Extra easy car buyers' checklist

Buying a car? Use our Extra Easy Car Buyers’ Checklist to make sure you get the best car and a great deal.

Your checklist for buying a used car.

  • Know your facts.
    Which make, model, trim and engine suits your needs?
  • Asking price.
    How much is the car advertised for? Are there any deals on offer from the seller? What other deals are available on similar cars and how do they compare?
  • What you are prepared to pay?
    Know your budget and stick to it.
  • Get the seller’s details.
    Be sure to grab their name, address, phone number, email and web address in case you need to contact them.
  • History check.
    Use the car’s registration number to carry out a vehicle history check online before going to view it.
  • Does the car have all of its documents?
    Make sure the V5C registration, service book and any MoTs are present and match the car.
  • Check the bodywork condition.
    Is there any damage to the paint, wheels, tyres or windows?
  • Look under the bonnet for engine condition.
    Can you see any oil leaks and does the engine start easily when cold and hot?
  • Inspect the interior condition.
    Can you spot any wear and do all of the controls and instruments work properly?
  • Check the mileage on the clock.
    Does it match any documents and tally with the car’s age and condition?
  • Look at the MoT certificate.
    If the car is three years old or more, it must have one. Does the MoT certificate state any advisory work that needs to be carried out?
  • Take a test drive.
    Is the car suitable for your needs? Can you get in and out of the vehicle with ease, and can you drive the car comfortably on a variety of journeys?
  • Safety first.
    Do the brakes and steering work properly with no noises or slack?
  • Does the car suit you?
    Make sure it fits all your needs for passengers, boot space and practicality.
  • Arrange insurance and road tax.
    Ensure you have insurance cover and road tax in place for when you collect your car to stay legal and protected.
  • Have you got everything?
    When you complete the deal to buy a car, make sure you receive all of the documents, including the V5C registration form and a receipt for payment.


 Knowing where you should go to buy a car is important.

Where can I buy a used car?