Thursday, September 26, 2013

How to buy a better used car -- a checklist

Buying a used car can land you a value-for money bargain or a nightmare with continual break-downs. To help you evaluate the condition of a used car, use the checklist below to check the usual problem areas in the limited time you have to examine it. Remember to inspect the car in broad daylight and not in the evening or at night. A tip from the pros: Putting a piece of card-board under the engine after the test drive will help show fluid leaks. By the time you have gone through the checklist, you should know the condition of the car at least as well as the owner does.

1. Are door edges rusty or torn?
2. Do the doors, bonnet, and trunk open and close freely?
(Problems here may indicate a previous accident)
3. Are bumpers dented or rusty? Are theylevel?
4. Is the paint on the different panels of the same shade?
5. Is there any rust or hole at the bottom of the trunk and side wells?
6. Are the rubber parts and seals cracked?
7. Are tyres bald or cracked or bulging?
8. Are the rims rusty, bent or cracked? Are they all the same?
9. Are any headlamps or signal lampsbroken or cracked?
10. Is the exhaust system rusty?

1. Is the engine clean?
2. Has the engine been modified? If yes,why?
3. Look at the underside ofthe bonnet. Is paint blistered?
4. Check fluid levels. Any leaks?
5. Are the V-belts frayed or cracked?
6. Is the radiator corroded?

1. Is anything torn, broken or patched?
2. Is it rusty under the carpets?
3. Can both front seats be adjusted?
4. Is the dashboard cracked?
5. Is the windshield chipped or cracked?
6. Do all windows open and close?
7. Turn the steering left and right. Is it okay?
8. Depress the brake pedal. Does it feel right?
9. Depress the clutch pedal. Does it feel right?
9. Do the headlights work?
10. Do the signal lights work?
11. Do the windshield wipers work?
12. Does the air-con work?
13. Do the safety belts work?
14. Is the interior of the boot rusty?
15. Is there a jack and a spare tyre?
16. Are the threads on the spare tyre worn out?

Switch on ignition but don't start engine.
1. Temperature light on?
2 Oil warning light on?
3 Charge warning light on?

Start the engine
l. Are all instruments and gauges working?
2. Depress the clutch several times. Any noises?
3. Switch off the engine. Does it restart?
4. Test the hand brake against the engine. Works?
5. Pull forward. Get out of and check for leaks on the ground.
6. Put the car in reverse. Does it work? What about reverse lights?
7. Drive away. How does the car ride? Soft or hard?
8. Is acceleration smooth?
9. Any noises or vibrations when accelerating?
10.Any unusual engine noises or vibrations when cruising?
11. Any problems changing gears?
12.Dive up a hill. Is the power okay?
13.Drive along a long wall. Hear any unusual sounds?
14. Any noise or vibrations when decelerating?
15 Make two tight 360 turns each way. Any noises?
16. Take your hands off the steering Does the car runs straight? (Warning: try this only in a deserted car park )
17. Go over a few bumps. Is the suspension okay?
18. Negotiate sharp corners. Is the handling okay?
19.Let the engine idle for a few minutes. Is the temperature stable?
20.Parallel park the car. Is the steering loose or tight?

1. Open the bonnet. Hear or see anything unusual?
2. Does the engine seem too hot?
3. Does it restart when warm?

Most important of all, check that the chassis and engine numbers tally with those in the registration book. One last piece of advice: never ever buy a used car on impulse -- shop around.


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