Car Crime Prevention, Police Update on Buying a Used Car
Buying a Car
If you are about to buy, or are thinking of buying a new car, there are some practical things that you need to look out for. Be careful if you are buying a second-hand car. Do not buy one that could be stolen or be a likely target for thieves.
- Ask to see proof of the seller’s identity and address – an official letter or driving licence, for example.
- Make sure the car’s VIN (vehicle identification number) matches that on the registration document.
- Let the seller bring the car to you, as you may need to confirm their address details.
- Buy a car without the registration document.
Check it out
- If in doubt, ask the AA, RAC or another reputable organisation to inspect the car before agreeing to buy.
- The vehicle identification number (VIN), formerly known as the chassis number, is a unique 17 character number issued to every vehicle by the manufacturer. The VIN could be:
- Stamped on the body chassis or frame.
- On a manufacturer’s VIN plate under the bonnet or fixed to the post between the front and rear doors.
- On an additional plate fixed securely to the top corner of the dashboard where it can easily be seen through the windscreen. This is called a visible VIN.
- When buying a car, always check that the VIN has not been tampered with and that it matches that on the registration document.
Buying a New Car
We advise you to consider the following security features for any new car that you purchase:
- Electronic engine immobilisation
- Locking wheel nuts
- Secure in-car entertainment
- Lockable fuel caps
- Central locking
- Security etching
Some systems may reduce your premium and you can find out more information from your insurer. We recommend that your car has as many of the above-mentioned security features as possible.
Think about fitting a vehicle tracking system if you are buying a particularly expensive car or one that might be attractive to thieves.
For security advice call the National Vehicle Security Helpline, or speak to your local police Crime Prevention Officer.
For information about vehicle inspections call the AA or the RAC
To check the status of a second-hand vehicle, call Equifax HPI
For a free copy of the Car Buyer’s Guide, published by the Home Office, contact your local Crime Prevention Officer.