How To Buy A Second Hand Vehicle

Is your car falling apart and as unreliable as the weather, then it is definitely time for a new car? However, since the global recession has left most of us cash strapped and counting out pennies, what do you do?

The trick is to buy a second hand car. While second hand car markets have a bad rap with dodgy second hand salesmen -, there are a few tips and tricks to avoid buying a useless car.

Here are five things to look for when buying a used car:

Check The Vehicle is Level:

The first thing that you need to look at when purchasing a second hand car is if the vehicle is level on the ground. How to check this: simply park the vehicle on a flat piece of ground and then take a walk around the vehicle and look if the vehicle is sagging at one of the wheels. This sagging is a good indication that the vehicles suspension is broken or damaged. To test if this is true, simply walk around the vehicle pushing on the four corners and listen for weird noises when you push down on the car.

Check The Service Book:

Before buying the first car you see, review the service history. A full service history guarantees you that the car has not missed a service and is well looked after. This document also allows you to check on the vehicle at the service garage to find out if there are any major faults or if the vehicle has been in any accidents.

Check The Body Work:

The next thing to look at is the vehicles body work. Have a close look at the panels on the car. First, if the panels do not line up, then there is a good chance that this vehicle has been in an accident and the panels have needed replacement. Second, look for any rust marks on the vehicle. Rust will damage your vehicles bodywork and is very pricy to fix. Third, have a close look around the vehicle for any scraps or dents in the car. Poor bodywork condition will cost you a fortune to fix and the resale value is very lower, so ensure that you search for a vehicle with a well maintained body.

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Check under the Bonnet:

The engine will tell you a lot about the car. Have a look under the vehicles bonnet and look for any rust spots on the engine, possible leaks and cracks in the pipes and that the VIN number is correct. This is a good time to start the vehicle and have a listen to the engine. A useful tip: have someone cover the exhaust (simply put a shoe over the exhaust). Remember a hole in the exhaust is costly to replace, will decrease the cars performance and decrease your fuel consumption. Furthermore, when listening to the engine, pay close attention to how the car idles. If the car shakes or splutters, then there is something wrong with the engine and you should not purchase the car.

Check the Upholstery:

The fifth and final thing that needs to be on your check list is the vehicles upholstery. Look for any tears in the seat covers, the roof, carpets or side panels on the car. The material should not have any tears, rips, stains or signs of damage. Furthermore, have a look at the cars dashboard. Ensure that the dashboard is not damaged or broken and that all lights, buttons and switches are in proper working condition.

When looking at used cars, be sure to take these five things into consideration: the vehicles levelling, service history, bodywork, engine and upholstery. Once you are satisfied with these five areas of the car, you can then take the vehicle for a test drive. Remember, in order to not overpay for this vehicle, speak to a local car dealership about the specific car make and model book value.

I am Greg Jones, a gym nut, sports enthusiast, businessmen and family man. My eldest daughter recently started university and as a result we needed to buy her a car. I was not in the market for a new car, so I researched tips and tricks on purchasing a second hand car and then armed with that knowledge, approached the local used cars Cape Town dealerships. I found a fantastic little Ford Figo for my daughter, she is over the moon for having a vehicle and I can sleep soundly knowing that I bought her a safe and reliable vehicle to commute in and out of varsity.

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