how to check a cars history

How to Check a Car’s History

Buying a used car is a big investment, so you need to thoroughly check everything about the vehicle before handing over your well-earned money.  Buying a car privately is usually the cheaper option but it can come with more risks and less protection. 

As well as physically inspecting the car and giving it a test drive, you can check the history of the car to find out information which may be of use to you. This information could raise a concern for any potential issues and it may end up swaying your decision of purchase. 

Online Car History Checks

An easy way of checking the history of a vehicle is through the DVLA Vehicle Information Checker. All that is required is the vehicles registration number which can be requested from the seller. This online tool can check a variety of things about a car, including:

  • When the MOT expires
  • The date the vehicle was registered
  • When the current vehicle tax expires
  • Engine size and CO2 emissions
  • Vehicle tax rate
  • The SORN status
  • Color and year of manufacture 

The DVLA vehicle checker is a resource for ensuring you are purchasing a legal vehicle. As well as this, this tool can give you details about the vehicles registered or previous keeper, ensuring that the seller is legally allowed to sell the vehicle. 

Find out if the Car has been involved in an Accident

Buyers often make this one of their first questions to a seller as failure to mention a historical incident involving the car could mean that there are undisclosed complications with the vehicle that the seller has tried to hide. If previously, the car has been written off or is illegal for it to be driven, you can check the Admirals guide to Category S and N cars for more information. You should only ever consider buying a car that falls into the S and N categories (formerly D and C).

Things to consider when Viewing a Car

Sometimes it’s not enough to check online, so going for a viewing and a test drive can give you the peace of mind that you are getting a good car from a legal seller. During your viewing, clarify that the vehicle comes with a V5C registration certificate, full-service history, original handbook and logbook as these can be expensive to replace. 

Don’t forget to check the mileage of the car as you don’t want a car that’s been driven further than you’ve been told. Make any final checks in the car for working seatbelts, radio or windscreen wipers just to get a feel for the car even further. 

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