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Factors to look out for before buying a used car

You might not be the car enthusiast type but you’re really set on buying a second hand car you can depend on. Reliability is the first thing we all want when thinking about getting a used car. Here are some factors that can help you determine whether the car you’re inspecting is going to be in good condition.

1) Check the manufacture date of the vehicle – The date of manufacture is always important as this will help determine how old the car is. You will be able to know the accuracy of the dates by checking both the car’s build date and compliance plate. These can be located by the engine bay.

2) Check the Engine – A well-maintained car holds a clean engine. Otherwise, expect a dirty engine to most likely have mechanical problems to it. However, some people will degrease an engine just to sell it, so this is generally just a guide.

3) Check the body of the vehicle – The problem areas that you should look out for would be noticeable damages such as uneven paint colour, paint bubbles, unevenly fit or loose panels, rust inside the boot, doors and floor wells.

4) Check the paint on the vehicle – There will be signs of a poor paint job or repair if the car shows over-spraying, especially on the parts that have acquired damages throughout time such as dents, scratches or chips.

5) Check the vehicle’s doors, windows and boots – The easiest way of determining whether these three components are working is if these can be easily opened and closed with ease (noting that the rubber seals are also still intact). Make sure that the locks are fully functioning as this is also a safety factor for cars.

6) Check the engine oil - The best way to check the engine’s oil is when the engine is up and running. Don’t get off too easy by just checking the first dip. You’ll know that the car has been poorly maintained if the oil shows up thick, or milky or grey in colour.

7) Check for oil leaks – It’s best to check for leaks especially in the following areas: engine, brakes, power steering, shock absorbers, differential, and transmission.

8) Check the brakes – The brakes of the vehicle shouldn’t feel too rigid or too low when stepped on. The steering wheel shouldn’t also shudder when used. When using the brakes, the car should be able to pull a stop without having to go through different directions.

9) Check the steering wheel – You will be able to determine that the suspension and steering has problems when the car pulls on a different direction (can be worn-out or already askew).

10) Check the suspension – You will be able to check the suspension especially when you drive over road bumps. You’ll know there’s something wrong with it if it starts to make out odd noises.

11) Check the transmission – The transmission should make no droning sounds, and should work smoothly when changing gears. This applies with manual or automatic cars.

12) Check the engine when it’s immobile – A well-maintained engine makes no odd sounds when it starts, even if it’s at idle. You can listen to this by opening the car hood. It shouldn’t give you a hard time to start either.

13) Check the vehicles radiator and radiator coolant – The three main things that you should look out for on the radiator would be corrosions, leakages or damages. The colour of the coolant on the other hand should look clear and uncontaminated.

14) Check the battery – Check if the battery is firmly positioned. It should be clean and is free of acid corrosion.

15) Check the exhaust systems – When the pipes or mufflers start to make too much clatter, or start to gust off too much smoke, then there’s a possibility that these car parts might have rust or holes on them. Checking the smoke of the fumes will also help. If the colour turns blue, then you already have a big glitch right there.

16) Check the tyres – To avoid getting flat tyres on a future drive with a used car, make sure to check whether all four tyres and spare have no cracks, patchy abrasions, and tread.

17) Check the seat belts – Check whether the seat belts can be pulled easily and can be fastened securely. All seat belts shouldn’t have frays on them as well.

18) Check the vehicles electrical devices – A typical car will have it’s own air conditioner, heater, radio, horn, wipers, etc. Make sure to check if every device is also included in the warranty. Otherwise, broken parts will be put on your expense. Also check the lights if every piece are functioning well. It’s important that they light up when needed, especially the exterior lights.

19) Check the vehicles of its other accessories – It’s important to check the upholstery, carpet, trims, and most especially the seat covers and mats on how used these have been. It’s also important that the car comes with a Jack and Tool Kit. You will be able to make good use of these effective tools when the need arises.



Our mobile car inspection service can give you an exact assessment by checking the car for you at our workshop or at any location considered necessary. Give us a call and we can work out the solution best suited to your needs.