So you've turned up to your shiny, fresh set of wheels. You've seen it, you've planned it, you've fantasised about road trips, nights out with friends, paying car your first car tax bill... you've fallen in love. Ok now STOP. It's very easy to let your heart rule your head when looking at buying a used car, but it's really important you don't get in over your head. So we've handily put together a checklist of things to look for on that dreamy, dreamy used Fiesta...
Scuffs and scratches are not really too much of an issue - it's expected on use cars to a certain extent. It's very easy to use this to gauge how open and honest your seller is being with other details too. If they are trying to 'dodge' certain, and very visible issues, how open will they be with more hidden ones?
Check carefully for panel gaps between bodywork. They will show dodgy repair work, or worse, crashes that have bent the frame or brackets. Treat these carefully, and always get a second opinion from a professional if anything looks dodgy.
Check all the fluid levels. Get under the bonnet, check you engine oil, brake and coolant levels. They should all be within tolerance, and if not, it's something that shows you how well the car was cared for. Keep the result of this in mind when you name your price.
While you're there, check the engine oil consistency. If it is a gross mayonnaise looking colour, then it means that coolant has mixed with engine oil, and you have a dodgy head gasket / seal that needs replacing.
Jump in the front seat and turn on the ignition. Run through all the switches, the on, lights, wipers. Press every button, and twist every knob. Take your time in there! If there is something not working as it should be that s not not detrimental to driving the car, you can use in your favour when it comes to negotiating a price.
A chip in glass will go from tiny to a big crack over time, and should not be overlooked. Once again, negotiate it into your price. It's very dangerous to drive around with a chipped windshield, and it's an MOT failure is it's in your line of sight. Get it sorted!
I guess this one comes down to personal preference. But how dirty is the interior? Can you cope with a certain stain? does anything smell dodgy? Is anything being masked or hidden?
Make sure you check the general wear and tear of the interior of the car against the stated mileage. If the mileage is low but the interior is seen better days, then walk away! It's not worth the risk.
This is by all measurements the most important thing to check when buying a used car, so we are just sticking it in first. Tyres are boring , but quality rubber with plenty of life is will keep you safe. Check the tread, how much depth is there? The legal limit on car is 1.6 mm, at the time of writing, and you should definitely be checking the Gov website for up to date info. If the tyres are awful, you should try to haggle in a reduction to cover this.
So there you go! The Ultimate List For Buying a Used Car. Armed with this new knowledge, you should have everything you need to make more informed choices when buying a used car.
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