The higher the number of previous owners a vehicle has had, the less valuable the vehicle will appear to buyers like you. At least, so the general rule of thumb goes.
There are likely to be classic cars and collector’s cars that don’t devaluate so much, as these have different stores of value to buyers (in other words, the value of the car isn’t affected by higher numbers of previous keepers).
If you are looking to buy a vehicle that has had multiple previous owners then you may wish to ask the vendor exactly how many appear on the V5 logbook, and verify this against a data check. If the numbers seriously mismatch, then this might be a red flag.
How do I check the number of previous keepers?
With a vehicle owner check (previous keeper check) from FreeCarCheck, we will verify the exact number of previous owners any car, van or motorbike has had, according to several sources. This can reassure you that the logbook details are correct or highlight that it may have been stolen or cloned if something is amiss.
We source our data from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) when conducting a car owner check. Our report provides highly accurate information, so you can verify that it matches the information provided by the seller.
The car owner checks that we do at FreeCarCheck come included as standard with our Premium report, which is the cheapest fully-featured data check online. Why pay more?
How many previous keepers is too many?
This really depends on the age of the vehicle.
For example, if the vehicle is a “classic” and is 25 years old, then it’s obviously much more likely to have a higher number of keepers, than a vehicle that is only 3 years old.
Generally, in the UK, an owner will keep their car for an average of about 71 months, or 6 years, but this is just a guide.
With the advent of vehicle finance and PCP, the average length of ownership per vehicle is decreasing all the time – given that just under 80% of all new cars are sold on PCP finance now in 2019, and the average term is 34 months (just under 3 years), you can expect the average number of keepers to increase generally over time. Why? Because people are keeping their cars for less time than previously.
In days of old, the common method to buy a car was cash, but now that easy borrowing and low interest rates are all the rage, the car industry has gotten in on the act, so much so that more new cars are sold on finance than are sold cash (outright purchase) – by a factor of 5.