Five Areas to Check before Test Driving & Buying a Used Car
23rd December 2015
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When purchased new, a car’s value depreciates immediately.  Because of this, many of us opt to buy a used car, as a way to get more for our money and for many, it is what they can afford.  If you’re going along to your local used car dealer, such as A and M Car Sales in Taunton, they will have completed a number of checks on the cars to ensure their quality and safety before the sale. 

When we’re shopping for a used car, we want to get the most for our money, and ensure the car will continue to run long after we’ve bought it and won’t cost us the earth to maintain and keep on the road.  Therefore, it’s worth building up a little bit of knowledge about some checks you can make on the car before making the purchase. 


Check the Mileage – This sounds pretty simple, but alongside checking the mileage recorded on the gauge within the car, you should also compare this with the documentation.  Check the MOT records to see what the recorded miles were when the vehicle went through the process.  Also, consider the appearance of the car, does its appearance match with the miles it has done?

Pay Attention to Documentation – Firstly check the MOT and status of the car, does it have a recent MOT? The seller should be able to show you the V5C registration document.  Their name should be on this document as the registered keeper, if their name isn’t, you should ask a little more about who they are selling the car on behalf of.  Check that the Vehicle identification number, colour and engine match the details within the V5C.  When you’re looking at the documentation for the vehicle, you can also check that it’s valid by looking out for a watermark and checking for spelling mistakes.

Take Time to Carry out Safety Checks – Don’t feel rushed when buying a used car, you are paying a lot of money for the vehicle.  You have every right to spend time making various safety checks.  Firstly, check the condition of the tyres, see if there’s a spare tyre in the boot and that there’s a jack and other tools in the car as well.  Test all the lights on the car to see if they’re all working.  You don’t want to buy the car only to find the first time you drive it at night, that there are issues with the lights.  Sit in every seat in the car and test the seat belts to ensure they all work.  Even if you’re not planning to have passengers in the car there and then, it is essential for safety that every seatbelt is functional.  If the car has air bags, check the warning lights to see if they’re still operational, they will light up with the ignition and then go out if all is in order.

Check for Damage – The biggest clues here are with the paint colour.  You’ll see inconsistencies in the panels where repairs may have been carried out and where they don’t manage to match the paint correctly.  Other signs are spray paint on handles and fixings etc.  Also look under the carpets where there will be an indication of the car’s original colour.  Check under the bonnet to see if there is signs of any unusual welding and repeat the process for the boot too.

Windows, Mirrors & Locks – Check to see if there are keys for all the locks on the car, including the petrol tank, glove box, main car doors and ignition.  Again, whilst you’re in the car assessing the seat belts, test each window to see if it opens / closes.  Check that all the mirror controls work if they’re electric or manually check that you can adjust them manually if they’re not electric.  If there are locking wheel nuts on the car, check the car’s tool kit to make sure you have the adapter and that it fits.


There are various checks you should make when test driving the car and also assessments you should make to the car’s engine as well.  However, working alongside your car dealership, they will help you to work through the checks to ensure you have peace of mind in all aspects of the vehicle.  You’ll definitely find this to be the case at A and M Car Sales in Taunton, because fairness and customer services comes first when you’re dealing with Mike and Angie.

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