Buying & Selling, MOT History
Car servicing bay

Your car’s MoT history

When you’re looking at buying a second-hand car you want to home in on one that’s been cherished. One where the owner has kept on top of the routine servicing and really lavished plenty of love and attention. Do your homework and it’s not all that hard to find such cars; ones with detailed service histories and invoices an inch thick.

However, at the other end of the spectrum are the cars that have been run on a shoestring. They’re the cars that are nursed from one MoT to the next with a minimum of cash spent on them, and as a result MoT time tends to be a bit expensive.

Imagine how useful it would be to be able to glimpse into a car’s past. Ideally into its MoT history so you can see whether it has sailed through each time, or if every year it’s had to be patched up to gain a pass, while still staring down the barrel of a long list of advisories as the certificate is issued.

Well now you can see into a car’s MoT history, because when you take out an HPI check on a car this is now one of the many pieces of information that’s included in the report. To get an idea of the kind of information that’s included and how it’s presented, take a closer look at the sample HPI Check.

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Used Car Scams

Common V5C scams

Your car’s registration document, or V5C, is a summary of its details and history along with its owners. It’s a print-out of what information is held on your car at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

The V5C is one of the most important documents when buying or selling a car, but it logs only who is the registered keeper – and they may be different from the legal owner. Since October 2002 it has been illegal to sell a car without a valid V5C, so don’t ever accept an excuse that it has been lost as you can apply for a replacement  easily enough.

When buying a car, the registered keeper should be the person you are buying from, and the VIN, or chassis number, should be the same as the one on the car. Because the V5C is a summary of the car’s details on the DVLA database, there are a few scams that can catch you out, often when you’re buying a car.

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Used Car Buyer's guide
used car

Where will buyers find the real deal?

HPI warn drivers that money isn’t everything when buying a used car

Many used car buyers are tempted to buy from the place they feel is giving them the best financial deal, but the initial saving may end up costing a whole lot more down the line. HPI, provider of the HPI Check® is warning buyers to do their research and understand fully the level of protection each option offers when it comes to deciding where to buy their next pride and joy. Buying from a dealer, an auction or privately all have their benefits, but it’s important to also consider the risks.

Buying Privately

Buying privately is often where some of the greatest bargains can be found, but in return, the buyer’s legal rights are more limited than when buying from the motor trade. Even though cars being sold privately are required to be advertised accurately, it’s important to look out for any vague statements which could be masking something sinister.

Unscrupulous private sellers will often arrange to take the car to the buyer’s home or meet in a neutral place such as car park or layby.  Buyers must not be fooled by this trick; always ask to meet at the seller’s home address and check that their address is detailed on the log book, proving that they are the vehicle’s registered keeper.      Read more

Buying Advice, Cloned, News Articles

Cloning gang caught tricking used car buyers out of millions

HPI urges consumers to protect themselves from fraud with a vehicle history check

Alarm bells should be ringing for used car buyers, as police arrest a gang of organised criminals* running a “highly sophisticated” car cloning ring, warns HPI, the provider of the HPI Check®. The six fraudsters were arrested in Leeds, Bradford and Bournemouth in connection with the theft and cloning of a staggering 180 vehicles in a scam worth £2million.

Car cloning is the equivalent of identity fraud – criminals steal a car and give it a new identity copied from a similar make and model vehicle already on the road. The criminal disguises the unique 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the stolen car and uses a stolen V5/logbook to try to legitimise its identity, fooling innocent buyers into parting with their money.

HPI offers four simple steps to help consumers avoid falling into the traps set by used car criminals:

  • One… Buyers should always make sure they view the car at the registered keepers address (as shown on the V5/logbook).
  • Two… Know the car’s market value. If a buyer is are paying less than 70% of the market price for a vehicle, they need to be on their guard.
  • Three… Never pay for the car in cash, particularly if the car is costing more than £3,000.
  • .. Check the vehicle’s V5/logbook. Stolen V5 documents are still being used to accompany cloned vehicles.

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Advice and Tips, Buying & Selling
buying a used car

To buy or not to buy? : The answer could be in the paperwork

HPI’s Guide to Helping Used Car Buyers Avoid the Paperwork Pitfall


After searching for that dream car, many buyers are all too eager to seal the deal and hand over their hard earned money. But, says vehicle history check expert HPI, it’s vital to look beyond the shiny paintwork and high spec interior to avoid being caught out. Having the correct paperwork present when looking at the car will provide buyers with peace of mind, but it’s crucial to know exactly what to look for.  HPI, provider of the HPI Check®, is helping buyers spot any early warning signs that the car may be a lemon in disguise, with its Paperwork Checklist.

V5C (Logbook)

HPI warns consumers not to buy a car without a V5C – otherwise known as a logbook – and make sure it’s genuine by looking for the DVLA watermark which can be seen when holding it up to the light.  If there’s no V5C to hand, a new one can be applied for, but buyers should ask themselves and the seller why it isn’t available. If it’s been mislaid, ideally the vendor should have applied for a replacement before selling.

Whilst the V5C tells buyers how many owners the car has had and who it’s registered to, it’s important to note that the person listed isn’t necessarily the legal owner of the car, simply the person to whom any fines will be sent.  Buyers and sellers alike are also warned that not telling the DVLA of a change in vehicle ownership is an offence.


