Buying A Used Car? Here’s What To Look Out For...

If you are looking to buy a used car, then there are quite a few pitfalls to be aware of. Remember that the average car in Ireland 2017 is now 8 years old, and the 150,000 new car sales in Ireland year on year is only a drop in the car sales ocean1. Most of us consumers have taken to avoiding that first 5 years of a car’s life depreciation in value since the economic downturn. We have turned to choosing instead a newer used car of our choice. Let us then take a look at what we might need to be most aware of when purchasing a used car.

Do’s and Don’ts Checklist 2017 – Used Car Purchases2

1. Never purchase a car without having it checked over by an independent mechanic

Do not ever buy a car without getting it independently checked by a qualified mechanic. This independent mechanic could be, for example, a mechanic that you have found to be trustworthy in the past. Request him or her to check it over.

2. Complete a comprehensive history check

Do a comprehensive history check using official record holders such as Motorcheck or Cartell. Also, ask the seller some clear questions such as ‘has the car ever been in a crash?’, ‘has it had bodywork?, ‘is the mileage correct?’, or is there any outstanding finance?’. Remember the seller is required not to misinform you, but there are no explicit rules about what they have to comprehensively tell a potential buyer.

3. Check the car’s history for regular maintenance

For example, check the paintwork for consistency. Be cautious as to whether the paintwork has been completed professionally or as a quick fix.

4. If you are purchasing from a garage, you will need to request a warranty

If the dealer will not offer a warranty, then walk away from the sale right away. A warranty is not the same as an NCT. A car needs to be serviced regularly and in line with manufacturer guidelines.

5. Make sure your purchase has a valid NCT certificate

It is a legal requirement for any car older than 4 years to have a valid NCT certificate. You can visit and enter the car registration number. The expiry date of the last NCT certificate that was issued for the car will be online. For commercial vehicles you can log on to

6. Check to see if the car is ‘clocked’

Since July 2014 the NCTS (National Car Testing Service) began printing the odometer history on the NCT certificate. Compare the current used car’s reading to that certificate. If you spot a significant discrepancy then walk away...

7. Take a test drive

A really good way to check out the car of choice is to take it for a long test drive. Be sure to check whether or not the windows fully roll closed, check the car electrics, and drive without the radio on – listen in for any noises of concern.

8. If the car is an import, then check its odometer and test history

When importing a car from the UK be sure to check its odometer and test history beforehand. You can check online at by entering the vehicle registration and make.


•The An Garda Siochana are legally obliged to make the driver/owner of the car responsible if a car is found to be defective – Road Traffic Regulations 1963

•It is illegal to interfere, or request another person to interfere with an odometer – Road Traffic Act 2004

•It is an offence for traders to provide false information about a product’s usage or prior history – Consumer Protection Act 2007

What Windsor Offers: Fully Assessed Used Cars & A Service You Can Trust

Call into your local Windsor dealership or go online to see what thoroughly serviced used car offers are available. Alternatively check in your potential used car purchase choice with your local Windsor car service, and we will provide a thorough assessment.


1.Herbert, Geraldine (2017). What to look out for when purchasing a new car. Newstalk Drive, Part III, Podcast, 21st August.

2. RSA (Road Safety Authority) – ‘Buying a used car

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