The Ultimate Used Car Buying Guide

Helping You Drive with Confidence and Peace of Mind

Monday 12th of June 2023 09:45 BST

4 minute read

Our comprehensive Used Car Buying Guide provides valuable insights and expert advice to help you make an informed decision.

Used Car Top Tips

Helping You Drive with Confidence and Peace of Mind

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to buying second hand cars. Whether you're navigating the car market or considering buying privately. We're here to provide you with valuable insights and expert advice.

Our aim is to equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to make an informed decision. Ensuring you have a hassle free and satisfying car-buying experience.

From understanding the hidden history of a vehicle to inspecting it and taking a test drive, we've got you covered.

Researching the Right Car:

When it comes to buying a used car, Thorough research is an essential place to start. Consider your needs, budget, and desired features as you proceed.

To find the perfect used car, you should follow these steps:

  • Explore the car market, considering factors like reliability, car history, service history, and MOT records.
  • Understand the pros and cons of buying from Used car supermarkets & private sellers.
  • Navigate the process effectively, including paperwork and legal obligations.

By conducting thorough research, you can make an informed decision. Ultimately, you will find a used car that meets your needs, budget, and preferences.

Inspecting the Car:

When buying a used car, it's essential to inspect it thoroughly. This will help to ensure the car's quality and reliability, as well as uncover any hidden issues.

To get a clearer understanding of the vehicle you're interested in, you should carry out:

Visual inspection: Carefully examine the car for signs of wear and damage both inside and out.

History checks: Perform comprehensive checks to uncover any hidden issues like accidents, outstanding finance, and MOT history.

Drive the car!: It would be beneficial for you to test drive the car before purchasing.. By doing so you can assess its performance, handling, and overall comfort. You should also listen out for any strange noises. That could be an indication to the health of the vehicle.

With the knowledge gained by conducting a thorough inspection of the vehicle. You should be able to make an informed decision and ensure you're purchasing a reliable vehicle.

Financing and Insurance:

Once you are happy with your vehicle checks. You should now plan your financial situation. it's essential to consider the financial aspect, so you know you can afford your new purchase.

When buying a used vehicle, it is advised that you protect your investment. This can be done by having appropriate insurance coverage and a warranty in place.

Exploring financing options and understanding the importance of car protection will ensure peace of mind. As well as minimise the chances of an unexpected, nasty repair bill.

Steps you can take are as follows:

Explore financing options: Research and compare different financing options, such as PCP, HP. Alternatively, if you don't wish to go down the finance route. You can also apply for a personal loan to pay for your vehicle outright.

Understand car insurance: Ensure you have adequate car insurance coverage to protect yourself on the road. You can use comparison sights to get an idea of premiums you may face when insuring your car. Tip: Look out for insurers that are not on comparison sites.

Documentation and Peace of Mind:

Gathering the necessary documents is essential when buying a used car through a private sale. This will help make the transaction secure and hassle-free.

Gather necessary documents:

Ensure you have all the essential documents for a private sale. These include the V5C registration certificate, service history, and any relevant paperwork related to the car's maintenance and repairs.

Request documents from the seller. Carefully review them. Verify that the vehicles service history is legitimate.

Consider warranty coverage:

To provide additional protection and peace of mind, consider purchasing a warranty for the used car. Warranties can provide coverage for repairs or mechanical problems that may occur after purchase.

Wether its from the dealership, or a third party source. Having a suitable warranty in place will not only give you peace of mind. But will also save you from nasty repair bills.

History checks:

You can perform comprehensive history checks using reputable online services or professional agencies. Checks on a car's history can reveal important facts. These may include accidents reported, finance outstanding, discrepancies in the mileage, or other warning signs. By conducting thorough history checks, you can make an informed decision and avoid potential issues down the road.

Gather the necessary documentation. Consider warranty coverage. Conduct history checks. These steps will give you peace of mind and protect your investment when selling privately.


Congratulations on becoming a well-informed buyer ready to navigate the world of used cars with confidence. Armed with this guide, you're now equipped to make informed decisions, inspect cars effectively, and secure the best financing options.

Remember, buying a used car is an exciting journey. By following these steps you'll find a reliable vehicle that meets your needs. Drive with confidence, enjoy the experience, and saver the freedom of the open road.

Recent Customer Reviews

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Scott Sturrock

Although I travelled from Scotland to collect a car I had not driven, I found Direct Cars very helpful with videos and pictures. Communication was quick and efficient, as was the whole process of purchasing ...

Posted 1 week ago

Kenneth Vernon

No problems at all with the part exchange and purchase of our new car. Tom Breeze very helpful throughout.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Zoe Keightley

first of all great site where cara are displayed,, lots of room around vehicles to look around ,, no pressure sales like most garages,, sean the salesnab was brilliant,,, also from being seventeen i ...

Posted 2 weeks ago

Julie Heptinstall

Couldn't fault Luke very professional

Posted 2 weeks ago

Debra Thew

Excellent service they were there to answer any questions. Very friendly staff.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Shaun Weldrick

Really enjoyed buying from direct cars…no hard sell, they let an excellent array of used cars do their talking… thanks to Tom for simple and straightforward advice and relaxing easy going selling.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Christopher James

Daniel was really helpful and we never felt under pressure. He was polite, friendly and did all he could to help. The showroom was very welcoming for children as well with Lego etc which made it an easier ...

Posted 3 weeks ago


Relaxed atmosphere no pressure. Easy to understand t&c format. Care and attention to detail.

Posted 3 weeks ago


Impressed with the service,no hard sell ,sorted a couple of minor issues with vehicle .
Tbh i was just about done looking at cars having been worked over by various salesmen (which I have very little ...

Posted 3 weeks ago


I purchased my new car from yourselves, Shaun was very helpful and the transaction was very smooth. I had to take it for a repair after 2 days due to a slow puncture but the process was really good ...

Posted 1 month ago

Jill Wallace

Genuinely nice staff. Very helpful.

Posted 1 month ago

James Hardy

Very helpful,thorough and efficient.

Posted 1 month ago

Gary Greenhoff

We purchased a car recently and again we were satisfied with the entire buying process.
Shaun the sales person once again was very professional and funny.
Me and my wife have purchased many vehicles ...

Posted 1 month ago

John Wallbanks

Excellent customer service from our first telephone contact through to our final on line purchase.Your sales adviser Mr Ian Whiting is a credit to your organisation and you are lucky to have such a professional ...

Posted 1 month ago

Julie Marcus

Saw the car online and made an appointment to view. Really lovely friendly helpful staff who listened to what I wanted. Would highly recommend

Posted 1 month ago


Fast efficient service with no hassle

Posted 1 month ago

Jason Mark Holland

Ian the salesman was very helpful. Buying me new car was easy and straightforward with Direct Car. I would recommend them to anyone wishing to purchase a used car from them

Posted 1 month ago


& really friendly staff. Excellent customer care myself & my family have had several cars from Direct Cars & also back to when it was Eckington motor company. I would highly recommend to anyone

Posted 1 month ago

Pauline Hurt

I went to purchase a vehicle but decided to choose another car which I am very happy with.
The salesman let us look at our leisure no pressure at all, but when I found a car I was interested in we felt ...

Posted 1 month ago

Jayne Dawson

Polite and helpful

Posted 1 month ago