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What to Check For When Buying a New Car

New car time is a reason to get excited. After all, you're swapping your old set of wheels for a new one and getting ready for the adventures ahead. We can't think of many better things than getting the keys to a new motor and driving away in a snazzy car. 

While buying a new car is a super-exciting experience, it's also a significant one. It's one of the major purchases you're likely to make, so everything needs to be prim and proper to ensure that nothing goes wrong. That means carrying out checks to make sure you're buying a high-quality vehicle that's safe and ready for the road. 

But which aspects should you check when buying a new car? In this guide, we're covering everything there is to know about carrying out the right checks before purchasing a new vehicle. So read on and become a car-buying expert. 

The ultimate car-buying checklist


How much does the car cost? We all want to save a penny or two to get the best deal possible. But if you come across a vehicle that seems like it's an absolute steal, think twice before proceeding. If it's a great price, then it might be too good to be true.

You can check a car's valuation by entering the registration and mileage on Carmoola. If it returns a value considerably higher than the price you're being quoted, it's worth thinking twice before making the purchase. 

Outstanding finance

Many private buyers use a form of finance to fund their new car, and borrowing can help you to afford a newer or safer car. But what happens when someone sells a car with finance still owed, and you end up buying that same car? 

If you're buying through a dealership, then you probably don't have to worry, as they often carry out checks against the car (though it's worth double-checking). But if you're buying privately, you'll need to be savvy by doing an HPI check to see the car's history. 

Learn more about buying a car with outstanding finance

Does the registration match the VIN?

The registration needs to match the VIN of the car. If it doesn't, then you definitely shouldn't buy it. Non-matching numbers probably mean something isn't right, and criminals are known to transfer a legally registered vehicle's identity onto a stolen one. 

Has the vehicle been clocked? 

Low-mileage cars are more in demand than ones with plenty on the clock. But not all low-mileage cars are legit, and it could be that a vehicle has been clocked. This means someone has manually changed the mileage counter so that it looks lower than the real numbers. Checking past service history and MOT documents can be handy for seeing if a car has been clocked. 

Service history

Check where the car has been serviced and if it even has its service stamps. On average, cars should be serviced every 10,000 miles or three years, so you don't want to buy something that doesn't have a full-service history. Also, check that it comes with a spare set of keys. 


Has the car passed its MOT, and when is the next one due? Essentially, you want to ensure that you're buying a vehicle that's not going to cost an arm and a leg as soon as you drive it off the dealership. You also can't drive it away without a valid MOT.


Like a car with too many owners, one with high mileage also quickly loses its value. If you're buying a 2018 plate car with 120k-plus miles on the clock, you'll need to ask yourself if it's a really good deal. How many miles per year will you drive it for? And will it be too much hassle to look after?

Cars with their fair share of miles are likely to need work done on them than a car with half the amount. Before buying a high mileage vehicle, make sure you check its age to see how much it's been driven, and the year it was manufactured. 


The older a car, the higher the chance of faults and unplanned costs. Plus, older cars aren't as safe as newer ones, so make sure you do your due diligence if you're thinking of buying an older motor. And try to stay away from vehicles that are over 10 years old, as they could be more trouble than they're worth. 

Previous owners

The more owners a car has, the more its value drops. So if you're buying a car, you don't want one that's had loads of owners. This is especially true of traditional cars like a hatchback or saloon. 

While a one-car owner will likely be well maintained, as would a two-car owner, a car with, let's say, five previous owners has had five different people closing the door regularly, opening the dashbox, using the steering wheel etcetera. More use means a lower value and a car that may not be in great condition. 


Where are you buying the car from? Is it a reputable place with a history of selling cars? Do your research online and read up about the dealership. The last thing you want is to buy a dodgy car from a dealership that has a poor reputation. 

Buying the right car with Carmoola

Buying a car can quickly go from an exciting experience to a disaster if you get the wrong one. Fortunately, we can help you purchase your next vehicle with confidence. When you've found a car you love, simply input the registration and the millage into the Carmoola app, and we'll tell you everything there is to know about the vehicle. Buy your next car without needing to worry about whether or not it's a good deal. 

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