Although buying a new car is a preferred option, the thought of buying a second hand one is not overly bad. Buying a second hand car can not only be affordable but also give you an opportunity to evade the numerous taxes and clearances that you must pay to have your unit roadworthy. However easy and readily available the option of buying a second hand car may be, it still has its own major downsides. To ensure that you are on the safe side, there are numerous elements that you ought to check when purchasing a pre-owned car.
Exterior and interior surface inspections
Surface inspections are highly essential when trying to understand the history and condition of the car in question. When inspecting the exterior surfaces, be on the lookout for any forms of deformations on the car. Deformations are normally an indication of the car having been poorly handled by the previous owner. It also indicates that the car could have some element of additional mechanical damages. One of the deformations that you should check out on is the presence of dents. Dents on the car surface shows that that car has been at some point been involved in a major or minor accident. Other deformations on the surface include scratches normally indicated by the scraping off of the car’s paint. Deformations as these normally incur additional costs upon you when trying to repair them after buying the car.
Interior inspection should be done on all upholstery to determine their condition. Leather seats whose surface is seemingly scratched shows that the car my need additional upholstery repairs. Rusted and dirty parts on the interior imply that additional costs may be incurred in bringing the car to its pristine condition.
Engine tests and checks
The engine is perhaps the costly and most essential parts of the car. If the engine has issues, it would cost you hugely to make repairs. When inspecting the car’s engine, check out for the any leaks on the gaskets that would imply that the engine’s integrity has been compromised at some point. Also, ensure that you inspect for corrosion on the engine block surface. Corrosion on the outside may be an indication of poor internal condition and possibly very poor performance. It is also important to inspect the various pertinent parts of the engine such as the belt, engine oil levels, and transmission fluid condition.
Beyond the physical inspection, you can go for performance related issues such as the mileage. Whereas the odometer may have been changed at some point, a high millage may give you an idea of the remaining lifetime of the car and the engine. At an advanced level of inspection, you can perform an engine performance assessment to determine the torque and whether it is in tandem with the one theoretically quoted by the manufacturer.
Seek a Carfax report
A pristine car may have had a bad history of accidents or pending cases. The only way you can determine this is by running a Carfax report which gives you a history of the car in terms of any previous accidents, owners, and operations. If the car has been involved in accidents, find out the nature the accident and whether the case was sorted out and the necessary repairs were made. Other checks you can research on include the National Highway Traffic Administration’s database for any recalls that may have been made on the car. If the car has had recalls, find out from the authority whether the owner responded and the issue was sorted. This would save you significant time and money later in case the car was recalled and the issues not addressed.
Do a test-drive
A test drive is highly essential. A car can look startling upon inspection but still shows elements of mal-performance upon test driving it. In the test drive, check for unusual noises, transmission issues, response of the engine to gas, condition of the gauges, and the condition of the brakes. Other elements to check include the functionality of the lights. Do the test-drive on highways as well as on off road conditions.
All these inspections should give you an idea on whether you are buying the car or not. If you are buying the car, it would also indicate to you whether the quoted price is fair or you need to do some bargaining.