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What to Consider Before Buying a Second Hand Electric Car

What to Consider Before Buying a Second Hand Electric Car

Designed for cleaner air zones, reduced maintenance costs and zero emissions, electric cars haven’t been around very long, which means there may not be an impressive variety of choice. As more and more car manufacturers are releasing newer models which are electric, we begin to see a rise of second-hand purchases for buyers who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford an electric car from brand new.


Similar to any car you buy, if you’re looking at buying an electric car second hand, you’ll need to take a few things into consideration. Particularly as many buyers may not feel confident with buying an electric car for the first time, let alone spending tens of thousands on a brand new electric car straight off of the belt. 


You should also know that unlike petrol or diesel cars, you won’t be able to check the oil levels or coolant levels, due to there being fewer moving parts. Unfortunately, this means that many people are unaware of what to look out for when buying second hand.


To give you the confidence you might need to invest in an electric car, we have listed everything you will need to consider before making a purchase.

A Full Service History (FSH)

With any second-hand car, you must take a look at the service history in order to understand how the vehicle has been maintained by the previous owner. This is no different for an electric car which will need all regular updates and upgrades, which will only be done with every vehicle service.


Electric cars are significantly cheaper to service as there are fewer parts to replace and the engine is more simple to maintain. You should consider where to take your electric vehicle for a service, as this can surprisingly be very niche. You may have problems finding a garage that will service an electric car, as a regular mechanic may not have the required experience.

Charging Capacity

Every electric model will have a different charging capacity, which depends on the size of the battery and the speed of the charging point. This means that some electric cars may take 30 minutes for a full charge, whereas others may take up to 12 hours. The bigger your car’s battery and the slower the charging point, the longer it will take to charge from empty to full.


The charging capacity of an electric car can depend on a number of factors, including the size and condition of the battery, the maximum charging rate and also environmental factors. As an example, cooler temperatures may result in an electric vehicle taking slightly longer to charge.


Whilst the battery is the most valuable component in an electric car, it can sometimes cost more to replace than the car itself. This is why most electric vehicles will come with a separate warranty for the battery which lasts longer than the vehicle warranty. Most battery warranties will last around eight years, whereas some can be five, or even less/more, so it’s worth finding this out before dedicating yourself to one make and model.


When buying a second-hand electric car, you should find out the condition of the battery and its health, so it may make more sense to visit the car when it is fully charged. 


Some models, such as the Renault Zoe, will allow their customers to lease the battery separately from the vehicle, making it more affordable in the long run. This also means that if and when the battery does need replacing, it won’t burn a hole in your wallet as the battery will be replaced with no additional charges or fees.

Suspension Arms

Electric cars are much heavier than a standard petrol or diesel car due to the weight of the battery. However, this does add more pressure to the suspension of the car and can result in the suspension arms being worn out slightly easier if the vehicle hasn’t been driven very well.


When test driving a second-hand electric car, look closely at the steering and handling, also paying attention to any rattles or thumps when driving over speed bumps.


Electric cars use their friction brakes far less aggressively than regular petrol or diesel cars. The rear brakes can seize up as they are only used under extreme braking. As a result, you should take a look at the condition of the brakes when viewing a second-hand electric vehicle and check that they haven’t begun to seize up.


The great news is that brakes last much longer on electric vehicles and need replacing around every 45,000 miles, compared to standard petrol and diesel vehicles which typically require new brakes every 15,000 miles.


We also recommend carrying out an MOT history check to see if the brakes were mentioned in any advisories.

Home Charging

Electric vehicle charging can be inconvenient if you’re planning on driving the vehicle regularly, so for this reason, you may want to consider investing in a home charger to charge up the electric vehicle whilst it’s on the driveway.


To get the most back from your electric vehicle, you will want to charge it overnight or whilst you are busy, rather than waiting for some time for it to charge up at a garage or in a car park.


Electric cars are often compared to a mobile phone. You will sometimes need to give the car a quick ‘top-up’ of charge, but you should really leave it to charge overnight for maximum power.

On-Board Electronics

As most electric cars are very modern and are often fitted with savvy electronics to make driving easier and to offer luxury features, you will want to check all onboard electrics are working, as well as the infotainment services too.

HPI Check

With any second-hand car you purchase, you should complete an HPI check to ensure that the vehicle isn’t stolen, hasn’t been in any accidents or that there is no outstanding finance on the vehicle. Whilst many used-car dealers will do this HPI check for you, others may not.


The HPI check also checks to see if there are any anomalies in the vehicle records that you may want to be aware of, such as vehicle registration plate changes or any concerns with the vehicle mileage.

Why Choose Us?

Here at Parklands Motors, we pride ourselves in making your buying process easy and hassle-free. For your peace of mind, all of our vehicles come with a minimum of 8 months MOT, up to date service, and also go through a rigorous 85-point pre-delivery inspection prior to the collection/delivery of the vehicle. 

Contact us today for more information on our cars and services.