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General Purchasing Advice

AA Car Inspections offers an in-depth report on the condition, performance and driving characteristics of a used vehicle. It is a report based on the car as it was presented to the engineer on the day of the inspection and cannot be relied upon as a guide to its future condition, reliability or value.

Our engineers assess the vehicle’s mechanical and electrical systems in as far as they are permitted within our Terms & Conditions; they cannot remove parts or connect the vehicle to computers or diagnostics. They also assess the vehicle’s performance as they experienced it on the date of inspection and cannot report or comment on faults that did not manifest themselves during their inspection.If a service history is available for the vehicle, the risk is limited.

Modern cars are highly-sophisticated examples of mechanical technology that nonetheless can and do fail unexpectedly, regardless of the amount of servicing, inspection or maintenance carried out on them. With increasing sophistication comes increased risk – cars contain hundreds of parts, hundreds of metres of wiring and multiple fluids, all of which contain the inherent risk of failure even after a thorough inspection. Organisations like the AA also exist to take care of vehicles in the event they do break down.

For that reason, we recommend you take out AA Membership with your used car purchase and special rates are available to AA Car Inspection customers.

We recommend you clarify the following issues with a private or trade seller/dealer before you make a purchasing decision:

  1. Can you confirm the mileage is genuine?
  2. Has the car had any body repair work carried out on it?
  3. Has the car been crashed in the past?
  4. Was there any major mechanical work carried out on the car?
  5. When was the timing belt last replaced (is there any written confirmation of this)?
  6. Is there any finance outstanding on the car?
  7. Do you know how many owners this car has had?
  8. Is there any outstanding VAT or VRT to be paid on the car?
  9. Do you have a service history for this car?

If you’re buying from a trade seller, you should also ask them

  1. Are you members of a trade association i.e. SIMI?
  2. Is there a warranty on the car and if so, how long is it?
  3. Does the warranty cover parts & labour?
  4. What does the warranty specifically exclude?