How to test a used car before buying it?

buying a car

When you want to buy a used vehicle, you are in a hurry to sit behind the wheel. However, certain points must be checked before committing. A few tips to avoid mistakes.

The way the ad is worded is important. It must be complete, including the make, year, model, condition and mileage of the vehicle. The price must also appear clearly. Be that as it may, do not hesitate to test the seller’s good faith by asking him specific questions about the car for sale. This will also give you an idea of ​​the attention he pays to his vehicle.

Checks to be carried out when stopped

The examination of the stationary vehicle is essential and must be carried out in broad daylight. If you don’t have a lot of mechanical knowledge, try to bring someone with more experience to accompany you.

If you make your purchase from a professional , the checks are necessarily carried out during the day. In addition, the reputation of the latter is engaged, as well as his professional liability, so it is unlikely that he will offer you a car in poor condition.

The points to check are:

Air conditioning: to check that it is working, make sure that there is a slight drop in engine speed when you start the compressor. After a few seconds, the cold should be evacuated through the vents. If this is not the case, you will have to add refrigerant gas or, more annoying, replace the compressor.

Floor mats: in addition to being clean, floor mats must be free of moisture. Do not hesitate to lift them to check that there are no stains that could reveal sealing problems.

Covers: Covers may have been placed to hide snags, holes or stains. Lift them up to inspect what’s underneath. If the seats are not impeccable, it is not necessarily a reason to pass your way but you can negotiate a lower price .

The spare wheel: check that it is present.

The trailer hitch: if the vehicle has one, it may have had to tow heavy loads. The clutch and the engine can therefore be impacted.

Engine checks

An engine cannot be perfectly clean. Do not panic if it has traces of oozing. On the other hand, if you notice an oil leak with a stain under the car, beware . This does not necessarily indicate a very problematic fault, but its origin can be difficult to determine.

With regard to the battery, be aware that its terminals must not be covered with a dry and whitish material. This indeed shows that the car has been poorly maintained and may be associated with starting problems.

The hoses are rubber pipes that allow the liquids necessary for the proper functioning of the engine to circulate . They must be airtight, without drips or traces of leakage. They also need to be free of signs of wear like blistering and cracking if you don’t want to have to change them sooner than expected.

Finally, check that the vehicle’s radiator is not leaking (presence of whitish liquid on the engine). If this is the case, it is indeed necessary to do the levels more often , which tends to scale the tubes and make the cooling of the engine less efficient.

During the test drive

It is strongly recommended to test drive a car before buying it. This test is necessarily offered when contacting a dealer . On the other hand, if you buy a second-hand car from a private individual, he may refuse it to you, citing insurance problems or a fear of being robbed. If so, look no further.

Once at the wheel of the car, pay attention to the noise of the engine, which must be as regular as possible, and to the smells. Suspicious sounds, such as popping, whistling, squeaking, or metallic noises, should alert you, as should burning, oil, gasoline, or exhaust odors .

There is a simple method to test the clutch . You have to apply the handbrake when you are at a standstill, then shift into third gear before releasing the clutch. If the vehicle slips, jerks when starting or stalls, this is a bad sign. This can indeed mean that the clutch disc needs to be changed or that the flywheel is worn.

To check that the steering is working , let go of the steering wheel slightly and make sure that it does not vibrate, that there are no clicks and that the car does not veer to one side or the other. of the road. Also check that it responds immediately to the action of the steering wheel when cornering.

It is essential that the brakes act immediately when you press the pedal because they are the ones that ensure your safety . To test them, make sure the road is clear and there is no other driver behind you . If the brakes of the vehicle whistle, it is not necessarily serious but you are strongly advised to inspect them visually. Also ask the seller when the discs and pads were changed.

If the vehicle has a manual transmission, the gears should be easy to shift without creaking or jerking. Also, if you hear humming, be aware that this indicates worn gears or bearings .

Finally, check that the vehicle does not pitch too much when cornering and that its front end does not dive too much when you brake. This allows you to ensure that the shock absorbers are in good condition .

Before going to test drive a used vehicle , do not hesitate to prepare a list of all the points to check . Also, take your time and if you see that the seller doesn’t like it, there’s no need to go further . By following these few tips , you should avoid unpleasant surprises and scams.



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