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Best tips when buying a used car


Buying a used car can be an exciting event. You obviously do not want a cat in the bag - but drive in a good container. Are you going to view a car? Then take someone who already has experience with buying a car. And important: be critical. To help you on your way, we have put some of the best points of attention in front of you to help you buy used car.


What is your first impression?



View the car data in the ad. Compare the asking price with cars of the same model, year and/or the same number of kilometers. That way you know a bit whether the purchase is realistic, or too good to be true.
Try to find out why he or she sells the car. Just ask for this.

Are the official data correct?

Ask the seller to identify himself. Check whether the name on the vehicle registration card matches the name on the identity card.
Check the vehicle registration number (VIN) on the vehicle registration certificate, also known as the chassis or frame number. This number must match that behind the windshield or under the hood. Should this have been tampered with, it may be that you are dealing with a stolen vehicle.

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Can the salesman tell something about the maintenance of the car? See if his story can also be found in the maintenance booklet.
Use the free service of the RDW to request information about the car, such as:


  • the number of owners so far;
  • when the current owner has bought the car (date of last ascription);
  • the expiry date of the MOT inspection;

whether the car is registered as stolen.

What does the car look like on the outside?


Check the seams of the bonnet, tailgate, and doors. The seams should be straight. Where that is not the case, the car may have had car damage in the past.
Check whether the tires have sufficient profile and whether the tires are the same.

Rust the car? Rust spots are mainly on the wheel arches, bumpers, sills (bottom of the car) and around the tailgate. Check it equally well.
Check if there is no leakage. Is common in the trunk. Is the location of the spare wheel damp? Then it may be that it is leaking. In addition to the trunk, the foot space in the front is a common place for leaks. Musty smells can indicate leakage.

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Buy a car: check the outside of the car

What does the car look like under the hood?

Check the connections of the cooling system. Green attack indicates leakage.
Check if the liquid is clear by opening the coolant reservoir. Does oil float in the liquid? Then that may indicate a leaky gasket in the engine.
Check the engine block. Is this block fat or are there drops on the outside? Then the engine will probably leak oil. If the engine block is remarkably clean, it is useful to check it again after the test drive.

Before the test drive

Is the engine already warm? Then the salesman probably had it warmed up beforehand. You can then wonder if the engine does not start well cold.
The engine should be running regularly and without interruptions. You know this when the car starts without problems, you do not hear any noises and tapping and the car is stationary. In addition, the speed should not fluctuate.

Check the exhaust. Keep your foot on the exhaust when the car is idling. Is there hissing from the car? Then the exhaust is likely to leak.
View the color of the exhaust gas. This should be as good as colorless.

Blue exhaust gases? If the inside of the exhaust is black and greasy, this may indicate a lot of oil consumption. That is a bad sign for the condition of the engine.
White or gray exhaust gases? If there is a green rash on the engine block, this may indicate a leak in the cooling system.
During the test drive

Check for wear. Watch sounds while driving over bumps, thresholds and curves. Strange noises are a sign of wear.
Check the application point of the coupling. If the car turns smoothly and goes to every gear without noises, this point is good. Do you have to allow the link to emerge? Then it may be that the clutch is worn out.

Is the tachometer OK? See if the car runs smoothly through the revs and whether the car does not falter at certain speeds.
The dashboard must work properly. Check whether warning lights are on and all buttons, windscreen wipers, lights, air conditioning and other functions are working.
Test whether the car is stable on the road. You do that by letting go of the steering wheel and braking equally hard. The car should not be pulled aside on a straight road.
Buy used car: during the test drive


Before you make a decision

Finally: Never be intimidated by an aggressive sales style. And do not feel obligated anywhere. Do you need time to think about it? Then just take it.

If you eventually make a purchase, you will have to insure the car. Comparing all car insurance policies is done in a few steps. 

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