If you are looking for your first car, or will be starting to look soon once you have passed your theory and practical tests, then you may well be thinking of buying a used car. Used cars can be much better value than new cars because new cars depreciate in value very fast, and often, for new or younger drivers, the budget available for a car is fairly small. By choosing a used car over a new one you may be able to get a better model with more features. Of course, while there are thousands of really good used cars out there, there are also some that are less of a good deal.
Before you look at any used car, whether you are looking at a private sale or at a dealership, read up on how to inspect a car properly, or take someone with you who has some knowledge and experience in this area. There are lots of simple little checks you can do when you get the chance to look at the vehicle that can help you ensure it is not ‘a lemon’. Checking things like the suspension and knowing how to look for tell-tale signs in the bodywork and interior of problems in the car’s past are all important, but there is another check you can do using your phone or computer that can be even more revealing.
What is a Car History Check and Why Can it Help?
A car history check is a simple check run on UK databases that can tell you if a given car has been in an accident in the past, or has had other problems such as having been in a flood. It uses mainly insurance data and also things like police and AA or RAC records to show you as much as possible about the given vehicle’s past. There may be things that the seller doesn’t want to tell you about the car, or things they may not even know if they got the car used themselves and didn’t run these kinds of checks, so it helps you make a much more informed decision about whether you want to buy the car to know as much as you can about its history.
How Can You Find Out a Car’s History?
There are several services that will allow you to do a history check on any UK car with a registration number. You can use a number of different private services, including the RAC, who will run a check for a minimal fee (usually just a couple of pounds). You can do this using websites or using text based services from your phone, so if you are at a dealership you can run checks on the cars you see and like as you go, just by using the numbers on their license plates.
Using history checks can give you extra negotiating power when you buy a car as well as prevent you from buying a bad vehicle. Use them as part of your inspection process when you are looking at used cars.