This is a Guest Blog from UK car data checking service CarVeto.
It’s common knowledge these days that buying a second-hand car can be fraught with risk.
In times gone by, the hazards were more apparent when buying a car around the £2,000 to £3,000 price range. This type of vehicle was typically older, had travelled more miles and would therefore be susceptible to mechanical issues.
Nowadays newer and more expensive vehicles are also likely to be misrepresented and, where neglected, they can be unreliable too.
In fact, one in every 17 cars checked via the CarVeto database has some type of mileage irregularity and the value of these cars include newer and more expensive ones as well.
Car clocking can increase the sale value of a car by hiding its true history. Unless you are an experienced car buyer and really know what to look out for, it can be tricky to identify when a car has travelled more miles than the milometer states.
Apart from the obvious price differentials that result from car clocking, vehicle and road safety is the big issue. For example, buying a car that has travelled 50,000 miles more than is displayed on the clock means you can never know how worn the car parts really are, when the cam belt might be due to be replaced or how safe and legal the vehicle is on the road.
The resale value of cars that have suffered accident damage, as reported to an insurer, is clearly affected.
But a percentage of car accident repairs remain unrecorded when carried out between drivers and without insurance company involvement. This can happen when a driver wants to preserve their insurance no claims bonus and the cost of repairing the car is less than the cost of insurance over the next few years, without a no claims discount.
This presents another problem for motorists buying a second-hand car. Unless you can spot accident damage repair, it’s easy to end up buying a shiny car that’s had a new front wing, front panel, bonnet or bumper.
How to reduce risk when buying a used car
The first thing you must do is buy your own car history check.
When you use CarVeto for a UK car reg number, you get a free and instant report including vehicle details, MOT status, road tax status, tax costs, askMID car insurance checks (so you can see if the vehicle is held on the National Insurance Database as insured – useful when buying privately), export status and the city or postcode area where the car is currently registered with the DVLA.
CarVeto also offers a paid service. Platinum costs £12.50 and includes all available online data for the car you are considering buying. Included is write off status, theft warnings, mileage issues and outstanding finance information. These four criteria determine if a car is either safe and/or legal to buy.
If it turns out that the car has an outstanding finance agreement (such as Hire Purchase), it is unlawful for the registered keeper to try and sell as the car currently belongs to the lending finance company.
In all cases, car finance must be settled in full before it can be sold on.
If the car you check has outstanding finance, you will need a settlement letter from the finance company to state they have no further interest in the vehicle.
To confirm here, you need the settlement letter before you pay a deposit on the car or buy it outright. NB: This is particularly important when buying privately.
Notes on outstanding finance
If you are buying from a dealership but notice an outstanding finance warning within your CarVeto check, it likely means the car is subject to stocking loan finance.
Stocking loans are financial facilities used by dealers to buy stock for their forecourt. A finance company funds vehicles and allows the dealer to sell on their behalf. Once a car is sold, the finance is settled and proceeds are reinvested into another vehicle.
As a private buyer, it is important to act with caution. Your CarVeto car data check provides full finance information including the lending company, the finance type, the agreement number and contact information.
In all cases of an outstanding finance warning, we strongly recommend contacting the finance company to check that the information held is accurate. You can also ask what you need to do in order to buy the car safely and legally.
Another precautionary step is hiring a car mechanic to carry out a full vehicle inspection. Again, this should be done before you lay a deposit or buy outright. The RAC, AA and Clickmechanic provide these types of services with the use of fully vetted, qualified mechanics. Costs are typically around £200.
CarVeto is a growing UK vehicle data check provider with an industry-leading Trustpilot score of 9.4 out of 10.
CarVeto is built on 29 years of direct automotive experience and is motivated by rapid customer support response times that help customers buy a used car that is genuine, reliable and good value.
For more information please visit CarVeto’s website.