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As with many things, buying a used mobility scooter can be a sensible and economical option compared with the cost of a new purchase and are available through shops, not for profit organisations and private sellers.

However, what appears to be available at a bargain price may not turn out to be the best deal if it doesn’t fulfil the buyer’s actual requirements so thorough research is essential.

If you already know which model you want and why, this makes things easier as you are less likely to be tempted by an unsuitable ‘bargain’. It also means that you are more likely to have researched various models and considered them in light of your individual requirements and budget and factored in the extra cost of service and maintenance, breakdown cover and insurance.

If not, consider what you will most likely use your scooter for and where you plan to drive it. Do you want your it for visiting shops and getting about near to where you live? If so, then a lighter scooter designed to be compact and easy to disassemble might be a good option. Or do you intend to travel on pavements and in parks or paths? In that case, you may want to look at more robust scooters designed for outdoor use.

Once you’ve decided what type of mobility scooter you require, you need to decide where to get it from. If you buy from a mobility shop, it is likely to be a trade-in from someone who has upgraded and so it should have received a service and come with a warranty – though this will be shorter than for a new scooter.

Make sure to ask about it’s service history, whether the batteries are new, and how long the warranty lasts.

Buying from a private seller is probably the best chance of finding a bargain in terms of up-front cost but ask for the original documents (and owner’s manual) and check the vehicle number to see whether parts for spares and repair are still available and also to try and verify the vehicle’s age.

In either case, before you go ahead and purchase a used mobility scooter find out the age of the battery and how often it has to be charged. If it needs to be charged twice a day, then it is near the end of its life so make sure you ask. It may still be worth it even with the additional cost of replacement batteries, but you need to consider that before purchase. Similarly, check the tyres for signs of wear and tear because the cost of replacing them may need to be factored in.

Always take it for a test drive if possible as this gives you the opportunity to check the general condition: whether it feels sturdy, and whether there are any suspicious rattles, bumps or loose electrical connections.

Remember that it isn’t a bargain if it doesn’t fulfil your requirements and ends up never being used, but if you do your research, you could make a shrewd purchase.