From three years after the date of first registration, all cars need an MoT roadworthiness check.  It’s important to check the historical mileage reading for each year of its MOT test, not just the current reading, as this should paint a consistent picture of the vehicle’s increasing mileage over the car’s life.  In addition, an MOT certificate will only tell buyers that the car met the test requirements on the particular day when the test was done, so it’s important buyers don’t rely on the MOT as an indicator of the vehicle’s current general mechanical condition.

With all information now logged centrally, buyers can easily check if a vehicle’s MoT is valid by entering the vehicle registration and make online at  Without a valid MoT, a car can’t be taxed – and therefore can’t be insured. Read more

Advice and Tips, Buying & Selling
Classic cars

Should I buy a classic car?

The question is simple; should you buy a classic car, or not? But the answer (unsurprisingly) is far more complex. What constitutes a classic car? What will you be using it for? What’s your budget? Why are you considering one? Will this be your sole means of transport?

For some people a classic car makes huge sense – while for others it would be nothing but a liability. Here’s how to work out whether buying a classic is likely to lead to tears of joy or tears of despair…

What is a classic car?

The parameters have shifted massively over the last few years, with some cars considered classics before they’ve barely gone out of production. Obvious candidates include the Mazda MX-5, Honda S2000, Porsche Boxster and a whole raft of other sportscars with enthusiastic owners’ clubs.

With a superb 1990s MX-5 or early Boxster, Audi TT or S2000 available for less money than a mint 1960s MGB, it’s no wonder interesting newer cars have such a following. They’re arguably more usable, more comfortable and better equipped – and generally safer too. To some they don’t have as much charisma, but if you want to enjoy the thrill of the open road they tick most (or even all) of the key boxes.

Turn up at a classic car show in something interesting made within the last 20 years and you’ll probably fit in fine. But for guaranteed acceptance within the classic car fraternity, you need to buy something built at least 40 years ago, with lots of chrome and the strength of a shopping trolley. Only you can work out whether something so old would fit into your life, but whether it’s your sole transport or just a weekend toy will probably be the deciding factor.

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Industry News, Press Releases, Write-off

It may be racy, but it’s also risky! Green cars the mostly likely to be stolen, clocked or written off

HPI data reveals green cars the mostly likely to be stolen, clocked or written off

According to new research by the vehicle history check expert, HPI, the colour car that most commonly hits its ‘at risk’ registers is green.  Used car buyers who conduct an HPI Check® on green cars are more frequently told they are either registered as stolen with the police, have a mileage discrepancy that needs investigating, or are recorded as an insurance write-off.  The good news is that green cars are the least likely to hit the outstanding finance register – and 1 in 4 cars checked with HPI has outstanding finance against

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Advice and Tips, Buying & Selling

Motoring terms explained

Modern life is full of jargon which often serves only to confuse. Nowhere is this more evident than in the world of used cars, where misunderstanding an acronym or technical term could land you with a whole heap of trouble. That’s why it’s so important to understand the terminology that’s bandied about.

Here at HPI we have to use all sorts of terms that you might not understand. But read on and you’ll soon see there’s nothing to fear – we’ll soon have you talking like a seasoned car trader.

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Advice and Tips, Buying Advice, Used Car Buyer's guide

Five great used family cars for under £10,000

When you think what the modern mainstream car offers in terms of comfort, refinement, equipment, safety and efficiency, they’re terrific value. However, if new cars offer a lot for the money, used and nearly new cars are even more of a steal. Even the premium brands can’t escape the ravages of depreciation, so if you buy a German car that’s a year or two old, you’ll be getting a car that’s still as good as new but you’ll be getting a hefty discount on it.

But if you’re a bargain seeker your best bet is to avoid buying German because of the premium you pay. Japanese and Korean cars tend to be more reliable and cheaper to buy while French and Italian brands are usually cheaper still, but often not as dependable. For less than £10,000 you’ve got your pick of great family cars, whether you want a crossover, an estate, a hatchback or an MPV. And if you don’t believe us, here’s the proof.

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Advice and Tips, Buying & Selling, Car Maintenance
Car Clocking

Car clocking – don’t get caught out

It’s easy to think of clocked cars as a problem of yesteryear. One that’s been tackled so you no longer need to worry about it. But sadly, nothing could be further from the truth, as one in every 20 cars subjected to an HPI check is found to have been clocked.

Where there’s easy money to be made, crooks will always strike – and with clocking so easy and the rewards potentially so great, it’s no wonder clocking is still such a big issue. So big in fact, that according to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), clocked cars cost the motor industry and consumers more than £100 million each year.

According to used car valuation experts Glass’s, if you’re lucky enough to own a 12-plate BMW 530d SE Touring it’s worth little more than £15,000 with 150,000 miles on the clock. But halve this mileage and the car’s value jumps to just under £20,000. Cut the mileage to just 30,000 and the BMW is worth a whopping £23,000 – a 53 per cent (and £8000) increase over the 150,000-mile car. No wonder clocking is rife.

Last year, one gang of criminals was imprisoned for clocking at least 255 cars, with four million miles being lost in the process. In 2013, a Nottingham-based dealer pocketed over £130,000 by wiping six million miles off 74 used cars that he sold online . With these scams far from unusual, you really need to have your wits about you.

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