Security Checks when Buying a Car


When buying a second hand car always think about security features and check whether it has been stolen.

Criminals will attempt to disguise the identity of a stolen car before selling on to an innocent car buyer – a process commonly known as ‘ringing’. It is worth following the advice given below.

1. Ask your dealer if they use a commercial database to confirm whether or not a vehicle has been reported as being stolen, has been written off by an insurance company, or is still being paid for under a finance agreement.

2. You can also contact HPI Group Limited direct on 01722 422422 or and for a small charge they can check the status of the car you’re buying. UKVehicle is another company offering a similar service via

3. Be cautious if you are buying privately. Meet the seller at their house and look around for signs of car dealing.

4. Check the cars chassis and VIN including any etched surfaces and make sure they match those shown on the documents. Check the vehicle registration document hasn’t been tampered with.

5. Be wary if any signs of etching have been removed.

6. If there is a mark showing that the vehicle is linked to any security register, check it out.

7. Do not buy if the seller cannot produce the vehicle registration document.

8. If you buy a car at an auction, take advantage of ‘indemnity clauses’. For a small fee you are protected if you find you’ve bought a stolen vehicle.

9. Consider having the vehicle professionally inspected by an organisation such as AA or RAC before you buy.

Buying a New Car

When buying a new car, always check what security features it has. You should insist that the model you intend to buy has built in security features. You should also check what insurance group the exact model you are intending to buy is in. All models are placed in one of 20 groups depending upon a number of factors, one being its security features. The group your car is in will effect the insurance premiums.

Below are some security features that you should check for.

1. An electronic immobiliser

2. A car alarm

3. Doors fitted with deadlocks or new electronic locks

4. A central locking system

5. A visible VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). This is the unique number, which identifies your car from every other one on the road. Most manufacturers now bond the VIN plate to the dashboard of the car so that it can be seen through the windscreen. A thief knows that if he steals a car marked in this way he will have to remove the whole windscreen and damage the dashboard before he can sell it on. VIN’s also help the police check a vehicles identity.

6. Etching. The vehicles VIN number on all glass surfaces.

7. Security Glazing. Specially strengthened glass fitted to the side and rear windows of your car makes it more difficult for a thief to break in, particularly if deadlocks have also been fitted. This glass unfortunately isn’t fitted as standard.

8. Stereo. Look for a stereo, which has a removable front panel or a security code. Some manufacturers are now fitting stereo equipment, which has its parts spread throughout the vehicle.

9. Lockable fuel cap

10. Lockable Wheel Nuts. These are especially important if you have expensive alloy wheels.

11. Tracking Devices. These enable a car to be tracked by the police or system operator if it is stolen. If you are buying a particular desirable car, a tracking device may be a condition of your insurance.

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