Guide To Car Data Checks


Please read this before buying a used car.

The My Car Check "Help" pages explain more about our approach to vehicle checking and the data we can provide e.g. car history checks, stolen car checks, car finance checks etc. We also offer best practice tips on used car buying.

If, after reading them, you're unsure about any aspect of our car checker car services, or the used car buying process, please call our UK-based contact centre on 0330 331 0030.

It still shocks us that so many UK consumers have never done a vehicle check. This is a BIG gamble as not doing a car reg check means blindly trusting the information provided by the seller.

Once you've agreed a deal it is often impossible to recover any money. That's why it is so important to do a thorough vehicle check before you buy, just as professional car dealers do.

A dispute regarding a used car purchase will generally be considered a civil matter, as it is rare for people to be literally forced to hand over cash. As a result, huge numbers of dodgy vehicle sales are not technically criminal.

You might pay a higher price for vehicles purchased from a used car dealer, but you should enjoy more protection than those buying in the private marketplace. If you have a grievance with a motor trade business, Trading Standards is your best bet.

The lack of regulations governing private sales (such as cars advertised for sale at the roadside) means consumers must act with due caution and diligence, including doing a car history check.

At My Car Check, we suggest you follow these SIX KEY RULES:


This is your hard earned cash. Can you afford to lose it?

The used car market is fraught with dangers. For criminals and fraudsters, cash is king. The logic is often 'why fleece 20 people for £500 when you can fleece one for £10,000'?

It is a sad fact that many people do a car registration check after they've already purchased the vehicle, because they suspect something is wrong. The cost of a vehicle check is just a fraction of the cost of the car itself. You wouldn't buy a house without a survey so why run the risk when buying a used car?


Don't leap first and ask questions later.

Buying any vehicle is an emotive decision. Consumers can easily get carried away with the "it's my dream car and I want it now" scenario. Even the most calm and collected people are susceptible to the pressure sales tactics of unscrupulous sellers. Some examples are:

  1. "Need a quick sale, hence low price cash deal"
  2. "I've a definite buyer coming in an hour who's willing to pay full price"
Don't let lines like these send you into a panic. Buying a car isn't a race. We'd much rather help you avoid an expensive mistake than confirm your worst fears so please do an appropriate vehicle check before you buy.


Do your homework.

How often are you likely to spend this amount of money? Better do it right then! Do your homework. Don't rush in. If the car's everything it's supposed to be, it will still be a good car when you've had time to check it out. Small deposits can be used to secure a vehicle but these are often non-refundable so don't offer a deposit you're not prepared to lose. Our vehicle checks only take a few minutes so you can even do them while you're there with the car.


Budget for the full cost of ownership.

Many people are tempted to overstretch their budget to get "the car I really want". However, in addition to the cost of the vehicle, there are insurance costs, running costs, road tax etc. Is the car going to require a service or MOT within the first six months of ownership? Are any tyres looking close to the legal limit? If you can't afford to maintain it you might have to sell it at a loss. Please budget for the full cost of ownership, including a few pounds for a car reg check.


Lack of paperwork is a warning not to proceed.

This is an area that many overlook. It is vital to ensure the correct paperwork is supplied and verified prior to purchase. At My Car Check we advise: Never buy a vehicle without the V5C Logbook present. When buying privately, many consumers believe assurances such as "I'll send the paperwork on" or "It isn't registered in my name because..." Our best advice is to walk away because you'll have little protection in the eyes of the law if you go ahead. Please note: motor dealers sometimes don't register vehicles in their name. However, in the private market, we advise buyers to ask for photographic identification, such as the seller's driving licence or passport, and a current utility bill. You need to establish you are dealing with the legal owner at the address to which the vehicle is registered.


If you're unsure on anything, get in touch.

Our UK-based contact centre takes calls every day from consumers unsure about aspects of the car history checking and car buying processes. We conduct vehicle checks on thousands of cars every day and sometimes a quick conversation with one of our advisors can help you determine whether or not you are happy to proceed. Our role is to help you make a more informed choice.

UK customer support: +4433033100300330 331 0030



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Please click here for further details, including contact centre opening hours.

Know what you're getting into.

The My Car Check Team