Thinking of spending your hard-earned cash on a new used car? Here are five things to check on before you part with your money.
Buying a used car is always a tricky business. You can’t really trust the seller to disclose all the faults within the car in an as-seen sale. Face to face sales is therefore risky, whether you take out excellent insurance or not. Take this advice and check for the following things before you buy. It will save you a lot of money in the long run.
What 5 Things to Check for When Used Car Shopping?
If you can make sure these five things work before you drive off the forecourt, you give yourself a better chance at used car happiness.
#1. Check the battery
It might not be convenient for you to bring a whole voltmeter to the sale to check the battery, but you can look out for a few key signs. Trouble starting, faulty electronics, and a clicking noise when you turn the key, are all tell-tale signs. Car batteries only last around 5 years, so if the car is older than five, factor a new battery into the cost. You can brose this article for help on finding the best car battery for your vehicle.
#2. Check the Vehicle History
There are some handy free and paid for apps on the market that help you search the history of any vehicle you intend to buy. Searching the registration in the local authority database can tell you if someone has stolen the car or if it was previously written off in an accident. You might not spot all your car’s faults this way, but it can help you identify any glaring problems that the search might throw up.
Does the vehicle come with documentation? If the answer is no, wash your hands and walk away. If they do have it, then check the details match the vehicle in front of you. Paperwork is your one guarantee this is not a stolen car. If the registration is wrong, there are lots of spelling mistakes, or other details are incorrect, the paperwork could be a forgery.
#4. Accident Evidence
It can help you to look for evidence of bumps and smashes on the car body. Look for crushed metalwork or dents and scrapes. Check the windscreen for signs of chips and cracks as these can quickly turn nasty. You should check the state of the tires and trim to look for scratching. Dents on the bonnet are a particular worry. The FTC offers this advice on checking used cars.
#5. General Vehicle Health
Look for signs of rust, baldness on the tires, and check the feel of the brakes. If you can, try to get a test run and see how the vehicle drives. Is there a spare wheel in the back? What about other safety features? Check indicators, windscreen wipers, and then the little things that will bug you long term. Only when you are satisfied should you agree to buy the car.
Don’t Buy a Dud
If you followed this advice, you should not have bought a dud car. Get your insurance before you drive it home, just in case.