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What to Look for When Buying a Used Car

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Buying a used car can be a daunting process. If you’re not mechanically minded, you often won’t be able to tell if there is something wrong with the car you’re looking at before it is too late.

These problems, intentionally hidden or otherwise, can be time consuming and distressing to rectify which may well put you off buying used for good. It shouldn’t, as there are steps you can take to make sure that whatever you do buy serves you well for years to come. Below we’ll list these steps to make your car buying experience one to remember.

  • Carefully Look Over the Interior and Exterior

Your first clue in ascertaining how a car has been treated is by assessing its condition. The exterior should be free from scratches, marks and dents. If the paintwork is noticeably marked, use this as a bargaining chip as bodywork is very expensive to put right. You’re also looking for any signs of accident damage which has been repaired.

On the inside, make sure that the interior is clean, odour free and devoid of any damage. The usual things to look out for are missing buttons on the centre console, broken switchgear such as indicator stalks and burns or tears in the seats.

  • Take a Look Under the Bonnet

Newer cars often come with engine covers that obscure a lot of components within the engine bay, but have a look for any obvious signs of fluid leaks, especially oil and coolant. These will often leave stains that are difficult to hide.

Check the oil using the dipstick and make sure it is golden brown in colour. Black oil is fine on a diesel model but could point to very old oil in a petrol engine car. You’re also checking to see the oil level is correct and not low or too high.

  • Test Drive

Your next step is the test drive. Aim to take the car onto a variety of different roads so that you can assess the car’s behaviour at different speeds. Some problems only become apparent at speeds over 50mph so a run down a motorway or dual carriageway is a must.

Listen for any knocks and bangs which suggest suspension issues. Also keep an eye on the rear-view mirror for smoke from the exhaust. On any car built within the last 10 years, you shouldn’t be able to see any smoke at all.

  • Pay for An Inspection

If none of the above sounds appealing then consider paying for an independent mechanic to check the car over for you. The leading breakdown companies offer such a service at a reasonable cost and will provide you with a checklist of items assessed as well as their condition.

Buying a used car doesn’t have to be stressful. Dealerships such as Sandal Wakefield BMW and others in West Yorkshire offer an approved used scheme where they only stock the best vehicles within their network. These cars will have already been checked comprehensively before being offered for sale to the public.

All dealerships and used gar garages are required to provide a warranty by law. If a car that you have bought has recently failed, contact the vendor for advice and give them the opportunity to rectify the problem before committing to any repairs yourself.

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