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Lights – make sure that none of the bulbs need replacing

Indicators – check they all work; and don’t forget any repeaters on the side of the car

Wheels – ensure there are no marks or scuffs from kerbing that will mean the wheels will need replacing

Wheelarches – this is a common place for rust, so check them all over carefully

Panel gaps – ensure they are consistent all over the body

Windscreen – ensure there are no cracks that could lead to an MOT failure

Roof – if you’re looking at a convertible, make sure the roof moves up and down smoothly and locks fully into place, check the material for tears

Paint – check the car is a consistent colour all over

Windows – make sure that any electrically operated windows work, and work smoothly

Tyres – check they all have plenty of tread left, and that the wear is even across them; and don’t forget the spare

Suspension – when the car is pressed down, it should return smoothly to its normal height


Whether you like to think of it as your A to B buddy or an extension of your own personality, choosing a car is a big decision. So instead of spending time you don’t have running around town comparing prices, we’ve done the hard work for you and pooled our (not inconsiderable) resources with Auto Trader.

Using Auto Trader to find your perfect car is like using shampoo to wash your hair – not only is it the most straightforward choice, it’s also the number one car marketplace for a reason. Because it’s no secret that hitching yourself to a vehicle is a big commitment... You want to get it right the first time.

How to get the best deal

Discover Auto Traders top tips for securing the best deal. Share your own tips and you could win a luxury spa break for you and your car.

Here are some of our users top tips

What car are you?

Make it even easier to find the car that gets your engine revving with our quick quiz.

Watch this space: Video Gallery

Let the experts do the talking: we put AutoTrader’s vehicular virtuosos to the test so you can reap the rewards of their combined car knowledge.