I recently bought a pre-owned car to help me get to work a lot faster and I’m extremely happy with it so far. Luckily for me, I had my dad with me who was a mechanic so he knows what to check when buying a used car. Without an experienced car checker (like my dad) present, buying a car can be a daunting task. When you are buying a used car that task turns into an all-in gamble. How are you supposed to know whether or not the previous owner drove the car into the Thames or if they filled it with high-octane fuel or some low-grade spirits? Although you might not be able to get a complete history of the car, by getting a car check, MOT check and being away of common used car problems, you can help guarantee that the odds are in your favour. Here are common issues with used cars and how to identify them.
Rust and Body Damage
This is the simplest inspection that you can make. All you have to do is walk around the car, look at the paint job, and look around common rust areas like around the lights and doors, under the wheel wells and under the hood and bottom of the body. Make notes of scratches, dents and nicks that you see. Rust and body damage is almost guaranteed with older cars but it is something that you need to consider. Because while rust is not a big deal, it can spread and become a bigger deal than you signed up for. Rust on the engine is a big warning sign and proceed with a buyer beware mind-set.
The car’s frame is its skeleton. Everything else, the wheels, engine and door rely on it to be a stable foundation. In the event of an accident, the frame is what is going to protect you and your passengers. It’s important that you do a car check to determine any previous accidents. It’s also a good decision to have a trained mechanic inspect the frame. If you don’t have the resources to have a mechanic inspect the car, inspect the car thoroughly yourself. Check along the car lines and determine if there are any unnatural bends in the frame, if there are, this should be a warning sign.
You can’t be sure if the previous owner thought his vehicle was an F1 formula racing car or came to a slow stop every time. Regardless of how hard or easy the driver was on the brakes, it takes a lot of energy to stop a moving vehicle and that means brakes wear out and become less effective. When you are test-driving the car make sure that you listen for whining when slowing down. Take not of how quickly the car comes to a stop and how it feels. If you have the opportunity to take the car to an open car park then try accelerating and stopping quickly.
When you’re purchasing a new used car, it’s easy to overlook details like climate control, but once winter or summer are at their peak, you’ll want those things to work. There are multiple reasons that your AC or heater might not work properly. The climate gages are easy to check. Simply turn on the air during your test drive and wait a few minutes and see how it feels.
A car needs a various number of fluids to keep it running smoothly. Without them, you’re guaranteed to experience complications including an overheated engine and weakened brakes. The simplest way to check for leaks is to look underneath the car. Do you see any puddles or stains on the asphalt that might indicate a leak? Keep in mind that a car that has recently been driven might not have had the time to show their leaks yet. It’s advisable to bring a mechanic with to check MOT criteria.
There are common problems with the clutch and even the transmission in used cars including chipped or worn gears, leaky seals, slipping or popping out of gear and transmission failure, which usually results in the car being inoperable. It depends on the symptoms your clutch is showing to what is and how severe the problem is. The most common repairs and service to manual transmissions are the replacement of pressure plates and the throw out bearing used to disengage the transmission.
When you go on a test drive make sure that you use your senses: listen for grinds, feel vibrations, notice unusual smells and see leaky puddles under the car on the asphalt.
Although worn tyres might not be a make it or break it factor when choosing a car, you probably don’t want to spend another £500 in a month on new tyres. Make sure that you check the tyres for possible prior patching, uneven wear patterns and excessive wear around the edges. Make sure that you inspect the side wall and examine for adequate tread.
In addition to a DIY inspection and possibly having a mechanic evaluate the car, you can use car checks including the MOT check to verify the cars past. Make sure that you ask the seller for the registration number, model, tax disc details and MOT number. Check that the vehicles MOT is up to date and that it’s MOT history check matches the information that you have been given.