Sometimes the opposite of what one really wants do is actually the wiser choice. If the price of a product, in this case a used car, seems to be a real bargain, one should rather put the brakes on than rush into it flat out. Perhaps the offer can only be found on the internet and the offer is only a lure. It may also be the real thing, but not for sale at all. Be very careful if the sale requires a small deposit or the taking over of any fees. Regardless of how small the sum is, don't fall for it.
Looking better than it is, that's our subject. Give the possible cruel reality of the above picture a thought. An expensive repair can make your dream of being mobile burst like a soap-bubble. The mileage on the clock is not the only point you should not trust blindly. You can't imagine how little money it takes, to turn a jalopy into something that looks great. It's like turning a smokers corner into a sweet smelling flower. Unfortunately, cars which have been pepped up like this are very often not nearly as good as they seem.
Indeed, if I hear the expression 'full service history', I sometimes wonder. What does that mean? Is the service book the original, or perhaps just a copy? Is it stamped and signed? Were the services done by a registered dealer or by a backyard mechanic, perhaps even by somebody's uncle who just happens to have a stamp. If someone has turned the clock back, which of course, can be done on any parking place, sometimes for as little as €50 to, let's say 80.000 km, they may be covering up for inspections that were in fact never done.
Therefore, you should also pay attention to apparently insignificant little things! Are the pedal-rubbers badly worn down on one side or are they obviously brand new? What about the steering wheel, is it worn and maybe slightly grubby? Take somebody who can judge the mileage by looking at the car with you or have the car checked by a neutral workshop. Always bear in mind, that if the situation shown in the above picture arises, then it's too late to do anything about it. It's also not impossible that an invoice has been given but the repair work was never actually done.
Yes, I know that there is still the used-car guarantee. Indeed, one should know exactly who the contract partner is. Is the dealer perhaps selling the car for a third party? Is the guarantee even valid at all? Maybe this is mentioned during the sales-talk simply to give the customer a feeling of security. Also, what clauses are in the guarantee and how comprehensive is it?
Have you gathered information about this car? Do you even know what is standard and what is an add-on? The best thing to do is to have someone with you who can judge, once you've bought the car, you are responsible for any changes. The police don't care who made the changes. They'll send you (at your own expense) for a roadworthy test where the car may even be taken off the road, even if it has been given a valid MOT-stamp.