What to look for when you see a vehicle

Here is a simple check list of things to take into account when you check a used vehicle that you are considering purchasing.

Firstly, look at the engine carefully, and see if you think it has been changed in any way. If there is any doubt on this or other points listed below then you are best to walk away from the sale. Remember that if you do spot something dodgy, you don't of course need to say to the person selling the vehicle that you think there is something dodgy with it! You can simply say you will think about the purchase.

Check that all the locks on the car open with the same key, and also check that there are no dents or bumps anywhere on the car. Is the petrol cap clearly the one the car came with, and are there two keys?

Look at the registration number of the vehicle, there is more information on this in another article in this section.

Some vehicles will have a Q registration number, which indicates one of several possibilities: the car has been imported without proof of age, has been rebuilt, or has unknown age or identity: for further information on why this is look at the V5C which should explain why it has a Q reg.

There are various elements that you should also check with regard to the identity of the car, and these include that all window etchings match each other, and that the seller knows all about the vehicle and its controls, because they should be very familiar having driven it day in day out for possibly several years!

There is a full checklist made available by the DVLA that you should print and read through and bring with you when it comes to inspecting the vehicle:

http://www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum_dg/groups/dg_digitalassets/@dg/@en/@motor/documents/digitalasset/dg_186824.pdf

If you are not confident, then take someone else along with you and potentially a independent and qualified examiner to see the vehicle with you.

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