Quite a large percentage of vehicles on the road and offered for sale have a hidden secret that many sellers would not want revealed. Although vehicle insurers together with vehicle manufacturers and law enforcement agencies have joined forces to fight vehicle crime and the statistics show a massive improvement in more recent times, car crime does still very much exist and care should be exercised when purchasing a used vehicle, especially if the vehicle is being sold by a private individual or an auction site. There are some simple tips to follow when purchasing a vehicle that will help to ensure that the vehicle offered for sale is genuine and without a chequered history.
Purchasing a used vehicle from a private source does increase the risk due to the seller not being under any legal duty or obligation to ensure that the vehicle is fit for its intended use, whereas a registered motor dealer does have an obligation to takes all steps reasonably and practically possible to ensure that the goods that they are selling are fit for their intended use. Suffice to say that if a problem develops in the short term with a vehicle that has been purchased from a private seller then there is usually no recourse and in the event you would be totally at the mercy of the seller and would have to rely on their good nature to do something about it. On the other hand, purchasing a used vehicle from someone selling in the course of business, a showroom or forecourt for example, and a problem develops then this becomes a different matter, whether the vehicle is covered by a reg check third party warranty or not. That is not to say that you could expect a dealer to put right any faults that develop in the long term or any items that are considered caused by normal wear and tear.
One of the first checks to make is with a recognised national database that holds records of vehicles that are subject to outstanding finance agreements. An on-line check with a company such as HPI can provide you with information about a vehicles history, they may charge a small fee but it is well worth it. The check will reveal whether or not the vehicle is still on finance, ever involved in a major accident, previously written off by an insurance company and whether or not the vehicle ever was or is stolen property. Making this check is vital when buying a vehicle from a private individual or on line auction site. A reputable dealer would have carried out this check before they acquired the vehicle they are offering for sale as a matter of course but it would be up to you if you felt that this was insufficient and would want to carry out your own check in any event, all you require to carry out this check is the vehicle identity and registration number, colour make and model.
It goes without saying that a vehicle with a hidden past or other sinister secret is not worth as much (or in some cases anything at all) compared to one without. We are all keen to get our hands on a bargain and sometimes when something seems too good to be true – it normally is.
The gleaming paintwork and sumptuous leather upholstery is all very nice and a knock down bargain price is even better but it would not be such a bargain if at some point after you paid for it the vehicle it was taken from you by a repossession agent acting for a finance company or the police acting for an insurance company. The prospect of something like that happening is very real and that is why it is vital to establish the vehicles current status before parting with any cash.
Another less worthwhile, but less important check to make is the mechanical condition of the vehicle. Check the vehicle service history, if there is no tangible evidence of servicing at the regular intervals being carried out then the chances are the vehicle has been neglected and should be treated with caution and should also reflect in the price.
It is important to remember that Water Pumps, Tyres and suchlike can all be fixed or replaced but if some hidden secret prevented you from becoming the legal owner at the time you parted with your cash then the fix for that can be the most expensive one you will ever make.