Just because you are not a trained mechanic does not mean that you cannot show some diligence when purchasing a second hand car. Unlike a new vehicle that will still be under warranty and has not seen the wear-and-tear of the road, a used vehicle could have some unseen mechanical or aesthetic issues if not properly inspected. Once you have narrowed down your second hand car list, here is a look at five tips to ensure that you get the best possible vehicle.
1. Where to Check the Car
Where you inspect the vehicle is actually a very important part of this process. Taking a look at a new car in a dark area or on uneven ground could actually mislead you when it comes to aesthetic or mechanical problems. Buyers should give the car a thorough inspection in a sunny or well-lit area on even ground to ensure that the fluids have settled and the tyre pressure is even.
2. The Paint and Body
In most instances, a buyer can look at the paint job and the body of the car and decide if they are okay with its condition. Minor chips or dents around doors are not a big deal for most people, but there are some signs that the vehicle has had major body work or a new paint job. Buyers should look at the sides of the car from one end to the other for any “waves” in the body that could mean the car was in an accident. The doors, hood, and trunk should also shut easily and uniformly without rubbing against metal.
One major tell on a used vehicle is the current condition of the tyres. First, all of the tyres around the vehicle should match and be in the same condition. The tread on the tyres should be uniformly worn down across the width with no visible signs of rubber missing. If there is any feathering of the rubber, different tyres are more worn than others, or the tread is uneven on a single tyre, it can be a sign that the car was not properly maintained or the alignment is out.
Many minor aesthetic issues are easy to take care of, but rust can mean something completely different. When rust takes place it requires much more comprehensive work in order to fix and could be indicative of a vehicle that was not properly cared for or has been used excessively. Buyers should check under the vehicle, in the trunk, along the chassis, and in the engine compartment for rust.
5. Test Drive
The test drive is another important component of inspecting a vehicle after narrowing down your second hand car list. The main concern is that the car operates smoothly and safely. It should turn over immediately once the key is turned with no odd noises or hesitation. While driving, the car should not “pull” in either direction and should carry on in a straight line as long as the wheel is straight. Buyers also want to double check that the transmission changes smoothly and test the windshield wipers, windows, radio, heater, and AC.
Buying a used vehicle is a great way to save a little extra money, but it also comes with some different risks when compared to new cars. These few tips are a great way to guarantee that you are getting the most out of your money no matter the vehicle’s age or condition.