DIY Car Maintenance – How to Buy Used Cars

Used Cars on Gumtree

Buying a used vehicle can seem intimidating; not everyone is a car expert!

There are several things to look for and to be aware of when buying a used car, and we’ve put them together in an easy video tutorial, infographic, and guide for you in our fourth installment of Gumtree DIY Car Maintenance. Be sure to check out How to Check Engine Oil, How to Check Tyres Pressure, and How to Check Your Car Battery as well! You can also check out competitive pricing using Gumtree’s new tool, the Car Price Checker!

If you take your time to carry out a visual check, a mechanical check, and to research the vehicle’s history and make sure that the proper documents are on hand, the whole affair can be quite an enjoyable experience.

The Video

The Infographic

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<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”” alt=”DIY Car Maintenance Check Your Car Battery” /><br><a href=”” target=”_blank”>Gumtree DIY Car Maintenance How to Buy Used Cars</a> is an infographic that was produced by <a href=””>Gumtree</a>

DIY Car Maintenance Check Your Car Battery
Gumtree DIY Car Maintenance How to Buy Used Cars is an infographic that was produced by Gumtree

The Visual Check

When performing a visual check on any used vehicle, you should always:

  • Look out for rust or water damage. Be sure to check the underside of the car as well.
  • Look for offset doors, fenders, or uneven lines that could mean damage to the frame.
  • Look for cracks and differences in the paint color that could indicate that the vehicle was repainted after an accident.
  • Look for dents or scratches.

Always speak up about any dents or scratches and try to negotiate a lower price because of them.

If the seller refuses to budge on the price, see if you can have them fix it before you agree to purchase.

The Mechanical Check

When buying any vehicle, you should perform a mechanical check.

Check the fluids first:

  • Make sure the coolant is clear and that the transmission fluid isn’t black or oily.
  • Check the oil to make sure it’s not milky or frothy, and that the brake fluid is no darker than the color of tea.
  • Check underneath the engine to see that it is free from leaking fluids and check the belts for cracks.

You should also be aware of new parts. If you test drive the car, request that the seller drive the car while you travel as a passenger:

  • Turn off any music, and confirm that there are no strange noises or rattles.
  • Observe the steering wheel to ensure the alignment is correct.

Research Vehicle History

When buying a used vehicle, it would be very wise to run a vehicle history report.

  • Request to see the service book as well as any repair invoices and receipts.
  • Check that the seller’s identity and the registration information match to confirm the vehicle is not stolen.

Necessary Documentation to Purchase a Vehicle

You’ll want to be sure to have the needed documents to register the vehicle should you purchase it.

You’ll need:

  • An I.D.
  • The Vehicle Registration Certificate in the seller’s name
  • A Roadworthy Certificate, if the current Registration Certificate is older than six months
  • Proof of Purchase
  • A valid Motor Vehicle License
  • The application form for Registering and Licensing a Motor Vehicle (RLV)
  • The registration fee itself

Meet Safely in a Public Place

Remember, trust your instincts. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t, so don’t be afraid to walk away. Additionally, always handle private transactions from a safe environment such as a bank. This way, no one has to carry large sums of money on their person, and all cash can be verified and deposited at the time of the transaction. Purchasing a used car doesn’t have to be a negative experience.  Armed with the right information, you can purchase your next dream car with confidence. Buy and sell cars, parts or accessories, on Gumtree today!


Here at Gumtree, we’re an independent bunch. We do our own laundry, tie our own shoes, and make our own dinner! When we have car trouble, unfortunately, it can be a little harder to problem-solve solo. That’s why we are introducing the Gumtree DIY Car Maintenance Series, to help you stay safe on the road and keep your car running for years to come, with little to no expense. Check back weekly for more car tips and help!



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