How to Buy a Used Skoda

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How to Buy a Used Skoda

Skoda is a car manufacturer based in the Czech Republic. The company became a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group in 2000. Skodas have a reputation for being no-frills, reliable entry-level vehicles that are relatively inexpensive to buy or to repair should something go wrong.

Before buying a used Skoda, consider the advantages and disadvantages of buying a used car. Learn how to research models to find common problems and know what to look for when inspecting the cars on offer. Asking the seller the right questions before viewing the vehicle is essential, as is running a vehicle check. Learn what to look for when inspecting the car and during the test drive. Know what paperwork to request and what to watch out for. Used Skoda cars are available from a number of sources, including authorised Skoda dealers, used car traders, and private sellers advertising in local listings, magazines, and online, on eBay.

Advantages of Buying a Used Skoda

The two biggest advantages of buying a used Skoda are lower prices and slower depreciation. A new car loses nearly half of its value within the first year; the moment it is driven, the car is no longer new. When buying used vehicles, this proportion of the depreciation has already taken place and the car loses value more slowly over the coming years. In addition, it is usually possible to afford a bigger, more luxurious model when buying used. Skodas are considered the least problematic European cars available. When something does go wrong, parts and repairs are usually affordable.

Disadvantages of Buying a Used Skoda

There are some disadvantages to buying a used Skoda. Buyers have to take more care to ensure that the car does not have a defect that may or may not be known to the seller. Buyers also run the risk of purchasing cars with outstanding finance, that have had their odometers turned back, that have non-authentic number plates, or that have been stolen. Buyers that are not confident in their ability to evaluate the condition of a used car should ask friends or family with more knowledge and experience for help when buying a used Skoda. Alternatively, ask for a professional evaluation before buying the car.

Research Used Skodas

Doing adequate research is crucial when buying a used Skoda. This gives an indication of the fair asking price for different models and years. A number of websites offer information about car book value. Use this data to set a budget and stick to it. Remember to include road tax, MOT, and insurance costs in the budget.

Common Faults

In addition, research specific models to find out about common faults. For example, when buying a Skoda Fabia, check the car's footwells for dampness. The air vents tend to get blocked, causing water to drip into the car. Although this is not difficult or expensive to fix, it is important to be aware of the fault. With these cars, the coolant levels should also be checked, as the hoses tend to get dislodged and leak. The 1.4 petrol model in particular has problems with timing belt tensioners breaking early and head gasket failures.

Similarly, when looking at a Skoda Superb, check when the cambelt was last changed. If the mileage is over the set boundaries, the belt may fail. When this happens, the car's engine usually needs to be replaced or rebuilt. It is best to research each model and year of production to find out about specific issues to check.

Obtain Details About a Used Skoda

Buyers should ask sellers a number of questions before viewing a Skoda. It is best to get a landline number for the seller in addition to any other contact details because this can be used, if necessary, to trace the person at a later date. The table below lists the details that are important when speaking to a seller according to category.

Category

Details

Ownership

Duration of ownership

Number of previous owners

Reason for selling

Paperwork

Elapsed time since the last MOT

Valid tax

V5C registration document (logbook)

Service history

Old MOT certificates

Car related bills or receipts

Condition

Damage

Mechanical issues

Accidents

Ever stolen

Mileage

Recent maintenance

Legal

Outstanding vehicle financing

Buyers should ask about the car's features and any cosmetic damage. View the car at the address that corresponds to the information in the logbook.

Perform a Vehicle History Check

A number of companies offer vehicle history checks for a small fee. This type of check reveals whether a used Skoda has been reported stolen, has been written off or scrapped, and whether any finance is outstanding on the vehicle. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's (DVLA) online vehicle enquiry service can also be used to check whether the MOT is up to date, the current tax expiry date, and a number of other details. Ask the seller for the car's registration number, make and model, tax disc details, and MOT test number to make the most of this facility. In addition to confirming the car's age and identity, this site provides information about what it costs to tax the vehicle.

Inspect a Used Skoda

A used Skoda should be checked physically before buying. Use the information gathered when researching specific models to draw up a list of items to check on a particular car; what applies to one model may not apply to another, so doing research related to specific models is essential. When inspecting a used Skoda, always arrange the viewing in daylight and in dry weather. Rain and artificial light makes it difficult to see defects. Do not pay a deposit before viewing the car.

