The short answer to this question is yes. We’re not going to beat about the bush here. If you’re looking for a bargain vehicle the HPI check could be your new best friend.

What is an HPI check? It’s a tool that will make sure you don’t get ripped off when buying a second-hand car or worse, sold a stolen vehicle. 

Head over to the HPI website and enter the registration of the car you want to investigate. You’ll be given a number of different pricing packages for the service based on your needs. If you’re looking at buying a car and have a few contenders then the multi-check is our recommended option, allowing you to check 3 cars within 2 years. 

A Brief History

The HPI check was originally launched in 1938 by a company called Hire Purchase Information – hence the name.

Over the years the type and amount of information has changed and grown. In 1947 it began to include information on stolen vehicles. Now many other organisations such as the RAC and the AA provide equivalent checks, but few are as well-known and widely used as the original. 

How does an HPI Check work? 

In short, the HPI check does all the hard work for you. The company consults with a number of agencies including the DVLA, the police, various financial institutions and regulators and even specific industry bodies. All are public companies that have an interest in working with car support services, very few will work exclusively with HPI. 

When to Get an HPI Check?

Ideally, if you want to be sure about a car’s history and you’re thinking of making a purchase from a dealer or seller you’ve never met before then an HPI check is invaluable. If the seller won’t wait for you to perform the check or if they push you into a purchase, it’s probably not the right move. 

Talk to anyone who’s recently bought a second-hand car and the chances are that they went through with a check. Why? Because even though the check costs money – buying the wrong car, which could be stolen, not properly paid for or even a repurposed write-off could end up leaving you without a vehicle. 

It’s a simple enough equation. 

What Information is contained in the Check?

When you get the HPI check back it will give you so many details you might be a little overwhelmed. Everything that the company provides you with delivers a load more insight into any car, massively helping you make the right buying decision. You’ll get the following facts: 

  • Is the car stolen?

    If the vehicle is stolen it will appear on the National Police Database and will be flagged as wanted pending criminal investigations.

  • Previous owners

    – is the seller claiming one woman owner? Keep them honest with an HPI check, which gives you a complete rundown of the car’s ownership history. 

  • Registration alterations

    – with personalised plates now being such a big thing, you can find out original registrations and use this to track the history. 

  • Fuel efficiency

    – HPI uses a car’s CO2 emissions to calculate the fuel efficiency. From this data the company can project costs over a 12,000 mile stretch. 

  • Road tax costs

    – not only do emissions help with the fuel costs, but they also give a valuable insight into how much road tax you’ll have to pay. 

  • The rough value of the car

    – in 2015 HPI merged with a CAP, a company with considerable expertise in valuing vehicles. It uses factors such as the manufacturer’s specification and the mileage to estimate a price range. 

  • Is there outstanding finance

    – you’d be surprised at how often people try to sell a car they haven’t paid for… According to HPI around 1 in 3 cars that they check are still being paid for through some kind of agreement.

This is a big one and a very important piece of information that all buyers seriously need to consider, or your new used car could end up repossessed.  

  • Written off

    – if the car has been involved in a serious accident or crash, then there’s a chance it might have been written off – and put back on the road as some kind of cut and shut job that will fall to bits at the slightest sign of stress.

  • Imported or exported

    – exported cars should not be run on UK roads. And you may have to question what an exported vehicle is doing back in the UK? Imported cars are a little better, but you’re often looking at increased costs for imported parts too. 

  • MOT status

    – the MOT status plus a lot of other information around the car’s service history is included in the check which could help you make a buying decision. 

  • Colour changes

    – the HPI check will inform you of your car’s original colour. You’ll want to know if it has been changed as a major spray job could be the result of a big crash or impact in the bodywork – telling you a little more about previous owners of the car.

One Woman Owner’s Final Word

There you have it. Hopefully, we’ve made a compelling case for you to get out there and make sure that every car is the full ticket before you purchase. There are plenty of other tests you can perform and we’d always recommend taking a car out for a test drive. Remember however it’s always the guys and women who look trustworthy and try to be your friend that are most likely to be a con job. You can try relying on your wits,  leave it to guesswork or get an HPI check to be certain.  

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