When you purchase a used car, you need to account for so many more things, compared to when buying a car straight from the dealer. This is because a second hand car has one or more previous drivers and each may have left their own mark on the vehicle, whether it’s through modifications over the years, or simple neglect.

As such, it helps to understand what sort of things you need to look out for, as many of these are factors you might not consider when buying a car. Yet, if you don’t check these areas, you could easily end up paying more in the long run.

Maintenance And Servicing

If the car has been on sale for a long time – especially if it hasn’t been on the road – there’s a good chance it hasn’t been serviced or maintained in a long time.

When in doubt, always ask when the last service was and don’t be afraid to ask for documents to support this point. Without any guarantee, you could spend quite a lot in repairs, which you can use to negotiate a lower price.

Car Tyres

Everyone has their own driving style and driving environment. Depending on this, you might favour a very specific type of tyre. If you’re driving on more rural roads, yet you’ve purchased the car from a city dweller, you might favour something with more grip. The previous owner may have equipped tyres with a low rolling resistance, forgoing grip and performance as their own conditions didn’t require them.

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Similarly, if the car has been off the road for a number of months at least, it might have the wrong seasons tyres. If you’re buying a car in winter and it comes with summer products, don’t be afraid to bring the cost of new replacements into the price negotiations.

Fuel Efficiency

When buying a second hand car, it’s easy to look at the performance details and specifications online. While this might make such a ride look ideal, it doesn’t factor in for any potential deterioration. This is certainly true when it comes to fuel efficiency.

There are many ways to improve this aspect. Try using the correct tyre pressure, or even ensuring a regular polish keeps the car smooth and aerodynamic.


Similar to car tyres, there may be some fluids lacking – or vitally low – in the engine. The only real way to check these, where possible, is to get a dipstick and take readings for yourself. In any case, it might be worth expecting to pay for these fluids.


After all, regular applications are vital for basic car maintenance and, by starting fresh, you will know exactly when you’re due for an oil change.

Driving Comfort

Finally, if you get the chance to take the vehicle for a test drive, try and get a good understanding of the driving comfort. An experienced driver can often use this experience to determine a number of things.

For example, is the car dipping in a certain corner when undertaking turns? This could be a telltale sign of weak car suspension struts. It’s easy to fix but, again, a cost that needs to be taken into consideration.