Buying a second hand car? Save yourself from expensive mistakes
All those ads with gleaming paintwork and moody lighting can look really attractive, but how do you know that what you’re buying is really good enough?
Take a look at our checklist below to find your new-to-you car without the hassle:
1. What’s the Price?
Before you even view a car, look around online and at dealerships to see what sort of price your potential new car is going for. There’s no point in making the effort to view a car if it’s way overpriced.
2. Exterior Visual Inspection
Take a good look at the appearance of the car. Is there any rust on the bodywork? The odd spot won’t matter too much but if rust has completely eaten through the metalwork, that could be a very expensive repair.
Is the frame of the car as it should be? Look at the car from all angles and check it sits correctly on the road and that nothing is warped. Check the underside of the car and make sure everything is where it should be.
Give the tyres a check and see if they all have equal wear. If they don’t, your potential purchase could have alignment problems.
3. Check the Interior
Look over the upholstery and check the condition of the seats. If you have cracked, torn or stained seats, it could cost you a hefty amount to get them repaired or replaced.
Do seats and seat belts work correctly?
Open the boot and the bonnet and check under the carpets. Make sure there’s no warping, new bolts or signs of major repair. If you find anything like that, your lovely new car might have been in a not so lovely accident. Even worse, if you find new welds, you might be looking at a ‘cut and shut’ where parts from two or more cars have been welded together.
Make sure the locks, windows and sunroof are in good condition and that everything closes and locks properly.
4. Check the Engine
What sort of condition is the engine in? Are there any signs of oil or fuel leaks or corrosion? Check the oil levels aren’t too low or too high and take a look at the exhaust and make sure there’s no smoke or excess emissions.
5. Check the Paperwork
Does the car have a current MOT and, if the car has a catalytic converter, is there an emissions report? Does the VIN number match on all the paperwork and on the car? Do you have all the paperwork you need, including the service history, and the V5C registration document?
6. Test Drive
Switch the engine on and check all your lights, heating, air conditioning, radio, windscreen wipers and so on all work as they should.
Look at the dashboard for any signs of scratch marks on the screws and tampering with the dials, such as for clocking. Also check for any warning lights.
As you drive, check the gears and listen to the noise of the engine to check everything sounds as it should. Take note of braking, steering and vibration, and check the handbrake is in proper working order.
7. Mechanic Check
Unless you’re a trained mechanic, get someone you trust to look the car over thoroughly for you before you buy.
8. Vehicle History Check
Considering all the problems that could be hidden under that innocent looking bonnet, including accidents, serious repairs and even the possibilities of the car being bodged together from other car parts or stolen, invest in an HPI check for complete peace of mind.
If you’d like a hand with buying your new car, why not get expert advice from The Auto Agent, including HPI checks, arranging finance, and even haggling with dealers on your behalf? Check out our packages !!