What to check when buying a second hand car

If its fuel efficiency is poor and it requires heavy maintenance work every other month, then your finances are in for a rough ride.

Buying a Used Car from a Dealer (The Right Way)

When shopping used, your goal is to find a decently performing car that fits within your budget — and that budget should account not just for the car itself but for operating costs, maintenance costs, warranties, and so on. A used car can either turn out to be a blessing or a nightmare — so to avoid the latter, here are signs to watch out for. Misaligned body panels are one of the most commonly observed imperfections in used cars. However, what many sellers try to pass off as minor surface irregularities could be masking something a lot more sinister, such as a major car accident.

For instance, a used car with a CAPA Certified Automotive Parts Association sticker on one of its parts is a clear sign that the car has undergone collision repair for that part. More obvious issues, such as dents and structural kinks, are easier to spot on the car body. Upon closer inspection, if you notice any irregularities in width between the seams lining the car doors, fenders, or hood, then it surely means that the car has seen worse days than what the salesman claims, and may not be worth the price or risk of ownership. Sellers may try to oversell the luxurious outer appearance of a used car to entice buyers.

However, they might also be trying to cover up poor interior comfort and design. If there are rips, stains, or cracks that cannot be easily fixed, then you may need to look for another used car. Analyzing reviews and model pictures of a car when it was new can give you a good idea about its original interior design and the extent of its deterioration. On the other hand, brand new upholstery is also something to be wary of because it may be an attempt to cover up water damage. They often carry the burden of a huge down payment and a high APR, which can turn into a big financial liability for you down the line.

Therefore, you should always shop around and research bank rates and local lender rates before signing your car loan. Being a used car buyer, you need to keep your emotional and impulsive decisions in check. A little research and business savvy can help you strike the perfect bargain for your used car purchase. Remember, the customer is always king, so do not hesitate to make the seller play by your rules. A sound ballpark figure is the foundation of a productive negotiation between you and the seller.

Just like automakers, used car dealerships also like to advertise special rebates and cash back incentives on certified pre-owned cars to attract more customers. Before paying a visit to a dealership, research the incentives offered on its website to see which you qualify for. The average mileage on cars hovers around 10, per year.

If you feel strange vibrations in the steering wheel, then there may be a problem in the front due to the steering linkage. On the other hand, if you experience vibrations in the car seat, then there could be a problem in the back of the car, such as with a wheel bearing or the condition of a tire. Check the car suspension by pushing down each fender and quickly letting go. It should rebound softly at least once or twice. Tyres with less than 3mm of tread will have to be replaced soon.

5 Things to Check When Buying a Used Car

Are the jack and other tools present? Do all the seatbelts operate correctly? Check there are no cuts or fraying that could affect the way they work. If airbags are fitted, Check that warning lights operate as described in the handbook — normally they will come on with the ignition and then go out?

11 Things to Check Before Buying a Used Car

Test drive Do all warning lights operate normally? Lights will generally come on to test and then go out — unless there's a fault. Are the brakes effective or does it take a long time or a lot of effort to stop? Is braking even or does the car pull to one side? Any unusual noises when you brake? Is the handbrake effective?


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Any steering vibration or pull to one side? If ABS is fitted, does the warning light go out after the engine is started? Engine Any abnormal noises when the engine is started from cold?

What to Check for When Buying a Used Car – 10 Warning Signs

Does the oil warning light go out as soon as the engine starts? Any signs of excessive visible exhaust emissions?

What to check when buying a used car

Does the clutch operate normally? A noise when you press the pedal or a high biting point could mean that repairs will be required soon. Is the catalytic converter in good condition?

Look for a recent emissions test, either alone or as part of an MOT. This will confirm that emissions are within the stringent limits applied to modern cars. Is there sludge on the underside of the oil filler cap? Some types of oil include: Black or dark-brown slippery fluid - This is probably motor oil. A few drops once in a while is acceptable, but if your car starts to leave puddles, have it checked.

Clear, oily liquid with a pungent odour - This is usually brake fluid that shows up around the wheels. Pink, red or clear drops - It may be either automatic transmission fluid or power steering fluid. Green, yellowish or reddish spots with a faint, sweet smell - This indicates that anti-freeze is leaking from the cooling system and is usually found under the front centre of the car. Heavy, light tan or black oily liquid - This indicates gear oil leaking from the steering gearbox, manual transmission, axle or differential.

A dark stain on the shock absorber body - The dark stain gives this away as shock absorber fluid. Thin fluid that smells like fuel - This could be due to leak from the tank generally in the rear of the car , from a fuel line that runs from the tank to the engine, or from the engine itself. Light oil that smells like home heating oil - It is diesel and should be treated like a fuel leak as mentioned above.

Blue or pink tinted water - This tinted water points to a leak of windshield washer solution and will be found in a broad area under the engine compartment. A clear fluid that smells like rotten eggs - This is probably sulphuric acid leaking from the battery and can appear in a number of locations under a vehicle. Looking to save some real money with a used car? You just might find a gem right here. Post a Comment Report Error Share.


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Tweet uu. Related Articles. For all car owners, here's how you get more money from selling your car Selling your car: Avoid these mistakes when selling to a dealer Tips you need to know when buying a car in Singapore 10 signs that a secondhand car has been in an accident before Buying used cars is the smarter choice in Singapore. Here's why. You may also like of Related Motor Directory Merchants.