How to Check a Second-Hand Car in Ireland’s Road-Worthiness and Value before You Buy

before You Buy

Buying a vehicle that is brand-new is not that difficult – all you have to do, basically, is check its warranty and guarantee to make sure the coverage is good and the warranty lasts for a long time. But if you are planning to purchase a second-hand or used car, this is not always the case – the car needs to be checked from top to bottom if you want to make sure that it is worth buying. If, upon checking, you find that it has issues or it is not good enough for your needs, then you can choose not to purchase it altogether.

But if you find a second-hand vehicle that you are interested in, your first step would be to get a mechanic who can do a thorough check on the car. The mechanic should be looking at the car’s condition, while you should be in charge of checking its history and paperwork.

The car’s condition

When it comes to the car’s condition, the mechanic should know best. But it doesn’t hurt for you to know what to look for, either. There are a few basic things you should check, especially outside the vehicle and in its interiors.

If you are checking outside the vehicle, look for any surface damages, such as scrapes and dents, or door panels that do not match up. You should also check for cracked or broken lights and bumper marks or scrapes, as well as other signs of wear such as rust on the arches of the wheels or under the car’s sills. The tyres should also be checked to see if they are uneven or of a different make from each other. In addition, you should also check the car’s spare tyre and its replacement kit for wheels.

Inside the vehicle, you should check for the number of airbags and if they are functioning properly. Ask the seller about additional safety components or features, like a centre seat-belt, anti-lock braking systems, and more. The car’s odometer should also be checked, as this displays its mileage. If you think the mileage has been changed, you may want to question the seller further or get in touch with the Gardai (as this is an illegal offense). Additionally, in the car’s interiors, you should also check wear on the pedals, the seat coverings, the steering wheel, and the gear knob.

The car’s paperwork

You should also make sure to check the vehicle’s history, and there are companies that do a thorough and immensely useful vehicle valuation, such as, for a minimal fee. This valuation often includes details like the car’s insurance write-offs, its mileage, its NCT status, its previous owners and number of owners, whether it has been used as a taxi, and more.

The vehicle’s registration should also be checked, as someone else may have recently purchased it and tried to put it up for sale because of car issues. Other paperwork that will help you make the right decision when it comes to purchasing a second-hand car are the vehicle’s VRC, or Vehicle Registration Certificate, the vehicle’s log book or service history, the vehicle’s MOT, and a valid and updated tax disc.

For confirmation on the VRC, ask the seller or dealer to show it to you if the car is registered in Ireland. If the car has been registered in the UK, you should ask to have a look at the V5C. Whilst checking the VRC or V5C, you should also confirm the vehicle’s ownership as well as the vehicle’s engine, colour, type of fuel, and registration date, which will all be listed in the document.


Image courtesy of bplanet/


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