HPI Check

The car check provides you the information that’s been recorded against a second hand vehicle in the UK and Ireland.

What’s covered on a standard check?

  • Outstanding finance
  • Insurance wright off and/or total loss (Category A, B, C or D)
  • Mileage discrepancies
  • Stolen car check
  • Number of previous owners
  • VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) checks
  • Import/export

Cost £19.99. HPI Check includes a £30,000 car data guarantee (very helpful should HPI’s data be inconsistent).
Use my code ( UCG12 ) for a discount.


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Use UCG12 for an exclusive HPI discount

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Total Car Check from HPI

Run a vehicle check

HPI Limited, (HPI and HPI Check are trademarks of HPI Limited,) began trading in 1938. Used Car Guy is a partner and advocate of HPI.

When buying a used car there is a fee of £19.99 that I regard as the most important money you can spend on used cars. Prior to buying a second hand motor I recommended that you run your own HPI Check.

Do not rely on a dealer check or an old certificate the private owner has from when they first purchased the car. It’s tricky to know what a car has endured between checks; accidents, clocking, resprays and monies outstanding from a finance agreement, to name a few.

For £19.99, a reputable car check can save you thousands of pounds and a lot of time/stress.


image of a man with a magnifying glass whilst investigating a used car


Under the information provided

So let’s run through the vital components of your HPI Check

Begin by entering the vehicle registration number and mileage. From here you’ll get lots of information but let’s focus on the areas that potentially cost you time and money.


1. Outstanding Finance

This is critical. If you buy a car with outstanding finance (and the owner doesn’t settle the balance before you actually own the car) such as Hire Purchase, Lease Contract Hire or PCP (Personal Contract Hire) you will lose ownership of the car unless you pay off the outstanding balance. But in almost all cases you will simply lose the car and any money you spent buying it.

There are always varying circumstances with car financing but the overarching theme is that you will lose time and money, but most likely both.

If the vehicle check shows up with money being owed via a “Stocking Loan” or “Demonstration Stocking” it simply means the car is financed by an outside finance company.

Basically, the dealer doesn’t own the car. It belongs to the finance company but the dealer is the seller. These kinds of loans are very common from companies like Black Horse Finance and Moto Novo. Dealers are usually given 90 days to sell the car else the finance company will take the car back and enter it through auction.

Talk it over with your dealer, check their liability and get confirmation in writing that the stock loan financing will be cleared on the vehicle before you buy it. If you have any further worries regarding this just drop me an email and I will help.

But the bottom line is, don’t take risks. If the car is showing up with finance owed, whether that be a dealer, a private sale or some other arrangement, don’t buy the car until the used car check is cleared or you have a written confirmation.


2. Stolen Vehicles

Car checker services reveal 40 stolen cars every single day! HPI gather information from the Police National Register for each query carried out. This means that the vehicle remains the property of the individual or organisation from whom it was taken.

If your car checks flag up a stolen vehicle just walk away (and call the Police.).


Importance of running an HPI Car Check before buying a used car


3. Written Off

This is a term for a vehicle that has been declared a total loss by an insurer following accident damage or theft. It’s true that some written off cars can be allowed back on the road provided they have undergone certain car checks.

Category ‘A’ or ‘B’ write-offs must never reappear on the road, whilst ‘C’ and ‘D’ may do so following proper repair, passing an independent Autolign-approved structural examination.

Tip: The most important element to buying a used car is knowing if that car has been involved in accidents. Cars suffer huge impacts that can result in chassis bends, broken suspension arms, split seals, ruptured shock absorbers and the list goes on and on.

Unless you are willing to spend an immeasurable amount of money on a car that’s suffered accident damage it would make no sense buying one.

Run your car check

In fact, if you were to buy an accident damaged car you’d want it to be one that has undergone all the proper independent Autolign-approved structural examinations that come from a resulting category C or D insurance total loss. This way you will know that the car is roadworthy.


free hpi check image


The Shocking Truth that nobody knows.

Vehicle history checks cannot tell you about every accident a car may have suffered. More on this in a moment…


4. Mileage Problems/Discrepancies

HPI Total Car Check use the the National Mileage Register to search around 6 million records. It provides the best intelligence available to protect against clocking and will help you decide whether the car that’s showing a mileage of 46,000 may have actually covered 146,000 miles.


check car history image


1 in 12 cars has a mileage discrepancy. This is a massive statistic and if a car dealership has 100 cars for sale, statistically, 10 of those have a black cloud hanging over them. That means the car YOU are looking at might have been clocked!

