5 Things to Look for When Buying a Used Car - things to check before buying car

If you have finally decided that you want to purchase a used car for yourself, it means that you’ve decided to do without the hefty price tag that comes with getting a new vehicle. However, the main challenge in acquiring a pre-owned vehicle is determining whether or not the car is everything that it is described to be in the sales listing.

And while the vehicle may look spotless and almost brand new, the sad reality is that it may be hiding a whole host of problems under its hood. It is for this reason that you should never base your final purchasing decision on visual inspection alone.

5 Things to Look for When Buying a Used Car - things to check before buying car

Instead, you should also make sure to conduct a license plate check at VinPit beforehand, as this will provide you with a glimpse into the vehicle’s history, including details about its past owners, service records, as well as any damages that it may have previously sustained. In this respect, when seeking out a vehicle report, there are a few main things that you should keep a keen eye on.

#1. Maintenance Records

There are some vehicle owners that make a point to meticulously maintain their cars’ service records by ensuring that all the receipts are filed and dates are noted. On the other hand, there are some owners who do not place much thought into maintaining records.

In such situations, you should always make sure that you have a conversation with the seller about the vehicle’s maintenance history, as this will help you determine whether or not the car is in good shape or not. It is also for this reason that it is always a good idea to conduct a VIN number lookup with VinPit, as you will be able to generate a comprehensive report that indicates when and how often the car went through servicing.

Maintenance Records

#2. Registration Certificate

Something else that you need to look out for is verifying the authenticity of the car’s registration certificate. This document will usually have the registered owner’s name as well as details on the vehicle such as the engine number, chassis number, etc.

Note that any modification to the engine’s displacement or a change in the color of the vehicle needs to be specified in the registration certificate. The certificate will need to be an original, and in the event that it is a duplicate, it will normally be marked as DRC. Aside from that, you will also need to be provided with the original purchase invoice, road tax receipt, insurance, and pollution certificate.

#3. Car Insurance

Another thing to keep in mind when purchasing a used vehicle is that the car’s old insurance will need to be transferred to your name. And if the seller does not end up doing it proactively, then, as the buyer, it will be your responsibility to ensure that it gets transferred.

Otherwise, failure to do so can result in legal issues should the car end up being involved in an accident or some other unfortunate incident. You will also need to review the extent of the insurance coverage to ensure that it is comprehensive and not simply a third-party liability policy. In this respect, you will have the option to either keep the existing insurance policy or buy a new one for yourself.

#4. Title History

The benefit of looking at a car’s title information is that it can often tell you a lot about the vehicle’s history. And if that title history indicates a number of issues with the car, e.g., the car was rebuilt, then this can be a sign that you should probably steer clear of the car, as there is a high risk that you will encounter safety issues and hidden damage that may end up proving to be too expensive to repair down the road.

Plus, if the vehicle does have a salvage title, then it will be very difficult for you to command a price that is close to that of a similar vehicle with a non-salvage title. On top of that, you are unlikely to be able to secure a loan using that vehicle either, as many lenders are unwilling to lend money for a car with a salvage title. And even if they do, they will likely charge an exorbitantly high interest rate to do so.

#5. Sales & Lien Records

A vehicle that only has one previous owner will often be more valuable than one that has gone through multiple owners. It is for this reason that you should always review the vehicle’s sales records by utilizing a license plate lookup service like VinPit. You will often be able to access past sales listings, car prices, as well as details on the vehicle’s past owners.

On top of that, you should also be able to find out if the current owner still has a pending loan on the vehicle that has not yet been fully paid off. In such cases, the current owner will need to make sure that it is repaid before they can legally transfer the title over to you.


It is important to remember that whether you are purchasing the vehicle from a franchised dealership, an independent car lot, or a private party, no matter how much information you are able to gather from a vehicle history report when purchasing a used vehicle, it is often best to acquire a pre-purchase inspection from a qualified mechanic.

They will usually know which systems need to be examined, as well as the tools necessary to examine these areas properly. In fact, you should make sure to provide them with your vehicle history report because it will help them better focus their inspections on the main areas of concern. In doing this, you will be able to save yourself from making the huge financial mistake of purchasing an unsafe, damaged, or unreliable vehicle.

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Digital Marketing Consultant and a Blogger. Ben has more than 5 years of experience in Blogging and Internet Marketing. He has been a technology/lifestyle writer for years and launched many successful projects.


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