Checklist for Buying a Second Hand Vehicle

In the market for a second-hand automobile? It can be difficult to find what you are looking for and an intimidating process to go through, but with the right knowledge it can be relatively straightforward and you should easily be able to find what you are looking for and at a fair price. Use this checklist when looking at any used vehicle.

Private vs Dealership

Private dealers will offer lower prices, but you must be careful when you go down this path and be very thorough to avoid getting ripped off and/or scammed. Alternatively, dealerships will have higher prices but you are much more likely to find better automobiles when you shop at reputable dealerships, such as Unbeatablecar.


Always ask to see all of the used car documentation to make sure that you are looking at the same automobile and that there is not a hidden history.


A few dents will allow you to negotiate a lower price, but beware of any vehicle with signs of crash damage or rust. Always view the car in daylight and examine every inch.

Wheels & Tyres

Replacements can be pricey, so look out for any damage to the wheels and tyres (remember to check the spare).


Ensure that all of the equipment, electronics and warning lights are working, as well as the windows and locks. The interior condition should match the odometer reading, but check the mileage on a range of different documents to avoid a clocked car. If there are rips in the upholstery, you may be able to negotiate a lower price.


Start up the engine and listen for any abnormal signs and watch the exhaust for visible emissions. It is also important to look out for leaks and check the oil level.

Gearbox & Clutch

On the test drive, all the gear changes should be quiet and smooth as there may be a problem otherwise. The biting point should be around halfway through the travel of the pedal.


Also, on the test drive, test the brakes to see how effective they are and whether or not the vehicle pulls to one side. Also check the efficiency of the handbrake.

Second Opinion

Before striking a deal, get somebody else to give the car a once over. One top tip is to get a mechanic’s inspection, as this will ensure that there are no issues and will provide peace of mind.


Finally, negotiate a price with the dealer. Do not be afraid of haggling for a lower price and be firm but friendly in your negotiations.