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Buying a used car can be a pretty expensive undertaking nowadays which is why most people try everything they can to keep the cost down. Ideally, of course, you want to find a vehicle that isn’t going to break down on you the minute you get out on the road. Neither do you want to incur hefty bills because some vital part of the engine needs to be replaced. You could even make the used car more your own by getting Number Plate Replacements, or by swapping your old plates on to this car, so it doesn’t feel like someone else’s car you’re borrowing. Check out for more on personalized number plates!

Photo by Karl Köhler on Unsplash

Many of us know a bit about the inner workings of cars and what sits under the bonnet but we’re not so confident when it comes to knowing what to look out for in a used car.

That’s why it’s important to get someone to give your car a proper inspection that puts your mind at ease.

What is an Approved Used Scheme?

For those who don’t want to hire someone to inspect their potential new car, it’s a good idea to buy from an Approved Used scheme member in the first place. These are dealers who join the scheme and undertake to make certain checks on your car to ensure it is roadworthy.

Not only will they investigate the mechanical condition but they’ll generally make sure the vehicle hasn’t been written off or that there isn’t outstanding finance left which could be a problem.

If you are buying from a private seller, however, you don’t have this protection. It’s all very well to take them at their word but most people want some form of guarantee.

The Advantages of a Used Car Inspection

Assuming you want real peace of mind, you will be keen to have a proper inspection carried out. You’ll probably be spending at least a couple of thousand on the car anyway and you certainly don’t want any additional expense.

The good news is that you’ll easily find someone to carry out an inspection for you either online or in your local area. You may have a friendly mechanic recommended by a friend or you might want to use a national organisation like the RAC or AA who offer this service to both members and non-members.

The car will likely have a recent MOT but this doesn’t always highlight underlying problems that could cost you in the future. The purpose of the inspection is to give your vehicle a thorough going over to discover any problems before you’ve actually handed over the money.

Some companies offer different levels of inspection and price can vary depending on the size of the engine. You should expect to pay anything between £120 and £200 for an inspection. As with most things, it’s worth shopping around to find the right company.

Getting a professional car inspection completed should give you the confidence that you are buying a car without any major problems. The inspector may well highlight some smaller issues but you can decide whether these are enough to stop you buying. You might well be able to use that information to bring the price down a little and negotiate a better deal.

The Disadvantages of a Used Car Inspection

The big disadvantage is the extra cost but if you want peace of mind and more certainty that you’re getting a good deal in the first place, it can be well worth the few extra hundred pounds.

It is important, however, to choose the right person to carry out the inspection and you will want to have confidence in them. Larger companies usually have a whole host of registered mechanics that they can call upon but a small, local garage that has been recommended by a friend or colleague can be just as reputable (and may cost less).


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