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Picking Up Your Used Car

By Jake Jefferson

It is important that you check over the used car you are buying in daylight. If it is raining heavily or too dark note this fact on the sales invoice or bill of sale, stating you were unable to properly examine the car.

Ask if the car has been in an accident at any time, if the seller knows it has they have to tell you this if you ask. Walk around the car checking each panel for colour differences. Pay careful attention to the bumpers and corners on the car. Crouch down and look across the bonnet and down the sides of the car to find any dents or panel misalignments that suggest it has been in an accident you have not been told about.

All used car have snags, scuffs, tears or marks on the inside, make sure you are aware of them and that none need repairing. Remove the mats to check for damage to the carpets and for evidence of water damage. Include the boot in your examination. Whilst in the boot, check that the tool kit is complete and that the spare tyre is in good condition.

If the car turns out to be not as advertised arrange for it to be repaired to meet the standards advertised. Return and re-examine the car once repairs have been carried out. If you are not completely happy do not complete the purchase. It is difficult to get your money back from a private seller, even with the help of the courts. From a dealer it is easier, but there is a risk the dealer will not readily give a refund, so you could end up having to take them to court. If you include the repair agreement on the sales invoice and the work is not carried out this can help you to win your case if you have to go to court.

Examine the V5c checking that the registration date, owners details and chassis number all correspond with reality. Fill out the new owner section of the V5C and take the relevant sections with you. Make sure that you get a sales contract that states you have paid the full amount for the car and what that amount was. If buying from a dealer get an invoice.

Ask the seller to show you how everything on the car is worked. Ensure that repair invoices, instruction manuals and service history are all in the car. Make sure that you are given both sets of keys. Write down the sellers name, address and contact number. Before you drive away double check that you have the relevant insurance documents and that they are valid from the day you are picking up the car.

If a car you have brought from a dealer has problems and you plan to send it back, tell them in writing and send it back within 2 weeks. Not doing so considerably reduces any chance you may have of getting a full refund.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Jefferson, Jake "Picking Up Your Used Car." Picking Up Your Used Car. 23 Jun. 2010. 19 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Jefferson, J (2010, June 23). Picking Up Your Used Car. Retrieved August 19, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Jefferson, Jake "Picking Up Your Used Car"

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