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  • Ellis Wood ADI

Thinking of buying a second hand car, buyer beware


Follow these steps to check you’re not buying a stolen or unsafe vehicle.


Before you see the vehicle


  1. Ask the seller for the registration number, make and model and MOT test number.

  2. Check that the details you’ve been given match the information held by DVLA.

  3. Check the MOT status and history matches the details you’ve been given.

  4. Check if the vehicle has been recalled because of a serious safety issue.


When you go to see the vehicle


  1. Ask to see the V5C vehicle registration certificate (‘log book’). Make sure it has a ‘DVL’ watermark, and the serial number is not between BG8229501 to BG9999030, or BI2305501 to BI2800000. If it is, the V5C might be stolen - call the police as soon as it’s safe to.

  2. Make sure the details in the log book match the details you’ve been given.

  3. Check the vehicle identification number and engine number. Make sure these match the details on the log book.

  4. Ask the seller about warranty if it’s a garage. The longer the better but you can usually get a 3 month warranty from them so if anything goes wrong in that 3 months it won’t cost you.

If you buy the vehicle


Tax the vehicle immediately. You’ll need the green ‘new keeper’ slip from the vehicle’s log book.

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