring or buying from us. Take a look at our tips for buying a used car. 

Know your budget 

You know exactly how much you’ve got available to spend on a car. Don’t feel pressured by sales people into spending more than you can afford on a vehicle. Make sure you look at cars in your price range and don’t be tempted to browse at ones you wouldn’t reasonably be able to pay for. 

Check the mileage against the age 

The average car does around 10-15,000 miles in a year. If the car is 5 years or under and it’s done more than 100,000 miles, you might want to avoid it. Look for a vehicle that’s as new as possible within your budget and has reasonably low mileage. 

test drive when buying a used car

Test drive 

You get the best feel for a car buy getting behind the wheel. You need to take it for a drive to get a sense of whether it’s the right for you. You’ll also be able to hear whether or not it sounds right and keep an ear out for any bangs or little noises that indicate the vehicle hasn’t been well taken care of. 

Make sure it starts okay, keep an eye on the temperature gauge to make sure it’s starting from cold and hasn’t been warmed up by the dealer beforehand. Is it easy to find the car’s bite point? Also try and test whether the clutch is in good working order. Move through the gears to make sure they’re smooth and not sloppy. 

Test the breaks too and make sure that they stop the car cleanly. It should be able to stop in a straight line without pulling to one side. 

Check the car over 

As well as listening and feeling how well the car drives, you need to give it a good inspection while it’s stationary. See if there are any dents or scratches. Consider the tyres and make sure they’re road worthy. Also check you’ve got a spare wheel and accessories included.

Make sure all the electrics work – open the windows, turn on the radio and test the air conditioning. Go over all the glass to make sure there are no chips or scratches. Check the upholstery for signs of wear and tear. See if the steering wheel is well maintained and there’s no damage or signs of use on the pedals.

car tyre for a check over before being bought

Document check 

You need to make sure the car comes with the VC5, also known as the registration document or log-book. Check that the make and model of the car matches the information on this form, and that it’s the right number plate for that car. 

There’s also the vehicle identification number to check. The VIN on your documents needs to match the VIN on the lower part of the windscreen. You’ll also want to make sure you’ve got all the MOT documents as well to show that the car has been well taken care of and is road legal. 

Find out a little more about the history 

Ask how many previous owners there have been and if the car has ever been in an accident. You’ll want to talk to the vehicle’s registered keeper to make sure you get all the answers you need before committing to a purchase. 

Looking to buy? 

Meashams Self Drive from time to time sell some of our vehicles to make sure our fleet is always fully stocked with the latest models. Take a look at what we’ve currently got for sale and get in touch for a test drive. 

View second hand vehicles