When preparing to purchase any vehicle, whether new or used, you expect to receive a car that is road-worthy. However, many car owners find they are unhappy with their purchase just a few weeks after the deal has been made. To avoid such a pitfall, there are seven checks that should be made on any car before it is purchased.
- General appearance of the outside of the car is important. Slight imperfections and damage to used cars can hide larger structural or mechanical problems. The dealer may offer you a “great deal” on the car because of a small dent, but look at the damage closely before agreeing to buy.
- The tyres are among the most important parts of the car. Make a visual inspection of each one, first ensuring that all four are of the same brand and style. Having mixed brands and styles on the same car can lead to tyre failure due to imbalance issues. Also, make certain there is plenty of tread left on each tyre and that tread wear has been even.
- Open the hood and check the engine for obvious signs of neglect. Used cars are occasionally traded for newer ones after the previous owners have subjected them to a hard life. A dirty engine as well as signs of oil seepage or leaking coolant should be carefully considered.
- While you have the hood open, check all fluid levels. Low levels could be a sign of neglect as well as a potential leak. An oil leak, if not repaired early, can lead to engine scoring and eventual power loss. It’s best to avoid purchasing a car that has an oil leak.
- The drive belt is located just behind the radiator and cooling fan. Carefully inspect this belt (with the engine off) to determine if any cracks or tears may be found. If the belt seems worn, ask the dealer if he would be willing to replace the built before you made the purchase.
- Turn on the car and listen carefully. Any strange noise should be questioned immediately. If the dealer cannot give an answer as to what has caused the noise, move to the next car.
- Never purchase a car without driving it first. It is important to drive any prospective car for at least half an hour at varying speeds, starting at low speed such as seen in a city and increasing to full highway speed. Note how the car handles and whether any vibrations are present. This check can be the final determiner as to whether you make the purchase.