What are the risks of getting a secondhand car?

If you need a new car, you might be considering getting a secondhand car. There are many reasons why you might want to get a second hand car, they are more affordable or you might be looking for a first car for either yourself or your child.

Getting a second hand car is a very viable option, but it’s not without its risks.

So what are the risks of getting a secondhand car?

We look at some of the risks involved in getting a used car and what to look for when getting a second hand car.

What are the risks of getting a used car?

There are a few risks of getting a secondhand car, yes, but this doesn’t mean that it is a bad idea by any means. As long as you are aware of these risks and know how to eliminate them, then getting a secondhand car will not be any more or less risky than getting a brand new car.

So here are some of the risks involved in getting a secondhand car:

They are less reliable

Reliability is an issue when it comes to getting a secondhand car. It’s sort of the elephant in the room when it comes to reliability.

A second hand car is not going to be as reliable as a new car. This is because it’s been driven, it’s got miles on the clock and the more miles on the clock the less reliable the vehicle can be. New cars are full of modern technology that can make cars safer and more reliable, and your secondhand car might not be as advanced and therefore might not be as reliable.However, there is a solution. One of the best ways to ensure that you are getting a reliable secondhand car is to look at some of our honest reliability assessments. You can also read about our top brands for reliability here. Some brands are not reliable after their vehicles reach three years old, but others can go on for years and years. So doing some research into which brands are the most reliable is a good way to eliminate that risk.[vc_single_image image=”44831″ img_size=”full”]

You don’t know the car’s past

One of the downsides to getting a used car is that you don’t know how well the car was treated by its past owner. This ties in with the reliability factor.

You don’t know if the vehicle has been serviced regularly, or if it’s been serviced at a franchised dealer. You also don’t know if the past owner maintained the vehicle properly. If you don’t maintain your vehicle regularly then it can get damaged and this can make it more unreliable. It can also cost you later down the line. However, you can eliminate this risk by going through OSV. If you get your used car through OSV, we do our own background checks on the vehicle and we look at its servicing history and whether it has been in any accidents. We also check whether there is any outstanding finance on the vehicle.

They have a shorter or no warranty

Another risk involved in getting a used car is that they will have shorter or no warranty. Cars that are older than three years old will likely have no warranty (unless they are a Kia or a Nissan) and even if they are younger, then they will have a shorter warranty. This means that should something go wrong with the car, you may not be covered by the warranty.

However, there is a way around this. You can get extended warranties online from a specialist warranty provider. These might cost you a little bit extra but it is worth it in the long run should something go wrong with the car. So those are some of the risks involved when buying a used car. However, these risks can be eliminated by taking a few precautionary steps. These include getting extended warranties, doing some background checks and making sure you get your used car from a reputable place.

What should I look for when getting a used car?

When you are looking at used cars there are some things that you should consider before you decide which one you are going to get:

  • It’s always worth looking for the vehicle with your requirements but also with the lowest running costs.
  • Smaller engines are often cheaper to run and are better for town driving
  • However, if you do a lot of motorway driving then you might want to consider a car with a larger engine
  • Petrol or diesel?
    • Diesel cars are often more expensive to buy and fill up at the pump. You should consider whether you really need a diesel or if you are better off with a petrol
    • You also might want to consider the fact that there are lots of talks of diesel scrappage schemes, so you might have to change your diesel car for another in the near future.
  • Consider whether it is more affordable for you to get a used car rather than a brand new one
    • If you are going to finance your used car, you might want to consider whether it is actually more affordable to get a used car or to simply finance a new one. If you are unsure, you can contact one of our vehicle specialists who will be happy to help you make a decision.

Those are some of the things that you should consider initially, but when you get a used car there are also things that you should consider when looking at your used car:

  • Check you have all the documentation – make sure there is the following:
    • The logbook (V5C) – if they cannot provide a logbook then don’t buy the car
    • Check the owner is the registered keeper
    • Check the registration document for spelling mistakes and make sure that it has a watermark
    • Check the VIN, engine number and colour match what is written on the log book
    • Make sure that it has a full service and MOT history
  • Check for any colours that seem a bit mismatched – this could signify extensive repair
  • Make sure that the tyres are in good shape
    • Check the tread
    • Any tyres with less than 3mm of tread will need to be replaced
  • Make sure that all the seat belts work
  • Check all the warning lights are working correctly
  • You should also check the brakes
    • Make sure that they are even
    • There are no odd noises
  • Check the handbrake
  • Ensure the locks, including remote locking, work
  • Make sure the radio works


So those are some of the things that you should be looking for when looking at a used car. If you are unsure about anything, you can contact us and we will talk you through what you need to look for and what sort of questions to be asking the owner. That way you know everything is in order.

In conclusion, there are a few risks that come with getting a used car. These include the fact that you do not know about the cars history, and that you may have to purchase an extended warranty. However, many of these risks can be eliminated if you take the right steps and go through someone trustworthy and reputable. If you get your used car through OSV then we provide our own background checks on the vehicle and the used car dealership to make sure that everything is in order and eliminate the risk for you. We also put the vehicle through a safety check before it is delivered to your door. So hopefully this has eased your mind about the risks on getting a used car. If you have any questions, however, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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