Buying a used car? It’s now easier than ever to ‘check before you buy’ with free web tools

Thinking about buying a used car? Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards are advising that free information is now available on the internet which now makes it much easier to check the history of a second hand vehicle before you buy.

Warwickshire County Councillor John Horner, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said:

“Our Trading Standards Service receives more complaints about second hand car purchases than about anything else. Many of these relate to mechanical defects or questionable mileage readings. Sometimes the second hand car still has finance owing on it or has even been reported stolen.”

“In recent months new Government websites have been launched that can reveal to potential buyers a car’s MOT history and tax status, free of charge. And, for a few pounds, there are many companies that will provide full vehicle histories. There are even apps you can download on to your phone to use when you are out car shopping.”

Warwickshire County Councillor Philip Johnson, Chair of the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee added:

“Trading Standards strongly urges consumers to ‘check before you buy’ and research the history of any used car they are considering buying.”

There are two Government websites that provide free information about vehicles: the MOT history website and the DVLA’s vehicle enquiry website.

The MOT history website provides detailed information of a car’s MOT history. This includes previous test dates, what the mileage was at the time, whether the vehicle passed or failed and reasons for any failure points. Use this website to check mileage accuracy and to get an idea of vehicle condition before buying.

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The DVLA website has information on the tax/SORN status of the vehicle, year of manufacture, date first registered, engine size and colour.


There are also commercial websites that will tell you, without charge, if the vehicle has been stolen or imported. For a few pounds you can get further information including whether there is any outstanding finance on the car or if the vehicle has ever been written off or scrapped.

Warwickshire residents wishing to make a complaint about a vehicle they have purchased can do so by contacting Warwickshire Trading Standards via the Citizens Consumer Advice Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

You can find out more about Warwickshire Trading Standards on the Warwickshire Web: