1. Getting started with purchasing a used vehicle

All documents should definitely be checked. Request all vehicle documents and compare them with facts. First of all, check the so-called identifiers - especially the VIN code. In case of vehicles manufactured by September 2001 the engine number (no engine number at younger vehicles) should also be verified. If the vehicles have more identifiers (e.g. numbered glass), they should be checked as well. The verifying process should also include the technical inspection and emission testing - especially whether the vehicle has passed the technical inspection and when is the next scheduled date.

2. How to avoid becoming a victim of fraud?

Rights of third parties might be associated with used cars – they can be pledged and/or leased. To avoid becoming a victim of a leasing fraud, it is appropriate to find out whether the chosen vehicle is not encumbered by rights of third parties. Some of them can be easily found in the registration book (the vehicle is leased) but some can only be found out by an expert. When buying a vehicle through an advertisement one can never fully avoid the risk. In ŠKODA Plus auto sales you will be informed whether or not your vehicle is encumbered by rights of third parties.

3. How to avoid buying a stolen vehicle?

You can never fully avoid the risk when buying a vehicle through an advertisement without experts and specialized agencies. But it always pays up to find where the vehicle comes from (i.e. to know the origin of the car). If the vehicle is imported from abroad, it is likely that it might be a crashed vehicle that has been repaired. The risk of buying a car that is stolen is higher, too. That is why it is better to buy used cars that have been sold as new ones in the Czech Republic. The origin of a vehicle can easily be found in the registration book.

4. How to find out about the history of a vehicle?

By checking the service book. This always tells of the vehicle condition and maintenance by the preceding owner. If you are interested in a specific car, you should always insist on presenting the service book. If not presented, it is a sign that something is wrong. For instance, the vehicle has not been serviced regularly or has been crashed, which a vendor in a common used-cars service will not tell you.

5. How to recognize that the vehicle has been crashed?

The fact is that a heavy car accident cannot be entirely repaired. There are always some traces left. One method is paint depth measuring by a special diagnostic device. This task can be done in any used-cars sale service. When examining the vehicle from a layman's point of view, joints between individual components in the vehicle body should be monitored. Shades of the car paint can tell a lot, too.

6. What might tell the car's initial visual inspection?

Even the visual inspection can reveal much - from scratches on the vehicle body to more serious problems. It is important to see in detail the interior of the car because it can often tell how the preceding owner has cared of the car. Dirty interior is obviously a good sign of an insufficient care. A much-handled steering wheel or too used pedals can reveal how intensively the car has been used and if the speedometer has not been rewound.

7. What to check on a vehicle body?

Places prone to corrosion - sills, splash-boards, fifth doors, etc should be seen in particular. In doing so, it is appropriate to exert some force because some of the places can be fixed sometimes not much adequately and it is just a matter of time when the problems occur again. Pay attention if corroding parts have been covered by new painting or plastic trims.

8. Chassis - is it worth inspecting?

Of course! The best way is to lift up the vehicle and check the chassis properly. Emphasis should be placed on the floor corrosion and exhaust that is subject to corrosion. An ideal way to detect any oil leakage, unevenly used tyres and defective axles is jacking up the car.

9. What to watch out during the test ride?

A test ride is a necessity. See if the vehicle is adhesive sufficiently, how it behaves in curves, if braking symmetrically and the sound of the engine. When driving, do not be afraid of stepping the gas pedal more intensively and want more from the car than usually.

10. Is it necessary to conclude a purchase contract?

Do not purchase a car without a properly arranged contract. The contract is the only guarantee based on which you can claim your rights should any problems arise. You can find some contract templates online to see how a proper contract should look like. The vehicle should have clear specifications (identifiers, mileage, age, etc.). The contract should also indicate that no third parties have rights to the car. Other elements of a proper contract include the number of car keys, MOT and emissions detail, etc. Ideally, the contract should also include a technical condition report with a list of all damages and defects.

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