When buying a used car, there are numerous things you need to watch out for. Perhaps not because the car could be damaged, but because there are so many parts and features that may not completely live up to your expectations further down the road. Before you head off to make the payment final and secure the deal, make sure that you can tick off everything on the checklist below!
1) Documents and Paperwork
No matter what make or model you’re looking to buy, you should review and receive the correct and appropriate documents and paperwork for the vehicle. This includes everything from the handbook suited to the car’s exact specifications, to general documentation and reports of previous checks, inspections and all things related to the motor. For example, the dealer should show you the V5C registration document, which essentially allows you to tax the car – without it, you won’t be able to.
2) Mileage Check!
Over many years of owning and driving a car, it’s guaranteed that you’ll put some miles on the metre. However, when you look at buying another car, you need to look at how many miles it has travelled, how old it is and how it looks (general appearance). Then, only you can decide whether you feel you are getting yourself into the best deal or not. If you aren’t sure how many miles are on the car’s metre or how old it is, you should check with the dealer before making any hasty decisions.
3) Accident Damage or Faults
The last thing you’d want is to drive your new car away from the forecourt and later find that there’s a fault or noticeable damage to its parts or general appearance. To avoid this, be sure to check the paintwork and pay extra attention to whether the coverage is even across the entire car or whether it’s patchy or unevenly spread out. If the car’s paintwork is uneven, this may be a sign of a previous attempt to cover any damage or hide the original colour of the body. Either way, it’s better to find out why the paintwork is patchy before looking to pay a deposit or agreeing to any offers and deals on the vehicle.
4) Test Drive the Car
The most you want from a used car is for it to work properly on the road, right? There’s no better way of making sure everything is as it should be, than to take it for a spin. Don’t just stick to the city roads, if you want to be certain you are in for the best deal, then you should try taking the car out on narrow country roads and put it to the ultimate challenge. That way, if anything was to be wrong with the car, you’d know about it for sure. Not only that, but if something doesn’t feel right with the motor you test drive, you can always take it back to the dealership and ask plenty of questions!
5) What About the Engine?
Though you may not be an expert in motors or know an awful lot about their parts, there’s a much simpler way of finding out whether there are any hidden problems with the mechanical parts on the inside. For example, if you hear abnormal noises when the engine is started from cold or if the ‘oil warning’ light goes out when the engine starts, these could be signs of sudden bills sooner than you’d hoped. However, taking the car for not just one, but several spins out on the road will help you figure out whether there’s any need to worry about the car or not. Usually, if you don’t find any faults or problems after the third or fourth test drive, there should be nothing for you to concern yourself about – it’s always better to check though.
6) General Controls
Without a doubt, the most important thing to get ticked off your checklist is the general controls; are they working? Do you know where they are all located? Essentially, they are the most important feature of a car, and without them, you wouldn’t be allowed to stay on the road. General controls include everything from door locks to windows and the general controls inside the cabin – again, make sure that the used car you look at has every basic control in full working order. If not, don’t be shy to ask the dealer why the car is missing these features.