If you are in the market for a used car, there are many pitfalls ahead, and with some careful consideration, it is hoped you can avoid falling into the trap of buying a dud vehicle. If you are not very mechanically minded, it might be an idea to enlist the help of the experts, who can meet you on site and thoroughly examine the vehicle you have set your sights on. Failing that, here are some important things to look for when thinking about buying a used car.
- Full Service History – FSH for short, this is a record of all the maintenance carried out on the vehicle since it was first put on the road. There is a section at the back of the user manual that is set aside for service records, and each time, the garage should stamp the space provided to show that the vehicle had been serviced, and this record would include all data regarding lubricant changes, and any work undertaken. If you live in Western Australia, and are not confident in your ability to spot a dodgy car, Spot On Vehicle Inspection provide pre purchase car inspection at an affordable price.
- The Test Drive – Of course, you would not consider buying a used vehicle without giving it a test drive, as this is an opportunity to get the feel of the car. The trip should be at least 10km, and this would give you an opportunity to test the following:
- Lights and indicators
If possible, stop the car on a clean section of road and let the engine idle for a few minutes, before moving forward a few yards and inspecting the road surface to see if there are any leaks. If there is a trace of green liquid, it might be your coolant, whereas a dull brown could well be engine oil, and anything red would more than likely be transmission fluid.
- General Condition – The interior and exterior should be in good condition, with no marks, scratches, or dents on the bodywork. If you should notice something untoward, mention it to the owner, as this can be a lever to secure a discount if you decide you want the vehicle. Check the lights and indicators and listen carefully the engine with the hood raised, as any tell-tale noises might reveal an issue.
- Check the Underside of the Vehicle – Preferably have the car raised on ramps and examine the wheel arches and other areas for signs of rust. Most modern cars are treated with a protective coating on the underside and there would be details of this is the servicing section of the user manual. A used car inspection would involve checking all areas of the vehicle, including the underside.
- Multiple Owners – If a car has had many owners, it is less likely to have been properly maintained, so look for how many times the vehicle has been reregistered. A car that has had one owner since new is a more attractive proposition, especially if that person has taken good care of the vehicle.
Buying a second hand car can be a little daunting, but with a professional inspection, you can be sure you are spending your hard earned cash on something worthwhile.