Your go-to checklist before buying a used car

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If you’re buying a vehicle and you’re in the process of checking out different models and manufacturers, there are some key things that should be high up on your checklist when you finally go to test drive some used cars. It’s important to thoroughly check out every aspect of the vehicle, so here are the top 10 things to take note of…

 

  • The body work

 

What’s the overall condition of the paintwork and body? Look out for rust spots, dents scratches and any evidence of repair work. If you ask about the vehicle and it doesn’t seem to tally with the car’s condition, walk away.

 

  • The tyres

 

The tyres should match, be worn evenly, have no cuts or bulges and of course be the legal tread and not bald.

 

  • The spare tyre

 

It’s logical to check the tyres on the car, but it’s easy to forget the spare. Does the car have a spare, and what’s the condition of it? Plus, make sure all the necessary nuts and bolts are included with it.

 

  • Is the car warm?

 

This is a huge warning sign when it comes to independent sellers. If the car is already warm when you come to check it, it could be a sign that it needs some time to get started from a cold engine, and there could be something wrong with it.

 

  • Pop the hood

 

Again, check for rust spots and dents, as well as any cracks, tears in rubber or leaks. Use the dipstick to check the engine oil, as well as the coolant, anti-freeze and so on.

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  • Inside the car

 

Inside the car, check the upholstery for rips and tears, adjust all seats and check their mechanisms. If the car can drop its seats to free up more boot space, check they fold correctly and that it’s easy to do.

 

  • Lights

 

Check that all lights on the car are in full working order, including indicators, sidelights, main headlights, full beam settings, fog lights and brake lights.

 

  • Buttons and dials

 

Once you turn the car on and you’ve check the lights, go through every dial and button in front of you. Check no warning signs appear on the dashboard, as well as everything from the windscreen wipers and washer fluid, to the radio.

 

  • Mileage

 

Does the figure given match the original description, and does it match the seller’s story? If you’re told it belonged to an old lady who barely used it, but the mileage is far more than you’d expect, they could be lying. Similarly, if the car’s mileage is way higher than normal for an average car of its age, ask the seller why. Walk away if you’re not satisfied.

 

  • Don’t go alone

 

Finally, don’t go alone to a car viewing or test drive. Not only does it help to have a second opinion, but it’s safer when going to see an independent seller in case they become aggressive.

Do you have anything to add to this checklist?