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What to Look for When Buying a Used Car
Nov 18th, 2014 by admin

Buying a used car is a risky investment. Whilst there are bargains, buying the wrong car can result in the vehicle becoming an endless sinkhole for money. Knowledge can be a great help, and buyers should know what to look for in a used car.

Previous history

The car may be a bargain at the price. It may look great and have lots of extras. However, if it’s been stolen or HPI is owed on the vehicle, it doesn’t belong to you, and the vehicle is liable to be seized. Furthermore, the vehicle may have been written off, meaning that its value may be dramatically overstated.

An HPI check costs £19.99, and this will give you a full history of the vehicle, also helping to highlight any mileage discrepancies.

Accidents

Check for dents and scrapes, but be aware that accident damage can be hidden under new panels or a re-spray. Check for mismatched paint indicating new panels, and check door catches for signs of new paint. Door and boot catches should engage and release easily, and panels should align correctly.

Overall condition

Check the engine for excess smoke or steam, as this can indicate heavy wear or a failed head gasket. Check coolant level and engine oil which should be close to the top mark on the dipstick. Tyres should have at least 1.6mm of tread across their width. Wear should be even on both sides, as excess wear can indicate a problem with the tracking or suspension.

The brake pads should have plenty of wear left in them, as should the discs. The suspension should return smoothly to its original position when the corners of the car are pressed down.

The condition of the car should be consistent with its mileage, so check for heavy wear on pedals and seats.

Finally take a look through the car’s service history to get an overall feel for its condition.

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