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What to look for in a used car

What to look for in a used car

It is difficult to know what to look for in a used car, with changing features and vast technical landscape purchasing a new car becomes confusing. This process becomes especially difficult when trying to buy a used car. However, in this edition of Sandro’s Hot Tips we will be outline what features to look for when purchasing a used vehicle.

When buying a used car there is a considerable amount of stress. This can be prevented by checking and looking for various indicators of a faulty car. Ensure that everything from the engine to the interior are in a good working condition.

Performing an engine check: This is an important element to check as a damaged engine can cost you a large sum of money to maintain in the future. What to check:

That the engine runs smoothly and quietly: when test driving the used car ensure that the engine runs nice and smooth when both driving and idling.

Check the oil dipstick: in a petrol car you should expect to see honey coloured oil, while in a diesel car you expect to see black coloured oil. Anything differing may be cause for concern.

Check the oil filler cap: if there is any flaky or foreign material present this could be a sign of a faulty engine and therefore, needs to be avoided.

Ask for the service book or if the vehicle has been serviced before being put on the lot – this is to ensure that the car has been regularly serviced.

Tyre check: The condition of the tyres can provide needed insight into a car’s suspension for instance if there is excessive wear on one side it could be a sign that there may be a fault with the wheel alignment or suspension. Additionally, it is important to make sure that a spare tyre is included and in good condition as spare tyres can cost anywhere from $100+ depending on the tyre.

Checking the lights: You need to make certain that all lights are functional. Check the taillights, indicators, number plate lights, park lights and reverse lights. If any of the lights are not working properly you may be able to ask for them to be replaced so that you can verify that it is not an electrical or wiring fault.

Radiator coolant and fluid check: It is important to ensure that the coolant fresh or healthy, signs of good coolant is that it has its signature bright hue (usually green, red, blue or any other bright colour). Bad coolants will look brown in colour and may smell bad. Additionally, check under the car and around the engine for coolant and or fluid leaks, such leaks may cost you money in the long run.

Performing an exhaust check: If you can hear any noises and or knocking sounds coming from underneath the car, it can be a sign of a possible exhaust system issue or suspension fault.

Equipment checks: Different cars will have different accessories and its important to check that they are functional. Test the air conditioning, fans, parking sensors, reverse camera, power winders, the navigation system, Bluetooth and stereo. It is also useful to make certain that the car’s jack and tool kit are in the correct place and are good quality.

Seat belt check: Seat belts are vital to everyone’s safety while driving, therefore it is extremely important that they are in good condition and are functional. Ensure that the locking mechanisms work and that the belt van extend and retract with ease. While you are at it, make sure that the steering wheel is also in check too, ensuring that it turns smoothly.

Checking the body: There are several elements that you must check when checking the quality of the car’s body and includes:

Test the doors (bonnet, boot, and doors) : ensure that the doors open and close easily and that they latch firmly.

Inspect for rust, crash repairs or damages: make certain to check paint overspray, dents, ripples, or creases. Faded paint jobs may be a sign that the car has been exposed to the elements rather than properly garaged.

Check for any loose or misaligned or mismatched panels.

Interior check: The interior of the car that you are planning to buy should be clean and free of any bad smells, a clean interior can mean that the previous owner had taken care of the car well. Look out for any damages, stains, wear and tear or cracks in the car’s interior carpet, plastics, and upholstery.

Vehicle identification check (VIN) : ensure that the VIN on the car matches up with the VIN on its registration papers. You can run a VHR (Vehicle History Report) to confirm the vehicle’s previous repair log, odometer readings, number of previous owners, etc. You can read more on VHRs here: Getting Information about a Vehicle – Townsville Mobile Mechanic.

Of course, if you like you can always call Townsville Mobile Mechanic to do a Pre-Purchase Inspection. A Pre-Purchase Inspection will give you the ultimate peace of mind.

If your car needs service or repairs, contact us at Townsville Mobile Mechanic on 0400 401 171.

By Trinity Goodwill

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  • parking560
    June 21, 2021, 8:07 am REPLY

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