This is a sign of excessive internal engine wear. Check the bodywork and underside of the car for rust. Look at the exhaust system; does it look like it needs replacing soon? While under the bonnet, look for signs of flaking paint and rust around the panel joints at the front of the car. This could denote repairs that were made after crash damage.
Does the wear on the interior of the car match the mileage on the odometer? A low-mileage car with very worn seats and pedals could have been clocked.
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Open and close the doors to check they work correctly, and examine the rubber seals for signs of paint, another indication of crash-damage repairs. Look down the side of the car to see if all the panels and bodywork line up smoothly. Be suspicious of wavy panels or cars with uneven gaps between panels. When on a test drive, the brakes should feel responsive and provide adequate stopping power when travelling at speed.
Check all items work correctly, including electric components. This should include windows, sunroofs and electrically adjustable seats, as well as the stereo and infotainment system. Got a motoring question? Our experts are standing by to help, just tweet us your question using askwhatcar. For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car?
Finding out how much you want to spend was the easy part, now you need to identify the right used car for you.
Used Car Checklist | Pecheles VW
Step back and look at both lists when deciding on which used car to buy. It will allow you to separate the must-haves from really-wants. This way you can make smart trade-off decisions. An easy way to know what to check when buying a used car is to bring along a friend who knows cars.
He or she will possibly spot red flags. If the seller objects, odds are there is something wrong with the vehicle. Check to see if the vehicle rests properly on level ground. If the car leans to one side, it might indicate a binding shock absorber or strut, a bad spring or torsion bar, bent suspension parts, or even a twisted chassis.
All of these can lead to major ongoing repairs. Rust on the vehicle indicates a breakdown of metal. Over time, rust can eat through the door, floorboards, body, frame, and chassis. Black spots or greasy grime on the exhaust are big red flags. If white vapor is coming from the exhaust, you could have a blown head gasket or be burning oil. Checking the frame will reveal if the car has been in an accident and is one of the most important items on the checklist for buying a used car.
Look for chips or cracks in the glass. A tiny windshield chip might not seem like a big deal, but it could spread, causing poor visibility or shattering in an accident. Some states have laws making it illegal to drive with a cracked windshield. Understand the smog or emissions restrictions where you live to make sure the vehicle fits the requirements. Repairing emissions is challenging even for veteran technicians and can be costly.
The penalty fee for not being compliant will hurt your wallet even more. View this video to learn how to check car fluids, belts, and perform full under-hood inspection. Dark brown oil stains on the engine block indicate a leaky oil pan gasket. Check to see if the previous owner has documentation of oil changes, radiator flushes, any repairs, or any other regularly required maintenance.
Inspection Checklist for Buying a Used Car
The radiator hoses should not be soft or cracked. A bad radiator hose could burst, causing extensive damage to your vehicle. Make sure belts are in good condition as well.
Make sure this one is at the top of checklist when looking at a used car. This is a must-check when buying a used car. The transmission fluid should be pink or red. It may appear darker in older cars, but the fluid should never look black or smell burnt. Transmission fluid level should also be full. If the transmission stops working, it may be more cost-effective to buy another car than repair the damaged car. Any musty, moldy, or mildew smell could indicate water leaks or damage requiring repairs. Mold is a health hazard and may be hard to get out of the car. Any acidic smoke could indicate the car was owned by a smoker.
This smell can be difficult to eliminate. Make sure the seats move and have no unsightly stains or odors. Will you be comfortable driving with the amount of head and leg room? If not, keep looking. Do any lights stay lit on the dashboard? It could be due to a temporary condition such as a change in humidity or an unsecured gas cap.
The Ultimate Checklist for Buying a Used Car
Generally, the latter is much more serious. A mechanic can tell you the cause by running a simple diagnostic test. Check the Brakes Thoroughly Does the brake pedal vibrate? Does stepping on the brakes cause squealing or scraping sounds?
If so, the car will require a brake repair or entire replacement. Loading content For most Kiwis buying a car is a major purchase. But never fear, Consumer Protection is here. It includes:. Motor vehicle traders must attach an accurate and reliable Consumer Information Notice CIN to any second-hand vehicle, where the transaction takes place. They also have to provide you with a copy of the CIN, and ask you to sign it when you buy a used vehicle. If there is money owing on a vehicle you purchase then you risk losing it — whether or not the security interest is disclosed.
You can find out if there is a valid security interest registered on the vehicle by using the PPSR mobile-friendly search. In this case, you should give the seller a signed and dated letter stating that the vehicle will not be driven on the road except for the purpose of getting a new WOF this is a protection for the seller. When the car you want is too far away, you might be tempted to buy it without seeing it and have it delivered.