Five Things to Check for When Buying a Used CarJuly 6, 2018
Buying a secondhand car can seem like a daunting task. How can you be sure to buy a bargain that won’t fail you as soon as you get 10 miles down the road? Buying cheap doesn’t necessarily mean you are buying a bargain. With the cost of spare parts and repairs, especially on some older vehicles, you can very quickly end up doubling your initial purchase price or more.
If you know a little bit about fixing cars yourself, then you can take slightly more of a punt and see the purchase as a long term investment. After all, it is often labor fees that end up costing the earth. If you are looking for a great secondhand car to use as your daily runaround, however, simply follow these five steps to help you to buy with confidence.
Check the Paperwork When buying a secondhand car, the first port of call should be the paperwork. If the seller does not have any paperwork, then the car is probably stolen. Paperwork will also give you an indication of what problems the car has had in the past, as all receipts for work done to it should be kept. Check the service record to see how well taken care of it has been. If the car has had extensive work done (for example if a new clutch, drive shaft or gear box has been put in) this may seem negative, but it does mean these parts are new.
Check when the car’s MOT and tax is up for renewal, as these could be good details to use to help negotiate on the price if they expire soon. If it has just recently passed through an MOT, then the chances are it is at least in reasonable nick.
Check the Engine Perhaps the most important thing to check in a vehicle is the engine. Do this by taking a half an hour test drive around a variety of roads that allow you to test the vehicle in different driving modes: at speed, braking and in each gear. Be sure to get out of the car and test all lights and indicators to check they are fully operational. Make sure you see this with your own eyes or take someone along who can help.
Check on the speedometer how many miles the car has driven and how often it has been serviced. If it has been regularly serviced and not had too many previous owners, it is probably in good condition even if it has done 80,0000 miles. Be conscious that petrol cars have a shorter life than diesel cars. Test the Brakes Having brakes in good working order is a legal requirement. Be sure to test both the handbrake and the foot brake independently. You can do this by doing a hill start with the handbrake on. The car should be held in position with no rolling backwards. The foot brake should be responsive as soon as you press on it. It should not feel spongy or slow to respond
aware of Rust Check the bodywork of the car for any signs of rust. Check if rust has been repaired at all on the bodywork and how well this has been performed. It anything looks a bit dodgy it is likely the rust will return. If a car has spent a lot of its life in a coastal area, rust will, of course, be far more likely.
Check the Typestyle’s should be well inflated, with a tread of at least 1.6mm in the center. There should be no bulging, slashes or bald patches. The hub caps should be in good condition, fixed firmly to the wheel. Look under the wheel arches for any signs of rusting on the bodywork not visible on the exterior. Most important is not to rush the purchase, no matter what the seller tells you about other interested buyers. Committing to buying a vehicle is something you should do in full confidence, so don’t allow anyone to rush you. Although it is important to follow your heart when buying something like a car, it is also vital to use your head in order to avoid disappointment.