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What documents to check and provide when buying a used car

What documents do you need when buying a used car?

Requirements of a used car purchase

There are plenty of great reasons to buy a used car over a new model. With sales outstripping purchases of new cars by three to one in the UK, it is a decision many of the country’s buyers are choosing to place their confidence in. Foremost amongst these reasons is the money you will save – often in the thousands of pounds. As new cars fall in value by an average of 20% per year in the first three years, used cars are usually a fraction of the price.

When buying a used vehicle, it is crucial to understand which documents to check before you buy, and which are required for the sale to be completed legally and efficiently. If you aren’t careful with the documentation, you might just discover that the bargain you secured is in fact an old banger riddled with problems – offsetting the savings.

Documents to check before you buy

When viewing a used car, the most important document to ask for is its registration document, known as its V5C. This document details the name of the car’s registered keeper, when it was registered, and physical details such as engine size and car colour, as well as its mileage.

Ensure that these details match the vehicle, and only accept a V5C if you can see the ‘DVLA’ watermark. Bear in mind that the listed registered keeper is the person responsible for taxing the car, and not necessarily the owner. When checking the document, make sure the name of the seller matches the one listed.

Also request to see a record of the car’s service history, its handbook and, if possible, certificates of its past MOTs. These can be cross-referenced against the DVLA database. If there are any disparities, always question them and if you notice any reoccurring faults, find out why and if these can be fixed. It’s also advised to ask for the car’s original receipt, and any other relevant paperwork.

Documents required for the sale

Once you are satisfied with the car’s documentation and have agreed a price with the seller, there are a number of other documents you will need to complete the sale. Chief amongst these is your driving licence and details of a valid insurance policy that will cover you to drive the car. You will need the insurance to be valid from the day you will be driving it. If you already have insurance, change the vehicle listed and be prepared to pay a different premium and an administration fee.

You will also need to tax the car and you cannot transfer road tax from your previous vehicle. Taxing your car can either be done online or through the DVLA’s 24-hour automated phone service.

Before you drive off

You have just bought your car and you are raring to go, but there is one important final step to adhere to. Make sure you and the seller each have a receipt of the purchase confirming the price paid, the mileage at the point of sale, even more obvious details like registration, make, model, and colour. Should either party have a problem following the sale further down the line, this receipt gives you a tangible record to refer to. It will also come in handy for you and the next buyer.

Happy driving!

Being stringent about documentation when buying a used car can make all the difference. At Peoples Ford, all of our used cars go through meticulous testing so you can be confident in the history and quality of your purchase. We stock a wide range of affordable used cars across our seven dealerships. Pop in whenever you like, or give us a call today to discuss your requirements with the experienced team.