Trading Standards

Don't regret buying a new car

Is it safe? Is it legal? What it seems?

Make a few simple checks before you buy or you might regret it. For more information see the Citizens Advice buying a user car page or visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

  • check MOT certificate – indicates if car is roadworthy
  • check service history – shows if car has been maintained
  • check V5 registration document – shows if car is stolen
  • check if car is a write off – helps you know what you are buying
  • check finance history – ensures car doesn’t have an outstanding hire purchase agreement
  • test drive and walk around check – for signs the car isn’t what it seems
  • get engineer’s check – shows condition of car and any hidden dangers
  • check price value guide – indicates reasonable price to pay
  • check car is not recalled – shows if car was recalled for safety reasons by manufacturer

You can do many of these checks yourself, or there are companies that offer data checks which include several of the checks listed above.

For more detailed information and advice on how to make these checks, go to or visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

If you are having problems with a vehicle you have purchased and you would like some advice, please call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.

Cars with a logbook loan

Further advice can be found on the Citizens Advice Consumer Service web site.