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Cargiant Used Car Checklist

| In Buying Guides

Buying a used car is an exciting purchase but one full of questions. Put yourself in the driving seat when buying your new car by reading this detailed guide

What are the best used cars to buy in the UK?

As everyone’s car needs differ, no manufacturer or model will be perfect for everyone. The truth is you need to find a car that fits your everyday requirements. If you need some inspiration on which cars will suit you, our lifestyle search is purpose built to help you find the perfect match.

What should I look out for on a test drive?

Whether you’re buying a used Volkswagen Golf or a Range Rover. The test drive is your chance to get behind the wheel and make sure you’re comfortable in it.

Before you do take care the car for a spin, have a good look around the car and make sure it’s in the condition you expected, especially the body paintwork and all four tyres.

A quick and easy way to test tyre tread depth is with a 20p coin – insert it into the grooves of the tyre and if you can’t see the outer band of the coin then the tyre is above the 1.6mm legal limit.

Once inside the car, consciously spend a few minutes making sure it’s big enough for what you need it for. If you’re buying a family car, it’s often a good idea to bring other people along to see if you can fit everyone in okay. Use this opportunity to test out the electronics and ask questions if you don’t know how any of the gadgets work. 

When driving the car, be sure you find the driving seat comfortable. Get a feel for how the car accelerates and brakes, and listen out for strange noises or vibrations to ask the seller about.

Find you next car and book a test drive online.

How much does it cost to run a car?

As well as considering the cost of a used car, an important cost to factor will be your running and maintenance cost. If your car is no older than 5 years, you can use this car costs calculator. This will give you a good indication of how much your yearly costs will be.

You might ask yourself, how much do I need to pay for insurance? Well the truth is there isn’t a definitive amount for a particular driver. The cost of your cover is based on a statistical assessment based on your profile as driver and your driving history.

There are many insurance comparison sites you can use to find the right car insurance provider. At Cargiant we have a very easy process that allows you to buy 5 days’ comprehensive insurance provided by HPI. This will allow you to drive off with peace of mind and plenty of time to shop around for annual cover.

You should also consider the depreciation – cars tend to depreciate a lot quicker in their first year where they lose 40% of their value. A car in its third year will depreciate a lot slower and its price would have dropped significantly enough for used car buyers to consider a bargain. 

Depreciation is the single biggest factor affecting running costs adding more to cost per mile than fuel.

Fuel costs, MOTs and repairs should also be considered. According to automotive company the RAC, the average price to maintain a used car over the course of a year is £472.

What are the new road tax charges?

New vehicle tax rates will be introduced in the UK from 1 April 2017, there will be a change in the way the rate is calculated and this will affect any cars that are registered after this date.

The good news is this won’t affect any vehicles registered before April, but it might be handy to check the new vehicle tax rates to make sure you know how much tax you’ll be paying.

You will need to know the car’s CO2 emissions to know what you will pay – this can be found on all Cargiant car listing pages. 

What is the best way to check a car’s history?

So you’ve found the perfect used car and you’ve taken it for a test drive. Now you just need to check its history.

A HPI check will provide you with a comprehensive overview of a car’s history and will tell you whether it has any outstanding finance, been previously written off or stolen, or if there is a mileage discrepancy.

It’s also highly recommended you use the MOT history checker. All you need to do is enter the vehicle’s make and registration number and you’ll find the full history of the car’s available MOT certificates. This will include the car’s annual mileage, any advisory notes and more importantly any reasons for MOT failure since 2006.

Every single car at Cargiant has been HPI checked, meaning we can guarantee our cars have no outstanding finance and have not been stolen or written off.

Where should I buy a used car from?

If you’re looking for the best place to buy a used car, we definitely recommend visiting a car supermarket.

Having a huge collection of cars in one place means you can browse and compare hundreds of different makes and models without having to travel to a number of different dealerships.

And because of their size, the best deals are often to be found at car supermarkets. They typically have a no haggle policy too, so you don’t even have to stress about whether you could have got a few more pounds off.


Now that you know what you need to look for in a used car, you’re ready to go out there and make an informed choice.

Find your next car and book a test drive online today