Things to Check When Buying a Second Hand Electric Car

If you’re considering buying a second hand electric car, then you should check a few things before committing to buying and handing over your money. By taking your time to consider these things, you’re more likely to end up with a vehicle that suits your personal needs. Plus, you won’t have any expensive and nasty surprises later down the road.

Is the battery leased?

Some electric cars initially came with batteries that were leased from the manufacturer to make them cheaper to purchase. When buying this type of electric vehicle, you would pay to own the rest of the car but lease out the most expensive part, the battery. If you buy an electric car with a leased battery, you will have to pay for the lease each month. Make sure you check that you’re buying ownership of the car battery before committing.

Look at warranties

Each electric vehicle manufacturer has a different warranty on the car and the battery. Before buying, you need to check how many miles or years are left on each of the warranties. Some manufacturers will replace or repair the battery if you see a dip in performance after so many miles or years. If the battery is still within this warranty and in good condition, the vehicle is a better investment compared to a car that's out of the battery warranty period. The most expensive component in an electric car is the battery, so if a warranty protects it, you’re less likely to have to spend thousands of pounds on more fixes.


You should always test drive any car before purchasing; if the seller is unwilling to let you test drive, walk away from the negotiation. During the test drive, you should make sure the brakes are in good condition. When it's safe to do so, firmly press the brake to see how far the car travels after contact with the pedal. If you have concerns about the brakes in the vehicle, then ask the garage or seller for more information or clarification on when the brake pads are due to be changed.

Service history

All cars should come with a service history; this will show you if the car you’re buying has been taken care of by the owner. Go through the service history to make sure it has been filled in correctly each year and has been serviced by a reputable garage, ideally the manufacturer garage. If there are any gaps in the service history, you should question this with the seller.

Listen for issues

When you buy a second hand electric car in the UK, the dealer or seller should give you the chance to test the car before buying. A critical thing you need to do when buying any vehicle is to listen for any unusual noises during your test drive. Question any unusual sounds coming from the car and walk away from the deal if you suspect there are significant problems. If you have a close friend or family member with knowledge and experience of electric vehicles, you could ask them nicely to accompany you on your test drive. Having someone with you with more knowledge can help you make a more informed decision about whether you should purchase the vehicle or not.

Look at several options

When choosing a vehicle, you should always look around and avoid buying the first one you see. Take your time and assess what is currently available to purchase and how the vehicles compare against each other. Testing a few options will give you the best indication of the right vehicle for your needs. It can be frustrating and time-consuming to purchase any car, but it is worth the effort and time because you will be using that car frequently for at least a year on most occasions.

If you’re ever unsure about purchasing a vehicle from a private seller, then walk away, there are many options available on the market, and it often isn’t worth the risk. When purchasing from a used car dealership, look online at their reviews and carefully study their warranties and anything else they provide before committing to your purchase.