1. Exterior: have a good look around the car and boot to see if there is any damage, scratches, dents or rust. You should also check the condition and tread depths of the tyres (remember the minimum tyre tread depth is 1.6mm).
2. Inside: start with the seats for any damage or tears, make sure the fan and heating is working (including the air con if the car has this), check if you are able to adjust the mirrors and make sure the odometer matches the paperwork that goes with the car.
3. Before driving: make sure everything works from seat belts, seat adjustments, steering wheel and all equipment – central locking, stereo, interior lights – and don’t forget the exterior lights too, including the indicators and brakes.
4. While driving: check the brakes work by pressing down to decelerate, or if there’s trepidation, make sure that the mechanical direction is working too and pay close attention to any unusual noises.
5. Car’s records: make sure the car comes with 2 keys and the appropriate documentation such as the V5C logbook and car service history, but also check out the history of the car by going to sites such as HPI Check. Ask the seller as many relevant questions as you can, the more you know the better judgement you can make.