Top Tips for Buying a Used Car

I am a bird and I don’t drive. I never learned, well I did start to learn but an accident (yes, I have more accidents than Mr Bump) meant that I never finished my lessons and ultimately I couldn’t be bothered. This does not mean by any stretch of the imagination that I hate cars, quite the opposite, I love cars.

At the webuyanycar Negotiation Academy a few weeks ago I got to reconnect with my inner petrol head and meet a real life petrol head, Richard Evans.

Richard is the Head of Technical Services at and has been a mechanic for over 30 years. What he doesn’t enthusiastically know about cars isn’t worth knowing. On the day we got to give a car a once over, checking for things that might give clues to a cars history and things to look out for which might be costly at a later date. Richard was amazing and is a key part of the webuyanycar academy team. His top tips in full are written below, but I urge you to check out his YouTube video.

Richards’ Top Tips:

Essential checks on a car forecourt to make sure you’re paying what the car is worth.

  • Colour panels: Stand 2m away from the car and check the panels match. If they don’t, work has been carried out -ask what and why.
  • Dashboard: Make sure no lights are illuminated when you run the engine. Especially engine management, anti-lock brake and airbag lights as they point to problems that are very expensive to fix.
  • Integrated satnav: Make sure that a dis is there. If not, it’s useless and a replacement is costly.
  • Tyre tread: Beware of anything that is less than 3mm as they will need to be changed.
  • Bolt-on panels: Check bolts to see if they have been turned. If the paint chips off the car has had work done – again ask why.
  • Modified cars: Enhancements are often done by DIY enthusiasts – meaning dangerous wiring, expensive insurance and a car thrashed to within an inch of its life. Check for alloy wheels, low suspension and souped up exhausts.
  • Air conditioning: Turn on and test it to avoid an uncomfortable or costly summer!
  • Service history: Check the paperwork is correct by calling the garage last to see it.
  • Mileage: Check the stats add up by visiting
  • Upholstery: Lift up any mats in the car, look out for any rips, tears and burns or even holes from high heels.
Richard Evans
Richard Evans

Disclaimer: I was invited to attend the Negotiation Academy, given a scrummy afternoon tea and my travel and childcare expenses were covered.