10 tips for buying a used car

Coop insurance

From safety to size, mileage to MOT history, there's plenty to consider when buying a used car. To take some of the stress out of the decision for you, Co-op Insurance asked Mumsnetters for their tips when making this big purchase

Make safety a non-negotiable

Safety first gif

“Safety is absolutely my top priority. With a used car, you should check the condition of the tyres, the airbags, the seat belts, the lights, the brakes, the clutch and the mileage.”

But remember the little things matter, too

Dog in car

“Think about what matters to you. My requirements are always the same: the car needs to have low mileage and be fuel-efficient. Oh, and extra points if it doesn’t smell of dog!”

Future-proof your choice

kid in car

“Look for a car with parts that aren’t too expensive to replace should you need to. Having five doors is essential for me, too, both for my kids and for my parents who are older and have less mobility.”

Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise

“Ask about the extras it offers. I want all the bells and whistles, the more ridiculous the better. Built in SatNav, seat-warmers, reversing camera, Bluetooth, automatic braking, that irritating noise it makes when I want to change lane and there's something in the way…”

Don't forget in-car entertainment

“Next time I’m buying a car, I'm going to make sure there's an auxiliary function on the radio so I can play the Lego song to my kids to keep them quiet! I'd advise anyone with kids to do the same. A big boot, good visibility, low mileage, a leather steering wheel and ISOFIX are also all essentials for me.”

Play Poirot before you buy

“My top tip is to go on the Gov.UK website to check the MOT history of the car. You can also see if the mileage is genuine, as well as view all the advisories, work and part replacements the car has previously had.”

Remember – the truth is in the tyres

Car tyres

“Always check the tyres over. Has the previous owner rotated them properly when replacing them? Are they really worn down? Have they bought budget tyres or decent ones? The answers to these questions will tell you a lot about the car before you even get inside.”

Make sure there's space for everything but the kitchen sink

Packed car

“The boot needs to be really spacious to fit in everything you need for a big family holiday. The car also needs a decent engine that won’t struggle under the weight of all your bags as well as the kids.”

Look out for bad cover-up jobs

“The paint should be an even colour all over the car. If it’s not, it could be a sign of a shoddy repair job. Be very wary of rust, too, particularly if any of the paintwork is bubbling up.”

Avoid a rainy day purchase


“Don't buy a used car in the rain. We did this with our first car. The next day we put the visors down to block the sun and they fell off as they'd only been held up with duct tape!”