Buying a used car can be a tricky process – and is something that requires both careful preparation and a little bit of background knowledge.
Here are 3 top tips for when you’re browsing around for your potential new vehicle.
Research and Budgeting
Before buying a car, you need to decide how much you want (or can afford) to spend, and then research used car prices online. Get insurance quotes, check car tax rates, and also investigate loans if you need financial help, to make sure you’re getting a good deal.
A car dealership can often offer help, and things like cash-back and zero interest can make purchasing a used car a lot easier.
Before the test-drive, you need to carry out an inspection of the vehicle – both the interior and exterior. Firstly, have a look under the car and check for rust; a car with a rusted frame is structurally compromised and will be expensive to repair.
Check for even tyre wear – if the front tyres are unevenly worn, it could be a clue that the wheels or suspension are misaligned. You should also keep an eye out for newly painted parts of the vehicle because they could be hiding body damage.
As for the car’s interior, have a general look around and check the condition. Does it look particularly worn? If so – and the odometer shows low mileage – this could indicate something called ‘Clocking’. Clocking is the illegal practice of winding back the odometer since every 1,000 miles removed will ramp up the value of the car.
You should also check under the bonnet. Ensure that no oil is leaking from the engine, and examine the oil level as well for how the oil actually looks. A muddy appearance to the oil indicates that it hasn’t been changed for a while, and can suggest the rest of the car hasn’t been taken care of too well either.
Rounded or stripped bolt heads and nuts moreover can be evidence of shabby repair work, while new spark plugs are a good indication that the car has been well-maintained.
Want to check how much you know, and discover more about the buying process? Take our quiz!