Owning a car is a great privilege. It makes one’s life more convenient compared to having to take public transport.
While CEOs and owners of big businesses such as manufacturing and gold refinery companies can afford to buy brand-new cars, most of us regular folks can only afford used cars. Not that it’s something to be ashamed of. But know that unlike brand-new vehicles, cars that were previously owned by other people might have certain issues.
This is why you should be aware of these things before you pull the trigger. That being said, here is a list of some important things that you should check before signing the papers on a used car.
What You Should Know First When Buying a Second-Hand Car
1. Find out the vehicle’s history.
When buying a second-hand car, it is a must that you know what the car has been through since it was driven out of the showroom. Get as much information on the vehicle as you can. Talk to the owner and get some research done.
Certain services are available that allow you to check the vehicle’s history by running its VIN (vehicle identification number). This shows if the car has been in an accident or has liens on it.
2. Take it out for a test drive.
As a rule of thumb, whenever you buy a vehicle, you should always test it out. Taking it out for a spin will let you get a feel of the car and how it performs. You’ll know how it handles and, during the short drive, you’ll already have an idea about certain issues that you will encounter.
3. Check for dents, scratches, rust, and other frame issues.
After you’ve taken the car out for a test drive, inspect its exteriors for any damages, scratches, and other issues, especially rust. Tiny scratches and paint chips can be fixed easily and aren’t exactly dealbreakers (unless you’re really iffy about the aesthetics of the car). If there are areas where the rust is really bad, you might want to give it another thought.
4. See what’s under the hood.
More than the aesthetics of the unit, the most important thing when making a used-car purchase is knowing how roadworthy it is. Check the engine and see if there are existing or potential issues that need to be addressed. If the engine is in great shape and the car is well-maintained, you have yourself a winner. But if it’s too much of a fixer-upper, reconsider the purchase.
5. Look at the tires’ condition.
Although tires can be easily replaced, buying a full set of replacement tires will cost you a lot of money. This is why you should always see if the car that you are buying has tires that are still in great condition. Uneven tire treads or extra wear on a tire or two might mean that there are alignment issues that could be caused by steering, frame, and suspension issues.
6. Check out the vehicle’s mileage.
On average, a car can run about 20,000 kilometers in one year. That is if it is used normally and not taken out on long drives regularly. The mileage that falls way below the average means that the car was seldom used and is in great condition. On the other hand, those that exceed the average mileage are more likely to have greater wear and tear.
7. What does the interior look like?
Now that you’re done checking the exteriors and under the hood, it’s time for you to check the inside of the car. Check the upholstery if it has signs of stains, tears, or cracked leather. Take note of the extent of any damage to the upholstery. If the damage is too great, you might want to reconsider because replacing the upholstery on a vehicle can be quite pricey.
8. Identify any electrical and electronics problems.
Make sure that you also check the car’s electrical system. Electrical problems are usually the ones that give car owners a terrible headache because they’re harder to troubleshoot. So it would be good for you to find out what its electrical system’s condition is before deciding to push through with it. And while you’re at it, go over the interior’s electronics, too. They’re a lot easier to deal with but you still wouldn’t want to end up with a car that has dome lights that won’t work, right?
Before making a purchase, make sure your questions are answered and you’re fully satisfied with all the information that you have. If you’re not as knowledgeable about cars and engines, we recommend bringing a reputable mechanic with you during the car inspection. This gives you peace of mind knowing that you spent your hard-earned money on something worth your while.