Clocking (also known in the motor trade as a “hair cut”) is turning back mileage or replacing the odometer, with the intention of increasing the value of a car and deceiving subsequent purchasers. Believe me, I have heard many a car dealer brag at their exaggerated profits through car clocking campaigns.

It’s a common trick to deceive you and increase the resell value of a car. The average car travels 10k a year so use this as a starting point.

Most car checking services will show you other information such as Plate Transfers, CO2 Ratings and other Vehicle Identity information, but what I’ve listed above is the essential data you must find out.


Vehicle Check


What a Vehicle History Car Check Does NOT Tell You

If your car check is clean and the vehicle is free from major accident damage (category C or D insurance total loss) you’ll probably think you’re fine to go ahead and buy the car.

However, just because a car hasn’t suffered an “insurance write off accident” does NOT mean the car has never suffered an accident or series of accidents.

Car check services only provide you with information that’s actually been recorded against the vehicle.

They cannot tell you about any accidents a car may have suffered that haven’t been recorded! Many of today’s drivers would prefer to repair a car outside of their insurance company to safeguard their no claims bonus.

It’s good to also realise that accidents that don’t result in insurance write off’s can be as damaging to a car’s integrity as a major Category total loss! Car’s are made up of hundreds of different parts and it’s extremely easy for any car to suffer a bent chassis, suspension arms ruptures, CV joints damage ETC. Your car check doesn’t tell you this kind of information.

This applies to any vehicle on the road today and 2 in every 3 cars on the road in the UK have suffered some kind of accident damage (minor or major accidents.)

What this means for you is continued uncertainty despite running your own vehicle check. But there are ways of telling if a car has had accident repairs and/or replacement panels.


Click here to run the check



HPI Check Reviews From Trust Pilot

hire purchase investigation company reviews
car check review from Trust Pilot
Review source: Trust Pilot

So, running your own Vehicle Check is very important but there are limits to the information it holds about any used car in the UK.

If your planning to buy a used car but feel a little uncertain about the process you will be interested in my exclusive Private Members Area. Inside you’ll find a thorough mini video series and full car buyers text guide. Members Area is my premium service and contains a step by step guide to buying a used car that’s genuine, reliable and excellent value for money. Click here to visit Members Area.

Related articles for car background investigation:

How to run a full MOT History Check and ensure the car you buy is genuine mileage and won’t cost you unnecessary money on its next MOT.
MOT History

Seemingly unknown information about the previous owners of a car. This free check is an essential part of my car buying process.
Vehicle Owner Check

Another free check that takes ten minutes but potentially saves you time and money. Again, I never buy a used car without carrying out a thorough service history check.
Check Service History

An alternative to other vehicle check services. Instant Car Check is less expensive than RAC, AA or HPI but you need to buy the correct package to ensure you are fully covered. This article shows you exactly how to do it.
Instant Car Check Review

Finally, mobile mechanic services have grown in popularity over recent years. Here I review one of the leading mobile car servicing companies in the UK, ClickMechanic.
Mobile Mechanic Near Me

The Used Car Guy


What is HPI Limited?
HPI is the oldest vehicle history checking organisation in the UK and was founded in 1938. The company was created to help car buyers make a wise purchase. It’s primary purpose was to prevent private buyers from purchasing a car that had outstanding finance (hire purchase HP.) The company was the first of its kind to provide such a service.

What is an HPI check?
The car check produces a vehicle specific report on a cars history. A vehicle check can uncover if: – A vehicle has any outstanding finance on it including hire purchase, lease purchase and personal contract hire. There are disastrous consequences for car buyers as outstanding finance agreements and debts are legally binding and will transfer directly to the new car owner. 

How does it work?
After entering a vehicle registration number and mileage into the HPILimited database a search is carried out using a variety of sources including: – DVLA (Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency), SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders, The National Police Register, The Association of British Insurers and other finance companies. 

What does it cover?
The company car check confirms specific vehicle information and provides insurance if a vehicle has been stolen at any time after 8 hours of running a check and the check alert did not highlight the illegal status.

What’s the best car checking service?
Vehicle history check services are a growing industry but HPI is the longest standing car check experts and carry a long tradition of serving car buyers since 1938.

What does HPI stand for?
HPI Check stands for Higher Purchase Investigation. 

How much does it cost for a HPI Check?
One check is £19.99. Three checks are £29.97


UCG Previous Owners Check

UCG Service History Check

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