Buying a car is a pleasant and responsible event. An experienced merchant can quickly figure out an inexperienced buyer. It doesn’t matter where you buy the vehicle, at a car dealership, like Rolls Auto Sales, or from your neighbor, the seller will most likely keep quiet about a couple of important faults.
At some point, the lack of basic knowledge while picking up a car on the secondary market can be turned into serious consequences and a hole in the budget. In this article, we will provide you with all the necessary basic information you should be aware of to get maximum benefits from the purchase.
Bear It in Your Mind
First thing first, collecting the information about the chosen car is a crucial point. Forums on the Internet, theme-related articles, and websites can support you in finding the common shortcomings.
It will be an advantage for you to inquire about the cost of service and spare parts in advance. Knowledge is power, and the buyer will be more aware of an independent diagnosis of equipment and be more confident while bargaining.
Useful tips when buying a used car:
- Conduct an outdoor daylight inspection to ensure an objective assessment;
- Talk to an auto mechanic in advance and ask the price of certain breakdowns;
- Be careful when going on a test drive in an unfamiliar car;
- Make sure that it is comfortable for you to sit behind the wheel and manage your potential transport;
- It is advisable to have a diagnostic card from the seller – then you will not have to undergo MOT to obtain insurance.
1 Get to Know the History of the Vehicle
Learning the history of the car, it would be great to go through the documentation of the car attentively. To get this information, you can ask the owner of the vehicle directly. There is an option to check all the needed information online by registration plate, STS, TCP, VIN, etc.
Issues with documents can become a reason for refusing to buy the car – the risk of losing equipment and irrevocably losing your money is too great. The purchased vehicle may be stolen, arrested, or mortgaged. If a seller willingly tells you the story of their car and shares advice, this is a good sign.
2 Inspect the Car Body Attentively
A critical tool during the inspection is a thickness gauge (paint thickness gauge), but it should not be used at first because the seller may not like it. First, you check the paint and its condition, as well as the gaps and the installation of the add-on components.
It is necessary to look for enlarged gaps between parts, not factory shagreen, local corrosion, and traces of poor-quality paint application to the old one. Of course, if youconsider a car more than 10 years old, it is practically impossible to find a copy with ideal paintwork, but the age of the vehicle does not justify poor-quality handicraft repairs or serious damage after an accident.
No need to lie to yourself, a ten-year-old vehicle used daily may not look like new.
3 Check the Engine
It should run evenly and wind up within 3-5 seconds. There should be no smudges. The exhaust gases of a heated engine must be transparent. If they are dark, the engine does not burn oil, and if they are bluish, it consumes too much oil.
The oil in the crankcase should not smoke intensively, and if it has white sediment, then there may be problems with the engine head gasket. Watch out if the engine of a used car shines clean – this may indicate that the seller washed the engine to hide defects.
4 Diagnose the Chassis
If you don’t have access to a lift or pit, you need to rock the car from the front, back and side. Thus, the condition of the shock absorbers can be checked as soon as possible. Strong and long swinging is a sign of broken shock absorbers.
When the car quickly and efficiently returns to the starting position and stops wobbling, the shock absorbers are probably in good condition. However, this is a very superficial estimate and not reliable.
5 Assess the Condition of the Salon
In the cabin, pay attention to the strength of the fastening and the integrity of the trim and panels, the presence of handles, buttons, and switches.
In the driver’s seat, all adjustments must function, it must not dangle. It should be dry under the rugs and naturally – no traces or smell of rot.
You should make sure that the windows, interior lights, air conditioning, heated seats, and other options are working. Reasons for cost reduction can be inoperative windows and adjustments, a crack in the windshield, or a failed seat. At the same time, the seller has no right to justify the high price by the presence of an expensive music system or other additional equipment. If he disagrees, offer to remove the radio and ask for a discount for its absence.
Ask directly about all repairs and parts changes. If the owner is silent about certain problems, unexpected questions and clarifications on trifles can take him by surprise. Few can think through every word in detail, so if the seller begins to get confused in the testimony, be embarrassed and nervous, this is suggestive. Be careful! Be aware means that you can purchase a second-hand car from the merchant or car dealership directly.