Motoring

Car inspection checklist to tick off when buying a used car

Know what to look out for when you’re thinking of buying a preloved car to help you make the best decision. 

Hoping to buy a preloved car, but struggling to know where to start or what to look out for while car shopping? We’ve got you covered!

It goes without saying that the first step is to figure out your budget, and remember to include additional costs like car insurance, car maintenance and fuel costs. Once you’ve got your budget planned out, use this checklist from MotorHappy to help you find your ideal next car:

  1. Check the car’s service history against the manufacturer’s maintenance period recommendations.
  2. Open the bonnet and look for visible oil leaks around and below the engine, inspect the electrical wiring in the engine compartment for burnt wires or damaged sleeving, inspect the coolant reservoir and pressure cap for leaks and cracked hoses. Also inspect the coolant level to ensure that it is correct, and that it contains anti-freeze.
  3. Check the body for misaligned panels, uneven gaps, or mismatched paint. These are signs of potential accident damage.
  4. Inspect the tyres. Uneven wear is a sign of unbalanced wheels, misaligned suspension, or worn shock absorbers. If possible, turning the tyres all the way to one side allows you to look at the brake pads. Check or question if these still have an acceptable life.
  5. Start the engine while listening (and feeling) for any “out of place” noises or vibrations at start up, while idling, or when it is revved.
  6. Look at the wear and tear on the carpet, pedal rubber and gear stick.  These should match the mileage of the car.   
  7. Go for a proper test drive: Not just around the dealership, take it onto a highway as well. Make sure you concentrate on the sounds the engine makes (so turn off the radio), the “feel” of the clutch and gearbox, whether the basics such as indicators, wipers, radio, air con, hazard warning lights, windows and doors, fuel gauge, odometer, speedometer and seat belts all work properly, and check that no warning lights are illuminated.

Before making your final decision, look beyond the aesthetics of the car and assess its worth based on safety, comfort and drivability. Is the car a good lifestyle fit? If you have children or an adventurous lifestyle, check that the car fits all your gear.

For more information, visit Get It Magazine.

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