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You should check as much of the car as you can, outside, underneath and, where possible, inside. Check for rust on all metal body panels. Untreated stone chips and scratches can trigger rust. You should also look for evidence of crash damage, and more importantly, evidence of poor repairs.

Take a look at the gaps between each panel. The thickness of the gap should be uniform all around the car.

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used car checklist

Pay special attention to the front and rear of the car, as this is where low-speed shunts often occur. Lift up the boot carpet. The panels below should be straight and ripple-free.

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Bent panels under the bonnet can indicate a previous front-end crash. This further external check is important to ensure any used buy already has a decent set of tyres. Check all four wheels , plus the spare wheel if it has one. Look for signs of damage to each wheel. Check all of the tyres too.

Tips on buying a used car

The tread should be at least 1. Uneven tyre wear - where one side of the tyre is more worn than the other - can indicate poor wheel or suspension alignment. That could be caused by a crash, or simply hitting a pothole at speed, but will need fixing. Tyres that are worn excessively around the middle of the tyre, or around both edges point to consistent under- or over-inflation and will need replacing. Check for rips or tears in the upholstery, holes drilled in the dashboard and a sagging rooflining.

How To Make Your Car Last A Long Time - Simple Checks

Budget for repairs if you spot anything. Make sure the boot carpet is dry in case of any leaks, and do the same for footwell carpets both front and back.

1. Do some general used car research

Cars are increasingly loaded with technology, and this can quite easily go wrong. Also check that the radio, infotainment system, climate control, windows, central locking and any other gadgets work as advertised. With the visual checks done, the next key step is to take a test drive. Any good dealer will be happy to accompany you on a drive. Try the vehicle at a variety of speeds, and listen out for the engine noise and any irritating rattles.

Make sure the brakes and clutch are responsive and in full working order, too. The holy grail of used car purchases is a folder crammed with receipts for work carried out. A service book is a valuable document too, as you can see who has serviced the car, and when. Take a look at past MoT certificates too. The mileage should go up by a similar amount each year. This will tell you if the car has been written off , subject to outstanding finance or has been recorded as stolen.

The checks are cheap, take a few minutes and offer huge peace of mind.


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Sign up for our daily newsletter Newsletter. User menu. Choose a model. Used car checklist: what to look for when buying a second-hand car. Related keywords: Used Car Guide. For more breaking car news and reviews, subscribe to Auto Express - available as a weekly magazine and on your iPad. Most read 1. News Electric cars with the longest range 2. Buying a used car can be daunting.

Thankfully, there are many resources and tools that can help you make an educated buying decision. Take the guesswork out of car shopping by following these used car buying tips and reviewing our used car inspection checklist. Here is a quick overview of the steps you should take:. Once you have your list, do research on each car model to find out common defects, repair costs and price points when they begin to age.

You may want to consider paying even more upfront, as pre-owned vehicles can often need more repairs in a short period of time than a newer car would.

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In addition to repair costs, it is also a good idea to research car insurance quotes and how much gas the vehicle will use. You will also need to decide if you want to purchase your car as used or certified pre-owned CPO. A CPO vehicle will cost more, but will come with extended warranties and a number of additional services. Aside from dealerships, you can find great deals on used cars at local public auctions and on used car websites. Each source has its merits:. When contacting a dealer or an individual seller, get as much information about the used car as possible.

Before taking it for a spin, make sure to carefully inspect it and check for anything that could potentially lead to headaches in the future.

Checklist for buying a second hand car - The Economic Times

This means checking the exterior for signs of body repair, damage, rust, and the shape of the tires, as well as the interior for any strange odors, wears in the upholstery, and the functionality of the controls. You will also want to remember to look underneath the hood to make sure everything works properly. If possible, take the car to a mechanic for a more detailed diagnosis. Test the car both in a large parking lot and on a road where you can drive the vehicle above 60 mph. To properly assess the used car, take your time when doing a test drive, testing out all of the components, including:.

Some sellers may not disclose major problems to the buyer. Car salesmen will almost always counteroffer with a higher price, so start with a realistic low offer.