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Used car buying guide

Published: Wednesday 8th of May 2013 | Author: Katie | Category: Industry News

What you want and what you need are two very different things. While we all know what car we want to own it isn't always the car we need. When buying a used car you should always have a clear checklist in your head to ensure you get all the information you need.

Based on some tips from coupled with some professional advice from Concorde Auto Centre, below is a checklist which should help you make the right choice.

1. Do some research

Firstly decide what your needs are, so are you looking for a safe reliable family car or something aimed a bit younger with a bit of power? Will you be commuting regularly or is it a weekend run around? 

Three key elements to consider are:

The size of the car - how many seats you need.

Journey length – do you make short urban trips or long motorway journeys.

Environment and weather conditions you expect to drive in.

2. Check the value

You probably already have an amount in mind that you are willing to spend but you might not necessarily know what a good deal is so the best way to check is to visit used car websites and find a similar speck model. Alternatively if you know the registration number of the car you’re interested in simply visit

Seven key elements to consider are:




Factory fitted extras


Service History

Number of owners

3. Running Cost

It’s not just the upfront cost you need to think about when buying a car you need to think about the cost of actually running the car.

Six key elements to consider are:

Fuel consumption

Road tax




Car emissions 

4. Check the dealer/seller

This is seen as one of the most important factors to consider so you should always look for customer reviews to make sure you are purchasing a car from a reputable source.

Other elements to consider are:

Check the company website – does it look professional?

Check to see if they are members of any industry bodies or they have been approved by Trading Standards.

Check if they have any social media activity – while not essential it could provide an insight into the type of business/people they are.

5. Take a good look at the car

It sounds obvious but make use of daylight hours when searching for a car so you can see any obvious faults.

Some basic checks should include:

Tyre tread- unsure what the legal limit should be? Contact your local Concorde Auto Centre for advice.


Body Panels – misaligned body panels gives an indication that the vehicle has had previous work done to it and has possibly been involved in an accident.

Moisture – check the windows, lights and boot for any signs of moisture.

Windscreen – check for chips or cracks

Make sure all lights and indicators are functioning

Ensure the locking wheel nut is available

6. Take it for a test drive

Don’t just be told it drives well, find out for yourself. As well as the obvious brake and gearbox checks listen to the engine, can you hear any unusual knocking or rattling sounds? The best advice is if something doesn’t feel quite right it probably isn’t – trust your own judgement.

7. Check the paperwork

Not the most exciting task but one of the most important – you don’t want to buy a car then find out half the essential paperwork is missing and have to spend your time chasing for it.

Make sure you have the following:

V5 (vehicle registration document)

Tax Disc


Service History


8. What are your rights?

If you buy your car from a dealer the law states the car must:

Match its description - The vehicle must be as described by the seller.

Be of satisfactory quality - The vehicle must be in reasonable condition, considering its age, mileage past history and the price paid.

Fit for its purpose – i.e. fit for towing a caravan.

Be roadworthy - Tyres, steering, general construction must be fit for road usage. An MOT certificate does not necessarily mean that a car is roadworthy. Concorde Auto Centre offer MOTs from only £20 and tyres from only £25.

9. Buying Privately

The law states that goods bought privately must “match their description”. However any responsibility for buying goods which are faulty lies with the buyer not the seller. It is therefore so important to make sure you’re happy with every aspect of the car before closing the deal. 

10. Be thorough 

Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you like – buying a car is a long term commitment so you need to make sure you are well equipped to make the right decision. 

Bought a new car and want to make sure everything is working as it should? Call in to your local Concorde Auto Centre and get your car serviced for only £60! 

Concorde also offer:

Brakes from only £30 

MOT for only £20 

Tyres including fitting from only £25

Clutches from only £78

Plus get a FREE MOT when you book a scheduled service! 

Call our new Leicester branch on 0116 366 0555 or visit 

Call 01733 340212 for Concorde Peterborough or visit

Call 01945 582252 for Concorde Wisbech or visit

About Concorde Auto Centre

With branches in Cambridge,   Coventry,   Leicester,   Milton-keynes,   Northampton,   Norwich,   Oxford,   Peterborough,   Swindon and Wisbech,   Concorde Auto Centre offers a wide range of professional services with highly trained auto technicians always on hand to fit new parts or to offer advice to our loyal customers. Call us today to get the best prices on new car tyres fitted, winter car tyres fittedwheel alignmentcar exhaust systemsair conditioning rechargesreplacement brake pads and discsbooking in your car for its MOTcar servicingcambeltsshock absorbersengine rebuildsvehicle diagnosticsclutchesbatteriestow barsturbo inspection and  car gearboxes

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"Great prices, great service. Don't take my word for it, pop along and have a look, about time we had a decent garage in Peterborough. Clean tidy and very well presented, seem to do everything to do with cars... well done Concorde. Left car for a service and walked around Dobbies while it was done, although many people sat watching their cars being repaired through the HUGE viewing windows. This has it all, in a great area of town."

PETE - 24 Jan 2018

Choose Concorde Auto Centre for replacement Brakes, Pads and Discs with prices from only £30

Book your next service with Concorde Auto Centre from only £60

Concorde Auto Centre fit tyres from leading brands with prices from £25

Book your next MOT with Concorde Auto Centre for just £20