Interested in buying a used car? It can be a really cost-effective option, and you could pick up a fantastic vehicle for a fraction of what you’d pay if you bought new. After all, we’re all well aware that a car loses value pretty much as soon as it’s driven off the forecourt. A common worry that people have when they’re looking at buying a second-hand car though is that they’ll end up buying a stolen vehicle. Whilst it’s certainly possible, it’s worth mentioning here that most people are selling their cars for genuine reasons. To give you that extra peace of mind though, here are some steps that you can take to minimise your chances of ending up with a stolen car.

Before you visit the vehicle…

Obviously, you should make an appointment to see the vehicle before you do anything else. You’ll want to check that it fits the description, and doesn’t have any problems that you weren’t made aware of. When you’re talking with the seller, ask for the registration number, make, model, and MOT test number. You’ll then be able to check these details on the DVLA’s vehicle enquiry service, just to see that everything matches up. You should also ensure that the MOT is up to date, and that the history matches everything you’ve been told about the vehicle.

When you’re viewing the vehicle…

Okay, so everything looks great on paper so far. Now you need to go and meet the seller. Ask to see the log book (officially known as the V5C registration certificate), check to see that it has a watermark, and check that the serial number is not between BG8229501 to BG9999030, or BI2305501 to BI2800000. If it is, there’s a possibility that the log book could have been stolen. The best thing to do here is to make your excuses and leave, and contact the police as soon as it is safe for you to do so. Of course, never put yourself in any unnecessary danger.

If everything seems above board, the only thing you still need to do is check the vehicle identification number and the engine number, and make sure that they match the details in the log book.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you only need to go through these stages if you’re buying from a private seller, but that isn’t the case. Even if you’re buying from a reputable garage, be cautious and ask all the right questions. Always remember that a genuine seller will be happy to answer any questions that you might have, and will appreciate that you need to check this information before you go ahead and make a sale. If you think that they’re stalling when it comes to telling you particular things, or they seem to be evasive about certain matters, this should set off alarm bells in your head. There are so many used cars out there that are available to you, and you definitely don’t have to buy the first one that comes along!

It’s not just the car being stolen that should be your concern. You also need to make sure that it fully meets your needs, and that you’ll be happy driving it in the future.

Make sure that you’ve fully considered both the legal issues and the important matter of the car being the one that you drive around every day! Shop around, do your research, and never let yourself feel like you’re being forced into something that you’re not quite sure about.