Buying a used car

Winter is a critical time, a point where your car will need most care. Due to heavy snow, winds and icy roads driving can become dangerous and the percentage of accidents can increase.

At One Call Insurance we always want our customers to feel safe so it's a good idea to prepare your car for the winter season. It can be a good idea to get your vehicle serviced before winter, but if that's not possible, here are some things you can easily do yourself.


Before narrowing down which cars you would like to buy, you need to set yourself a budget so you know how much you have to spend.

If you already have a car, work out how much it is worth and whether you plan to sell privately or part exchange it with a dealer.

Things to think about when buying a new car:

  • Car cost
  • Any repair costs
  • Road tax
  • MOT

Choosing the car

These days there is more choice than ever for you to pick from. You need to think about what type of things you will use your new car for.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • How many miles will you do?
  • How many seats and doors do you need?
  • Fuel costs
  • Servicing costs
  • Insurance costs
Choosing a car

Finding Cars

Sites such as autotrader are a good source for used car sales. Most dealers have websites and sometimes also advertise on autotrader. Spend some time looking for cars for sale near your area, so you don’t have too far to travel, and in the case of buying from a dealer, you don’t have too far to travel should any issues with your new car arise.

Choosing a car


Contact the seller

Remember to ask plenty of questions about the car, its past and its condition. Always arrange your viewing at the sellers house.

Try to view the car in daylight and when it’s dry, it’ll make it easier to spot any damage.

Phoning a car dealer


Again, the more questions you ask about a car the more informed you can be about your potential purchase. Try to research a particular car before going to view, there is plenty of advice online and you can easily find common faults on most models that you will need to be aware of.

Phoning a car dealer


Get a car HPI check to make sure the car doesn’t have any outstanding finance on it, or hasn’t been registered as stolen or written off.

Check the cars documents. You should have access to the logbook, any service history, previous and current MOT certificates.

Check the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) matches the VIN recorded in the logbook. You can usually find VIN numbers at the bottom of the windscreen, under the bonnet, and stamped into the chassis next to the drivers seat. Also check for any signs that the VIN may have been tampered with.

Check for rust, unmatched paint, and uneven gaps between body panels. These may indicate the car has been involved in an accident.

Make sure everything inside the car works, including indicators, windows, air conditioning, stereo etc.

Phoning a car dealer

Test Drive

A test drive is a good way to check how the car feels on the road. You should always be wary of a seller who is unwilling to let you test drive a car before you purchase.

Try to spend at least 15 minutes on the road, on different surfaces and at different speeds. Before you take a car for a test drive make sure you have adequate insurance to do so. Try to start the engine when it’s cold, looking for excessive smoke and any unusual noises. Check brakes, steering and gears (including reverse) all work as they should.

Phoning a car dealer

Negotiating Price

Its common place for buyers to make an offer on the car they want to buy, but you need to make an informed offer

  • How many miles will you do?
  • How many seats and doors do you need?
  • Fuel costs
  • Servicing costs
  • Insurance costs

If you decide the car isn’t for you or the seller isn’t willing to negotiate on price, don’t be afraid to walk away.

Phoning a car dealer


  • It is essential the cars paperwork is checked thoroughly.
  • Check all paperwork looks and feels genuine, don’t accept photocopies or print outs.
  • Remember to check the VIN on the car matches the VIN in the logbook.
  • Check the owners details match the details of the person selling the car (unless buying at a dealers)
  • Check the service history, it should record mileage, which you can cross check with the cars actual mileage.
  • It will also give you an indication if the car has been well maintained or not.
  • Cars that are over three years of age require a valid MOT certificate. You can check a cars MOT history online HERE!
  • Make sure the seller writes a receipt for the sale of the car.
  • Ensure the new keeper parts of the V5 logbook are sent to the DVLA.

Phoning a car dealer

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