Check whether the car is as advertised. Look at the mileage on the odometer and compare this to the amount of wear and tear visible. Keep an eye out for wear on the steering wheel and gearstick knob, sagging seats, worn pedal rubbers, or signs that these accessories have been replaced recently. If the car looks very worn, but the owner claims that the mileage is low, perform additional checks to ensure that the odometer has not been tampered with.

Ask to see the original V5C vehicle registration certificate, or logbook; do not accept photocopies. The document should have the "DVL" watermark and a serial number. If the serial number falls between BG229501 and BG9999030, or BI2305501 and BI2800000 the document may be stolen. Check whether the details that you have been given match those on the certificate and whether the vehicle identification number (VIN) and engine number match those on the document.

The table below lists checks that should be completed on the exterior, interior, and engine of a used Skoda. Buyers should add these to their existing lists of model-specific checks.

Part of Car

Checks

Exterior

Paint finish: different shades could indicate damage and respray

Bubbling paint could indicate rust, especially on wheel arches, bumpers, and window frames

Gaps between panels should be the same width

Doors and boot should open and close smoothly

Evaluate tyres and spare wheel

Tyres should have even wear; uneven wear may be sign of suspension or tracking alignment faults or crash damage

Interior

Mileage on odometer: should match the advertisement and the car's documents

Air conditioning, electric and manual windows, sunroof, seats, fuel-cap, and bonnet release should all function

Damage to the steering column and ignition

Seat belts

Engine

Check the VIN for tampering

Oil, water, or other fluid leaks

Oil should be free from debris and golden

Top of engine and under oil cap: white substance indicates head gasket problems

Engine coolant and brake fluid levels

Battery terminals and connectors are not rusted and in good condition

Some used Skodas may show subtle signs of damage, such as frayed seat belts or damage to the passenger-side dashboard. These could be indications that the car has been in an accident.

Test Drive a Used Skoda

Never buy a car without test driving it. Arrange insurance before the test drive and check whether the driver is sufficiently covered before he or she sets off. Listen for screeching, banging, or knocking sounds, test all the gears, and check the handbrake. Drive the car when the engine is cold as this gives an indication of starting problems and excessive exhaust smoke. Exhaust smoke should be white. Blue or black smoke, or a large amount of smoke could indicate oil leaks, head gasket problems, or the need for repairs and maintenance.

A few minutes after starting, the engine speed should remain consistent. If not, the engine needs attention. Turn the steering wheel from one side to the other. It should require consistent effort and there should be no screeching or knocking sounds. Try to drive for 15 to 30 minutes to get an accurate feel for the car.

Buying a Used Skoda on eBay

With the large number of sellers offering used cars at competitive prices, eBay is the perfect place to shop for a used Skoda. To find the car that you want, type a phrase, such as "used Skoda Octavia", into the search field, which can be found on every page, to see the items available for sale. Narrow your search by choosing the most suitable category and item characteristics. For more control over your search, use the advanced search function.

Before You Buy on eBay

Before buying on eBay, evaluate the item and the seller. Click on an individual listing to visit the item listing page where you can find additional details, such as the full item description, images of the item, buying options, the seller's accepted payment methods, and the seller's feedback details. Look for local sellers to make it easier to perform physical checks on the vehicle before buying it. If you have any questions about a listing, contact the seller by clicking the "Ask a question" link.

Click on the number next to the seller's username to view a specific seller's feedback information. This is where you can see what other buyers have to say about a seller's products and customer service. Take the number and type of items sold previously into account when viewing this information.

Conclusion

Buying a used Skoda is a great way to save money on a reliable car. Doing adequate research is key when buying any used vehicle. In addition to common problems and the car's market value, research running, taxation, and repair costs, as well as the availability of spare parts. Always research individual models to gain a clear picture of what to expect in terms of known issues.

Buyers that are not confident when it comes to checking cars for mechanical and other faults should enlist the help of more knowledgeable friends or family when inspecting cars, or contact a mechanic. Always check the paperwork and a vehicle history check is recommended before buying. Check for signs or wear and tear, obvious damage, mechanical faults, and indications that the car has been involved in an accident.

Fortunately, used Skodas have an excellent reputation, as they are relatively inexpensive to repair. If repairs or maintenance are required, ask the seller to adjust his or her asking price to take this into account. eBay sellers offer a range of used Skodas at competitive prices.

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