What should I check when buying a used car? - The Truth About Cars - Navara

What should I check when buying a used car?

Buying used cars can simply save you lots of money, but can also give you headache and most of all drain your savings due to high maintenance cost. So, what should you check when buying a used car?

If you have no idea how reliable the used car you want to buy then your in trouble. It is necessary that before buying any used car make it a practice to understand the background of the car.

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Start by deciding what brand and model you want to buy, take note how much is the worth in the market of the particular brand you are interested in, the information can simply be found on any used car buyers guide magazines.

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When buying for a used cars, it is better to buy on a private party than with that of the used car dealer, because most of the dealer will not provide a competitive price.

During negotiations with the seller try to get all the necessary information about the car because it can be a basis of decision to purchase or not, ask questions such as :
Are you the first owner?
What was the reason why do you want to sell your car?
Where do you bring the car for maintenance purposes?
Do the car have a service records?
Has the car ever been in an accident?
Does the car needs any repair?

Those are just some of the questions you need to ask on the seller to better understand the background on how the car is being handled by the owner.

After learning all of the background of the car, make an actual inspection of the car.
Check the exterior condition. Always conduct the inspection during day time.
Check if all the exterior lights is functioning properly : Head lights ( high & low beam ), park lights,turn signal lights, hazard lights, back lights and brake lights.
Check if wiper and wiper washers are functioning.
Check the windshield and window glass for cracks.
Check the the condition of Spare Tire, Tools, Jack ( STJ).
Check the tire thread depth.

Open the hood to see what ‘s inside the engine compartment :
check for any leak like engine oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, an clutch fluid.

After inspection of the exterior,  next is the interior inspection:
Check the doors, open and close to know if it functions properly and smoothly.
Check if all gauges on the instrument panel is working properly including illumination.
Check if all door locks is functioning.
Check if horn is functioning.
Check if all pedals; accelerator, brake , clutch (ABC) is functioning properly includes parking brake, and most of all check for owners manual.

Next is road test the car:
Start the engine and take note if the engine starts quickly as expected.
Check if the car idle evenly.
Drive car on the city and highway condition. Make sure to drive in both road condition as some of the defects can only be detected on either road condition.

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While driving check if there is no pulling to one side of the road.
Check if the instrument panel is working properly, notice if there is any indicator light appeared on the instrument panel such as : check engine light , stop indicator light, battery indicator light, as its indicates that the car have some troubles.

Check for any unusual sound from the engine like pinging or knocking sound.
During braking check if the car stop as you expected, make sure that no grinding and squealing sound is present when braking because it indicates worn out brake pads or brake shoe.

After the car passed your requirement, ask the seller to have the car be checked by your mechanic for mechanical evaluation and check up so that you will know if there is no problem with the car which you did not saw during inspection.

The mechanic can also tell you if the transmission and engine condition is consistent with the odometer reading as what appear on the instrument panel to make sure that the odometer has not been rolled back.

Then based on the recommendation of the mechanic and your evaluation result, you may now decide if you want to buy the car or not. Put into mind that a good decision depends on the correct and complete information to have a better edge when buying used cars.

Suggested Reading:
How Do You Bargain With A Car Salesman?

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