Things to look for when buying a used electric car

I’ve bought many cars in my life, all of which have undergone a very similar inspection conducted by myself; milky substance on oil filler cap, clutch slipping, cambelt never replaced etc.

But when it comes to buying a used electric car – I can’t test any of those things, because they don’t exist.

So, what should you be looking for when buying a used electric car? Here are a few things you should be checking beyond the usual things when buying any used car.

Battery & car warranty

Beyond safety and working state, the warranty covering the battery is arguably going to be a deciding factor when buying a used electric car.

Ideally, you don’t want to be responsible for replacing a battery within a year or two of owning the car as that’s not a small expense.

Before going ahead and purchasing a car, be sure to find out how much warranty is left on the vehicle and battery, and that it’s transferable. Remember, a warranty could be void if the vehicle has passed the set mileage. For example, a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty could be void after the second year if the vehicle’s mileage is beyond 60,000.

In most cases warranties are transferable, but if an extended warranty or servicing plan is bought then it’s worth double checking. You can double check by calling the manufacturer and asking them.

Battery leasing

The battery for a Renault Zoe isn’t sold as part of the car. Instead, it’s leased from Renault at a monthly cost (around £40). So, if you’re wondering why used Zoë’s are far cheaper than other used EVs, this is why.

It’s an extra cost but it will cover you if the battery needs replacing which would cost thousands.

Does it come with a charging cable?

Most brand new EVs don’t come with a charging cable, and it’s likely that whoever sold the car has gone ahead and bought another EV, meaning it’s unlikely they’re selling the cable they’ve bought for it.

Be sure to find out if a charging cable is included. If it is, great. If it’s not, then it gives you a good option to haggle on price.

The usual checks

Whilst electric cars have fewer moving parts than a traditional combustion engine car, there are still many of the normal things you should be checking. A few of those things are:

  • Are tyres in good condition?
  • Any signs of a collision (dents, scratches etc.)
  • Do all the electrical components work? (radio, windows, AC)
  • Any strange banging/knocking noises when driving?
  • Do the brakes perform as expected?
  • Do all lights work?

If you’re still not sure about the car you’ve got your eye on, then a good idea would be to find an online forum/Facebook group for that specific model and ask people who own the car what they recommend you look out for.

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