Making any large investment in your life requires significant research, time and effort to ensure that what you’re purchasing is the right fit for you. Buying a used car is no exception to this, and there are all sorts of elements that can go wrong, making it important to double-check with a used car buying guide before settling on your final decision.
This is the ultimate list of the 10 things you always should check when buying a used car, ensuring you’re not inheriting a vehicle that’s riddled with all sorts of problems. You’ll be able to tick these items off as you go, being confident that you’re conducting a thorough check of the car.
Age and Mileage
The primary questions that people ask when buying a used car are “How old is it?” and “how many kilometres has it done?” The benefit of knowing these is that you know at what point in the life cycle the car should generally be at. It’ll also highlight a typical price range that a car of that age and mileage would fall under. You can then compare the prices of other similar cars, giving you an idea of a fair price, so that you don’t get completely ripped off. Likewise, if the price the seller is offering is considerably lower than the average, you should proceed with caution, as this is usually an indication of some type of underlying issue.
The engine is the most important part of the car, and you’ll want to check whether the engine runs smoothly, and listen out for any unusual sounds when starting the engine or out on the test drive. You should check the engine oil as well, as you’ll want to ensure that the oil dipstick comes out with a nice honey colour to it. Or if it’s a diesel engine, seeing black oil is normal.
The costs that you could accumulate through servicing a problematic engine will quickly add up, so this is an essential thing to check and ask questions about when you’re buying a used car.
Checking the lights on a used car is something that many people often forget about, as most people will be inspecting the car or taking it for a test drive during the day. Remember that there are many different lights to check on the car including the reverse lights, indicators, taillights and of course the headlamps. If you do notice some kind of problem with one of these lights, you should enquire about whether there may be a wiring or electrical fault in the car.
No matter what type of used car you are looking at buying, check to see whether all of the tyres are in solid condition. Make sure that all the tyres are wearing evenly, and you should even check on the spare tyre to see if that is in a visibly good condition. You don’t want to be buying a car where the tread depth on the tyres is below the minimum wear indicators.
If you do notice that a tyre has significant wear on one shoulder, it could be an indicator of a suspension problem or that the wheel alignment of the car is out.
Space and Visibility
As part of the inspection of the used car, you should always check to see how much space you have in the cabin when you step in. Obviously, this will depend upon your size, but this is the time to see whether there is adequate space to comfortably and safely drive the car. Always look over your shoulders and check the visibility of the car to see if it doesn’t have any glaring issues.
While you’re checking out the space inside, make sure to take a deep dive into the interior features and check if they meet your requirements. You’ll want to see if the AC is capable of keeping you cool on those scorching hot days. If it has an infotainment system with Bluetooth, is there any connectivity options that you need to be aware of? Make sure all the windows are working and that all other electronic accessories are in order.
The seatbelts should also be comfortable and all intact, as some older seatbelts can sometimes have the tendency to become frayed over time.
Servicing any car at regular vehicles can help to prolong the life of the car, so if you find that the used car you’re wanting to buy hasn’t had a solid service history, it may be time to look elsewhere. Always check the service or logbook and verify this with the seller. This is an important time to see whether the seller has had any noticeable problems with the car in the past, or if often needs expensive repairs.
Insurance, Registration & Warranty
Checking on the motor vehicle insurance and the registration of the vehicle is an essential step before you hop in the car for a test drive, especially if you’re buying from a private seller. The benefit of buying for a dealer is that they are legally obligated to guarantee that there’s no money owing on the vehicle. Also in WA, when you buy a car from a dealer, you’ll get a three month or 5000km statutory warranty on a vehicle that’s less than 10 years old and has covered less than 150,000km.
Although you can check on the fuel efficiency of the car online, you should always verify this information with the person who has been driving the vehicle. They can tell you what type of fuel economy tricks to get the most fuel-efficient drive out of it. You might want to check other online reviews of the car to see what other car owners thought of the performance.
Get the Most out of Your Test Drive
Ultimately, you won’t be able to truly check the condition of the used car until you get on the roads for a test drive. If you can, try and take it down some quieter roads so that you can concentrate on the sounds of the car rather than ambient traffic noise. If you’re in a manual car, check to see that the clutch and gear shift operate smoothly.
You want to make sure that you like the way that the car handles, how it performs at different speeds, and whether the brakes feel nice and firm.
Perth City Skoda
It always makes sense to buy a second-hand car from a reliable dealer, particularly if you’re wanting to be sure about the quality of the vehicle you’re buying. Perth City Skoda has a number of used Skoda for sale, so be sure to enquire online today or come down and visit our dealership in person.