Buying a car is a major commitment and the last thing you want to do is end up on the losing end of a bad deal. In case you haven’t seen the countless television shows and films that we have, not every vehicle trader can be trusted. So, we’ve come up with a checklist of things to do before you sign on the dotted line.

Do your research

The is the absolute-must of purchasing a car – the more online research you do before stepping onto a forecourt, the more chance you have of driving off it with a quality car! The first thing you want to be checking is their website, you should have good nosy around and make sure the website all works – a broken or disorganised website could indicate a broken or disorganised vehicle trader.

Also, make sure that there is plenty information on every car they have listed (e.g. a detailed specification, record of mileage, any minor damages)… essentially, the more detailed the car info, the less they have to hide.

It’s also worth checking out their social media platforms – if there are any unsavoury conversations in the comments section then you’ll know that their customer service isn’t up to scratch.

Check for reviews

It’s vital that you check a dealership’s reviews, they’ll give you a very good understanding of customer-facing experiences with said dealership and any issues after purchase. If people have had a bad experience with a dealership, you can be sure that they will have left a scathing review online. If you can’t find any reviews or testimonials, that is a big no-no – every car dealer in the country will put their reviews up online, it’s just basic salesmanship.

Also, if there are very few reviews for a relatively big dealership or loads of reviews for a small one, be wary – it could mean that reviews have been deleted or fake ones have been added to create a more positive appearance.

When you’re there

Always (and we mean always) ask to test drive the car before buying it – this is the only way to give you some reassurance that the car they are selling to is in the condition they say it is. Be wary of them asking you to drive another car in the same model, especially if the prices are different.

Ask for the MOT certificate and service history, and make sure all the details are correct. Also, take a good look at the V5 registration document, especially looking for any misspellings or slightly vague information.

If you don’t know much about cars, you should take somebody with you. A car salesman’s best skill is pretty much in the title – they are primarily good at selling stuff!

After the forecourt

To be 100% sure that you are getting a good deal on a car you’re about to buy, perform your own private history check online. This will tell you of any dodgy business, such as the car being stolen, having been in an accident, the correct mileage or if it has any outstanding finance. There are lots of companies that will do this and whilst it might set you back a few quid, it’s definitely worth it – especially if you’re making a big investment.

Just like Harry Wormwood in Matilda and Joey O’Brien in Cadillac Man, there are dodgy vehicle traders out there, people! The best way to guard against this is to do all the possible research that you can before you even take a step onto a forecourt, and to make sure you have verified everything before you make a purchase. We hope our checklist will help you to do just that!

My Car Credit is committed to providing trustworthy services for anyone looking to buy a new or used car. Our network of ‘My Car Dealers’ have been vetted by us for their customer service standards, after-sale service and their affiliation with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to make sure you get the best car buying experience. With a vast selection of quality used vehicles available, all that’s left is for you to do is find the perfect car.

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Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!