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March 21st, 2017 by


Buying a car is one of the most important financial steps of your life. A car will usually be in your life for the next four to six years, depending on what contract you sign. Choosing the right car can be the difference between four years of blissful driving, or four years of heartbreaking costs. Make sure that you have everything you need before going in and signing your life away for a vehicle.

CLICK BELOW to read the previous article in this series regarding deciding what car to buy.

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What To Look For When Viewing a Car

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Inspect The Exterior

  • If the car has been in a major accident and has been covered up, it can affect the vehicle itself. A chronic accident that has been well covered up can affect the entire chassis of a car.
  • Check for different paint colours on different panels. It is sometimes tough to match the exact paint colour and it can be off by a mere shade.
  • Run your fingers along the aligning panels. These are the gaps in between the doors and each panel. Should they be skew or mismatched, the car could have been in an accident.
  • Look closely at the quality of the paint and metal. Tilt your head for it to catch the sun. Is it somewhat bumpy and rippled? This could be a result of panel beating.
  • Check the tyres for wear and tear, as well as the alignment.
  • Check tread and whether or not all tyres are balanced.
  • Try all of the lights: brakes, indicators, headlights, and rear lights.

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Inspect The Interior

  • How worn are the seats?
  • Are the steering wheel, gear stick, and pedals still in good quality?
  • Are there burn marks in the car?
  • Do the dash lights work when you turn the car on, and do any remain on?
  • Try the gear box to see if it makes a noise when you change gears.
  • Check the air-conditioning to see if it works.

Check Under The Car

  • Take a look to see if there are any drips. Ask for the car to be moved and check again, as they can blame it on other cars.
  • Check for rust, wear, or damage.
  • Make sure to check the exhaust for rust or damage and to ensure that it is intact.

Pop The Bonnet

  • Check for signs of rust, wear, or damage.
  • Check the hoses and belts to see whether they are worn, cracked, soft, or damaged.
  • Take out the oil dipstick. If there is foam residue, leave the car.
  • Make sure there are no leaks in the engine.
  • The transmission fluid should also be pink or red.
  • Have a look at the timing belt as this could be the most expensive to repair.
  • Check the fluid levels: brake, coolant, oil, windscreen wiper, etc.

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Check The Mileage

  • Make sure you start the car and check the mileage.
  • Cross reference this with the age of the car. If the mileage is exceedingly high for the age of the car, it might have been excessively used and might need more maintenance.
  • Is there a major service due? The previous owner could be selling the car due to an expensive upcoming service, which may cost you thousands!

Next Up: Test Driving The Car.