If you’re in the market for a car, then the used market might be appealing. It’ll allow you to avoid the worst depreciation, and pick up a quality vehicle for far less. When looking for a used car, a reputable dealer is a must. With that said, buying a used car is not without its risks, especially if you’re buying from a private seller.
To give yourself the best chance of emerging from the other side of the purchase without a bad taste in your mouth, it’s worth performing a few checks. If you’re buying a car for personal use, you should always check the car in person to determine that it’s fit for purchase. Photographs can be misleading.
Let’s take a look at what a few of the more important checks might look like.
Check The Engine
You should open up the hood and take a look at the engine before you part with any money. You’ll be able to get a fairly good idea of the state of the engine from just a short glance. If you can see any visible oil leaks, or smell burned oil, then you should exercise extreme caution. Coolant leaks, dirty oil, or performance-enhancing modifications should also be considered grounds for a closer inspection.
It might be that you can negotiate a lower price, especially if it looks like you’re going to have to spend money fixing the engine. If you find that you’re uneasy about the state of the car, it’s usually best to trust the instinct and walk away from it.
Your new car should be accompanied by a few key items of paperwork. These demonstrate the history of the vehicle, and that everything is above board. These include registration documents, MOT certificates, and the VIN number. Check these details using the government’s website. Everything should match with everything else, including the number on the front of the vehicle. Find out when the vehicle was manufactured and released. This will not only allow you to spot any dishonesty; it’ll also give you a strong idea of what the appropriate price should be.
Upholstery And Accessories
You should make sure that the interior is in good condition and that the spare tyre is in position. If you find greater levels of wear and tear than the age of the vehicle should suggest, then it might be a sign that it’s been through an ordeal, and that you should look around for an explanation. There’s always the possibility that your seller is being less than honest about the age of the car.
A test-drive will uncover problems that a visual inspection won’t. Pay particular attention to the sound and feel of the gearbox as you work your way from first to fifth. Is the steering responsive, and does the car feel like it’s pulling one way or the other? Don’t be afraid to test drive the car in a variety of road conditions, from suburbs to main roads.