Second-hand doesn’t mean second-best, especially when it comes to cars.
With enough knowledge and by paying keen attention to details, you can find a pre-owned vehicle that fits your budget and that will serve you well for years to come.
Here are six things you need to pay attention to when deciding to buy a second-hand car.
1. The body kits and panels
Car scratches are tolerable, especially on a pre-owned car. However, some used car dealers may try to hide more serious exterior damages to the car, which can be a telltale sign that it has been through a pretty heavy collision.
Inspect the car’s panels closely, if they fit poorly or look misaligned, this means they have been replaced. Give the bumpers and side skirts a touch gentle knock too; if there is a thumping sound or an uneven surface, it’s a sign that it a damaged panel has been treated with putty or palitada and painted over.
2. Under the hood
Lifting the hood can reveal a lot of things.
The engine shouldn’t smell burnt or rusty, which are signs that the car has been neglected. Greasy engines can also mean poor maintenance or potential leaks on the oil compartment or radiator, which you can verify if there’s dripping underneath. Finally, see if the connections to the battery are rusty. You don’t want rust anywhere in your potential car.
3. The interior
If the car’s outside can hide things, the interior can tell you a story.
Upon opening a door, there should not be a moldy smell wafting out of the vehicle; this means that the car has been submerged before. The seat’s upholstery should show no signs of tearing. Markings on knobs, dials, and buttons should still be intact and not damaged in any way. All the dials in the dashboard should work when you drive the car. To spot if the odometer has been tampered with, see is if the car’s age matches the distance traveled.
4. The glass and mirrors
Obviously, the rule of thumb should be that all windows and mirrors should be free from cracks and or scratches.
If any of the windows have a crack, even if just the smallest of chippings, this could grow bigger and impede your vision. Although this can be dangerous, you can actually use this to drive the price of the secondhand car lower and use what you saved on the cars price to replace the windshield.
5. The tires and suspension
Check that the tread depth is even among all tires. The suspension should be pretty sturdy too. One way to check it without driving the vehicle is to give it a push down from the trunk. A vehicle with well-maintained suspension should only bounce once.
6. The supporting documents
A car’s official receipt and certificate of registration should match the engine number and vehicle identification number indicated on the car.
If the previous owner is diligent, receipts of previous trips to the mechanic as well as replaced parts are kept. Everything you need to know will be written on paper—or the lack thereof.
Sources: Autoindustriya, Carmudi, Autodeal