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How to Check Out a Second-Hand Car before Buying It

4 years ago / Hidden

If you’re in the market to buy a second-hand car, then you’ll probably be trawling through the newspapers and magazines looking for the right one. There are many dealers both private and company that will have nice used cars you can visit. Or, if you prefer, you can go for a private seller and see the car at their home. Whatever way you choose, you need to know what to look for before you buy it.


When to See the Car

It might sound odd, but there are optimum weather conditions for viewing cars. You should never go to see a car while it’s raining because the water can mask any imperfections in the paint or bodywork. If you’re planning to see a car after it has snowed, make sure you get all the snow off so you can see all the surfaces. A nice sunny day is usually the best time to go viewing plus; you can check that all the windows and sun roof work without water coming in.

The Paintwork

When you arrive, carefully check the outside of the car first. Look for any scratches or dents and see if you can spot any dull areas of paintwork where it may have been resprayed by the owner. Older cars will probably have a few small dents in the doors as this is common – however, if there are larger dents then this should be examined before you buy. You should also check that the paint inside the engine compartment and boot are the same as on the outside. Cars do sometimes get resprayed; you just need to find out why.

Check for Rust

The other main issue with second-hand cars is rust. Some makes of car are more prone to rust than others, so it makes sense to do some research before you go. Cars such as a used Hyundai i20 has a good record for staying rust free. Many guides will tell you the most likely places for rust depending on the make of car. The common areas are at the bottom of the doors and boot lid, around the wheel arches and under the car. If you see any rust or bubbling paintwork, then you’ll need to think whether this vehicle is right for you.

Check the Engine

Once you’ve had a good look at the car, you can check the engine. Ask to start the car and check the exhaust for any smoke. There might be a little if it has been sitting for a long time, however, if you see blue smoke, this could be a cause for concern. Check the engine compartment for any damaged hoses or leaking. You should also check the fluids to see if they are at the correct levels. If you see bubbles in the coolant when the car is running, it could mean a blown gasket, so you need to get it checked.

If you’ve found no problems and the car is running well, then all you need to do is arrange a good price.