How to Buy a Used Car
Mar 17, 2018
One of the dangers of buying a used car is one can get confused because of all the different things that you will need to check to ensure you are getting the best deal. Most of us tend to give the vehicle a physical check and then we decide whether or not to buy the car. The truth is there is much more to it than this. Some of us get auction fever and end up paying more than we should while others make the mistake of going out of town to look for a nice used car. Here are four things to look out for:
- Checking the car’s body and structure
- Inspecting the vehicle under the hood
- Checking the interiors of the vehicle
- Test driving the vehicle
Buy a car you are familiar with
The right way of buying a used car is to first be familiar with the vehicle you intend on buying. So, people who have always owned and driven pickup trucks will do well to steer clear of fancy cars because they probably do not know enough about those vehicles. When checking a vehicle, make sure its mileage agrees with the Carfax figures and also check the odometer records to see if everything matches up. When looking at the mileage, keep in mind that cars that are well maintained can go for hundred thousand plus miles without having any hidden issues. A low mileage on the other hand can signify some problems.
Checking the car’s body and structure
Do a physical check
When performing a physical checkup of the vehicle, make sure it is positioned evenly on the surface as this allows you to notice whether any part of the vehicle is sagging. As for paint, make sure you check it carefully and note down places where there are dents or rust spots and scratches. The paint should be clear and visible. If there are signs of waviness on the side of the vehicle, you know it has been painted over.
Check the paint
Look for signs of rusting and also check the body for dents and scratches. Ideally, choose a car whose paint is in good condition and whose body is not straight from end to end. Also, check for signs of roughness on the joints between panels. If there is roughness, then s indicates some leftover from masking tape.
Check the trunk
Be sure to open the trunk. If it is not in good condition or if it looks rusty or has signs of water entering the trunk, then you probably should not buy such a car. The amount of wear within the trunk indicates how much it has been used. After checking the trunk, take a close look at the tires, which should show signs of even wear. The surface of the tire should be inspected to see whether the tires on the vehicle are properly aligned. If they are not, then this shows that maybe the steering has worn out or there are problems with the suspension.
Inspect the tires
If the tires on the vehicle look unevenly worn, hen this shows either poor alignment of worn steering and/or suspension.
Damaged cars are not worth buying
Always check the fenders to see if they have been replaced or realigned. These signs should prevent you from buying the damaged vehicle.
Look at the exhaust and check for rust under the body
Run your fingers along the exhaust and then switch on the engine to see if white vapor is emitted. If it is, and it is not winter, then this is not a good sign.
Inspect the vehicle under its hood
There should not be any denting or damage or rust under the hood of the vehicle. Such signs indicate the car was not well maintained and should raise a red flag.
Look at the hoses and belt
Neither the hoses nor the belt should have any cracks and the radiator hose should be hard and not soft.
Look under the hood
It also is a good idea to check the vehicle beneath its hood. If there is dents or damage or rusting, then this shows neglect and poor care of the vehicle. Be sure to check the hoses and the belts do not have cracks or softness. The engine should also not have any signs of leakage or corrosion. If there is foam residue on the inside of the oil filler cap, it shows the head gasket has been leaking.
Check the engine
The engine needs to be checked thoroughly. Obviously, you don’t want to purchase a used car whose engine does not run cleanly or which has a leak. Be sure to ask the seller for maintenance records and go through these records carefully. If there were plenty of regular oil changes, then this signifies a problem and you should be wary about buying such a used car.
Inspect the oil filler cap
Check to see if the gasket head is leaking. Any foam residue on the inside will help you identify signs of leaking head gaskets. If you see this, then look for another car to buy.
Inspect the dipstick
When checking the transmission dipstick, make sure the fluid is either pink colored or red. If it is dark, then it shows something is wrong.
Inspect the timing belt
The timing belt is very important part of the engine and will cost a lot of money to replace. So, make sure when you check the timing belt that it does not require replacing. Typically, this belt is good for between sixty thousand to one hundred thousand miles.
Check the interior of the vehicle
Look at the interiors
The seats and upholstery need to be free of tears and rips as well as stains and damage.
Does the Air conditioner work?
Switch on the air conditioner to see if it cools the vehicle properly.
Check the car’s mileage
You can judge the age of a vehicle by looking at its odometer. Most cars are driven for between 10000 and 15000 miles a year. Even cars with low mileage but which are ten years or older may not always be the best buy. Cars normally age by time as well as by mileage.
Check if the car has an onboard computer
You should check the car for faults by using a computer, which can be purchased for a low price at any auto store. If the car has an onboard computer, check to see if it is displaying any errors.
Check the lights and see if they are all functioning
Be sure to check the vehicle’s lights and sensors for parking to see if everything electrical is working.
Check suspension and shocks
Suspension and shocks, if not in good condition, can set you back quite a lot of money. If the vehicle has high mileage, then there is a strong possibility that the suspension needs some repair. So, factor in this when checking the vehicle.
Beware of water damage
Water damage is another issue that you need to check for carefully. If there is mud beneath the seats or in the trunk, then this is a red flag. If the interiors have the smell of mold, there is a strong chance the vehicle has been submerged under water. You should never buy a car that has been flooded.
Frame should be straight
Be sure to also check the frame of the vehicle to see if it has ever been damaged. The saddle, which is the place that connects the front fenders and which also holds the car’s radiator may be welded. If there are scratch marks on the bolt heads, then this shows the fenders have either been replaced or realigned following a crash.
Test drive the vehicle
Finally, before buying a used car, take it for a test drive. These are some of the things you need to look out for when buying a used car.
Check the brakes to see if they are working
Drive the vehicle at about 30 mph and apply the brakes. If the care does not vibrate when breaking or if it does not make squealing or strange noises, then the brakes are probably working ok.
Does the vehicle show signs of trepidation?
Be sure to look for slight trepidation at various speeds. If there is trepidation, then it shows the engine is worn out.
Look at the vehicle’s service history
be sure to check the vehicle’s service history to see how well it has been maintained. Try to ask the owner whether the vehicle has been involved in an accident or has otherwise given trouble.
Ask someone who knows cars to check the vehicle with you
It always pays to get a second and trusted opinion. So, when inspecting the vehicle, ask someone who knows cars to accompany so that you can get a second opinion. Alternatively, pay a mechanic to check the vehicle with you.
Don’t pay the asking price
If everything looks right after your inspection, you can then bargain for a decent price and if the seller agrees to it, you can go ahead and purchase your used car.
Note down all the faults you found with the vehicle
Finally, note down the faults in the vehicle and check how much it would cost to repair the vehicle. After you get this piece of information, you can decide whether or not to buy the vehicle.
A problem that often occurs during the process of buying used cars is the fact that practically one does not have an idea of what they are buying. Revs Check
is a fine method to get access to factual accounts of the car that you are looking to buy.