Expert Guide To Purchasing A Used Car

If you are reading this, then chances are you're thinking about buying a used car.

We feel pretty strongly that buying a car - whether that’s new or used - should be a positive experience for everyone. We’ve created this guide to help you make the right choices on your way to motoring bliss!

The following advice will cover every step of the car - buying journey from researching which car is right for you, choosing where to buy from, what to check when you view the car and also things you should look out for.


Before you start browsing for the 'one', think about what you really NEED from a car. There are lots of used cars out there, each as shiny and pretty as the last. But which one is right for you? There’s no point buying a two-seater convertible if you’re about to start a family, so work out what's realistic for you.

Below is a car checklist of what you want from your vehicle -

Ask yourself:

  • What are my essential requirements?
  • Enough room for the family?
  • A cheap car to run?
  • A sporty number? Think about what you need...
  • Do I need the car to do anything specific? This could include towing a trailer or fitting into a small space.
  • Is it for short city drives or longer motorway journeys?
  • Does it need to be able to cruise at motorway speeds without straining?
  • What's better, petrol, diesel, hybrid? The fuel you want to use can make a big difference in the model you might choose.
  • Do I need a spacious boot? Consider whether you need room for things such as sports equipment or a pushchair?
  • Do I want to consider an eco-friendly car? If so, a hybrid or an electric could be an option for you. (See below).

Our eco-friendly cars

Why not have a look at our eco-friendly cars at a used price:

  • Suzuki’s SHVS Hybrid technology is a great example. Available on the SZ5 model, emissions are reduced and efficiency improved even further.
  • Subaru's e-BOXER range XV and theForester graced our showrooms earlier this year and it's their first self-charging hybrids! If you haven't already, check them out.

Take a closer look

So you’ve now decided on a car and you’ve found the exact make and model you want? Next step is to make arrangements to go and see the car. Also take someone with you if you can - chances are, you are buying from one of the two options listed below:

Dealerships – Coming to us is a little easier in terms of what you have to do, personally. You can visit your local Colin Appleyard dealership wherever you are. You can be rest assured we'll help you find the right car for you.

All the relevant checks are carried out on all our cars to make sure it’s in good working order with no nasty surprises! However, you can still ask for a test drive to get a feel of the car, plus our price promise means that we are confident our deals represent the best value for money in the area.

Private Sellers – It may be that your dream car is being sold by a regular average Joe which is great, but there are a few extra checks you should carry out before you hand over any cash!

You can do a vehicle history check online to make sure the car isn’t stolen or has outstanding finance. Ensure you ask the seller to produce all of the car’s original documents including the original V5C form. This is something you will need if you decide to buy the car. Of course, it is always recommended to take the vehicle for a test drive, to listen out for any suspicious noises and to make sure you like the handling of the car!

Important documents check for used cars

The most important document you need to check when buying a secondhand car is the V5C, also known as the registration document or log book.

Make sure the make and model of the car you’re buying matches that on the V5C, as well as the number plate.

It's not the most exciting part of the process but necessary! Whether you’re buying from a private seller or a dealership, be sure that you and the seller have the following, valid and up-to-date:

  • Driving Licence
  • Valid Insurance Policy
  • V5C form
  • Valid Recent M.O.T
  • Service History
  • Vehicle Handbook

Having these documents all together will make your life a lot easier in the future so keep them in a file, somewhere safe.


Now comes the best bit. You’ve test driven the car and all of the documents check out, time to hand over the money. If you are trading privately, don’t take large sums of cash with you. Instead, ask for the seller’s bank details to do a funds transfer, or write out a cheque.

Peace of mind comes as standard with all our cars whether you buy a new or used vehicle from Colin Appleyard.

When you buy a vehicle from Colin Appleyard you get far more than a fantastic used car. Purchasing your new set of wheels from us also gives you free MOT for life as part of 'Our Price Promise' an exclusive scheme that helps you get the absolute best from your vehicle for years to come.

Our Price Promise means that we have checked the price of our vehicles within a 100 mile radius of our dealerships and are confident that our deals represent the best value for money and all come with: -

  • A full HPI check for your peace of mind
  • A full inspection / service by our factory-trained technicians
  • Finance options tailored to your specific requirements (subject to status)
  • Have a choice of available warranty options

So, what are you waiting for? Start browsing our used carsand find the right one for you!

If you need any help just click the button below and contact us, we will help you out how ever we can.

Get in touch with us