It’s easy enough to find a sizeable number of used cars advertised for sale these days by checking any one of the many online car listing websites like or or one of the countless independent car dealer websites, but, whether you’re looking at  classic used cars for sale or want to buy a cheap runabout, there are still a number of measures you should take to try to minimise any risk.

Firstly, make sure that you give the car a good test drive and that you are happy with both the way that it performs and that you feel comfortable when behind the wheel. Check that when everything is adjusted for you, the driving position gives you a good clear view of everything around you and that you are happy and confident driving the car. Although this does sound very obvious it is one of the most important things. After all, you don’t want to end up with a car that you don’t enjoy driving or struggle to control. You’d be amazed at how many people have regretted buying a car further down the road, so to speak, because they didn’t spend long enough in the initial stages checking that they were happy driving it and that it suited their needs.

When test driving the vehicle also take the opportunity to check out the electrical systems – remote locking and so on.

You need to not only make sure that you are happy with the way that the car drives, but that it is actually suitable for any particular needs that you have too. For example, if you have young children, will a pushchair fit in the boot and does the child’s car seat fit properly?

Secondly, take the time to check all of the paperwork properly and don’t feel rushed doing this. Just because you may have seen the car advertised on a reputable website such as or doesn’t mean that everything will be above board and genuine.

This paperwork includes the V5C registration document which should show that the person selling the car is the legal owner. You should also ask to see the service history that should show how regularly the car has been maintained and whether major services have been carried out. The service history should also give you a general indication about how well maintained the vehicle has been.

You should also try to ensure that the handbook is present and that keycodes for any audio system or alarm system are provided, if possible, as this too can save you a lot of hassle and expense at a future date.

Taking note of these quite basic pointers and applying a certain amount of common sense too should help you find your way through the car buying process without ending up making a purchase that you could later regret.

Perhaps the best car buying tip of all is to remember that if something appears too good (ie. cheap) to be true, then it almost certainly is!