What to ask when buying a used car | AA Cars

Buying a car can be a complex process, with lots to consider before you make your choice.

When you’re buying any car from a dealership, here are some questions that you should ask before you buy.

Will the car suit my specific needs?

You must be able to use the vehicle for the purposes that you’d normally expect from a vehicle. It should also be suitable for any specific purposes that either you’ve told the dealer about, the dealer has advertised, or the dealer has picked up from your conversation. This could include towing or short journeys, for example.

What’s the car’s service history?

When looking for a pre-owned model, it’s important to know its past. Ask about a car’s service history to see if it’s been regularly serviced and maintained to a good standard. Not all cars with a patchy history will be in bad condition, but vehicles with a full service history are more likely to have been well looked after. This is also a good time to ask when the vehicle was last serviced.

How long does the vehicle’s MOT have left?

As soon as a vehicle is 3 years old, it must pass an annual MOT test to prove its roadworthiness. If a car’s old enough to need an MOT, you’d expect a dealer to sort this before putting it on sale. However, if the MOT will only last a couple of months, get the dealer to include a new test in the sales conditions.

Vehicle inspection service

Are the tyres in good condition?

Tyres need to comply with road regulations by having at least 1.6mm tread depth. You can check your tyres with the 20p coin technique, a tyre gauge or with a full vehicle inspection. If they’re almost worn to the legal limit, try to persuade the dealer to include new tyres in the sale. This’ll save you paying to replace them soon after you buy.

Do you offer any type of warranty?

It’s never good if things go wrong on a car, so it’s always worth checking if the dealer offers a warranty package. The model might have some warranty rolled over from the previous owner. With cover in place, you can get most components fixed if your vehicle develops any faults after you’ve bought it. But always check any conditions or limits on the warranty.

Guide to vehicle warranties

Can I take it for a test drive?

This is good way to judge if the vehicle is right for you and whether it works as you’d expect. If the dealer doesn’t let you drive the vehicle, they could be trying to hide a fault until you’ve purchased the car.


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