Many people watch out for local car deals that they find in the newspaper classified ads section, then go out and spend a small fortune without carrying out even the most basic of checks. It is very important to have some technical knowledge about cars before buying a used (or new!) car. This article will give you some of the most important things to look for before you decide to spend your hard earned cash on a piece of junk.
1. Take a good look at the vehicle exterior and look for any tell-tale signs of damaged paint or deeply embedded scratches. If the paint is new, ask when the car was painted last. Pay close attention and beware of 'fixer uppers'. This practice often distracts used car buyers from larger problems such as underlying rust that will rear it's ugly head in the near future. These type of car body repairs can end up quite expensive.
2. Check the back of the vehicle and bumper. Look at the wheel wells for signs of rust, dents or body filler, then search the rest of the vehicle for rust. Most importantly always remember to scan the underside of the vehicle for any hidden problems. Also look for dimples, dents, or scuffs in the paint job.
3. Inspect both sides of the car including beneath the vehicle for any signs of more major body repair. Look for inconsistencies. For example check to see that edges of the hood and door panels line up correctly with the bumpers and other side panels. Check the frames are precisely aligned. Such inconsistencies may be clues to previous wrecks that can cost you big in repairs bills down the road.
4. Inspect all the tyres of the vehicle. Look for signs of irregular wear and tear like feathering, cupping, one edge wearing, center or both edges worn down. Also make sure that the wheels are not pointed inward which may indicate an alignment problem. Check to see if the vehicle is at the manufacturers recommended tyre pressure levels to ensure safety driving. Does it have alloy wheels? If so, are they damaged in anyway? This could be a costly alloy wheel repair or alloy wheel refurbishment.
5. Open the door, check the interior for tears in upholstery, sun damage and general appearance. Does the car need interior upholstery repairs? Make sure that all important things that you will need while driving work properly, e.g. headlights, sidelights, signals, rear brake lights, reverse lights, hazard warning lights, etc. Also check the basic car amenities like the radio, air conditioner, heater, windscreen wipers, odometer, fuel guage, and the interior lights.
6. Possibly the most important thing you should check, but one which many people ignore completely. Check under the bonnet. Look at the engine's overall cleanliness. Look for signs of wear and tear on components. Make sure that the battery cables and connectors are not worn down and the battery itself is in good running condition. Inspect the engine for any signs of leaking oil around the valve cover and head gasket. Check all attached holes for signs of busting and wear and tear. Inspect underneath the vehicle to see is there any rusted out holes in the exhaust pipe manifold and muffler.
7. Check the oil (make sure the engine is cool). The oil level should be in between the two level marks. If you find it below the bottom level mark then this could indicate an oil leak, or the engine is in a critical need for oil. Also look to see whether it's been changed recently by looking for a smooth texture and yellow-brown colour. You will definitely know that the vehicle needs an maintenance oil change if the oil comes out looking burnt dark black. Then place your hands on the dipstick and rub it against your thumb. If you feel small particles in the oil the engine may be worn or damaged causing you costly repair problems.
8. Next test the car transmission for slippage. Set the handbrake, depress the clutch pedal and shift through the gears to see if they easy fall in place while shifting. Also listen for any grinding sounds that may be coming from the transmission.
9. Start up the engine. It should practically start up immediately. Listen closely for accurate start up ability and listen out for any sound of engine knocking or any other irregularities sounds that you do not normally hear when starting up a car. Be sure to ask questions about any sounds you are not familiar with to the car salesman. Also check to see that there or not any engine indicator lights that comes on after starting up the engine.
10. Take the car for a test drive. Check the brakes in normal driving traffic conditions. They shouldn’t squeal and should bring the car to a stop in a sufficiently short distance. Make sure you do not have to press the brake pedal all the way down to come at a complete stop. This is a good sign that the vehicle may have worn down brakes pads or even a serious brake problem.
One Golden Rule: is to ask to see a record of the vehicle maintenance and car report. Look to see that the car had regular oil changes and checkups (maintenance schedules will vary by model etc.). Also, inquire about additional work that may have been done on the vehicle and ask to see receipts.
FOR ANY CAR BODY REPAIRS, CAR DENT REPAIRS, ALLOY WHEEL REPAIRS, CAR BUMPER REPAIRS CALL JOE FOR ADVICE & QUOTATION ON 07802348096 OR 0151 4932600 OR VISIT www.scuffsnscratches.co.uk
SCUFFS 'N' SCRATCHES LTD 60-61 LOVE LANE, LIVERPOOL, L3 7DD
ALL WORK FULLY GUARANTEED ~ FOR HONEST, PROFESSIONAL & RELIABLE SERVICE SINCE 1996