It’s a common question, but not many people seem to know if it’s okay to buy a former taxi or Uber. And many more will be unknowingly buying one and perhaps would have liked to have known at the time of purchase. But you’ll probably be surprised to learn that most of the more-established vehicle check companies like HPI Check do NOT check if a vehicle was formerly run as a taxi or Uber (i.e. a private hire vehicle).
So should you be worried, and how can you tell? Read on to find out.
How Can I Tell If I’m Buying an Ex-Taxi?
The short answer is, the only way to tell is to purchase a special “ex taxi check”. FreeCarCheck will shortly offer this as a FREE service as part of our Free report, but until that is ready, you’ll need to buy an ex-taxi vehicle check from somewhere like Vdata.uk. At the time of writing, Experian and HPI Check do not offer any sort of ex-taxi check with any of their packages.
…But Can’t I Tell By Looking At It?
No, probably not. It’s a nice idea – look for beaded seat covers or the smell of vomit, or even a higher than expected mileage, but ultimately none of these are going to be guarantees that the vehicle was previously used as a taxi or Uber.
What are the risk of buying an ex-taxi?
If the dealer or seller knew that they had previously used the vehicle as a taxi then they should tell you, if asked. But most will probably not – and there is no legal requirement to inform the buyer anyway.
It’s possible that buying an ex-taxi is completely risk-free and you may not need to worry, but it’s always best to be informed. In many cases, you could argue the price down before committing to purchase if it has been used previously as a taxi. Why? Because generally the mileage will be higher, and there may be more signs of wear-and-tear which will affect your own resale value when you come to sell it later.
Since smoking has been banned in taxis for a number of years in the UK now, it’s unlikely that newer ex-taxis will smell of smoke. But they may have more engine wear from frequent stopping and starting, and the clutch may have higher wear than you would expect (for similar reasons).
A cautionary note
Taxi history checks come from local councils and local authorities, and approximately 90% of councils DO provide their data to us and other ex-taxi check services – but in other words, 10% of councils do not. Although we strive to make our data as accurate as possible, unfortunately not everyone wants to play ball. Therefore we exclude our ex-taxi and ex-private hire checks from our Data Guarantee.
So it always pays to know what you’re buying – for the sake of £8.75 for a FreeCarCheck Premium report, can you afford not to find out? It could save you one hundred times that!