Buying guides

Getting started. Don't be daunted; be excited about buying that new car!

It's exciting buying a used car, but it can be daunting too, as there are so many things you have to consider. Working out what to buy, where to buy it and how to buy something that isn't a liability can be a minefield, but if you do your homework you can minimise the risks.

In this guide we'll show you what those risks are and how you can avoid them. With one in three used cars having something to hide, you need to tread carefully before handing over any money.

One of the ways you can protect yourself is by investing in an HPI vehicle history check, which will flag up whether the car is an insurance write-off, has been stolen or has outstanding finance on it, or if it's been clocked.

If you come across a car for sale that fits into any of these categories, tell your local Trading Standards office about it. And if you buy a car that proves to be nothing but trouble, there are laws to protect you – especially if you're buying from a trader. If those laws are broken, your local Citizens' Advice Bureau is there to help.

At the end of this guide is a checklist with a score card, along with a contract for you to fill in at the point of purchase. Fill them out for any potential purchase and that way you can minimise the chances of being landed with a lemon.