Buying a second-hand car can be a smart decision given that a new car will begin to lose its value the moment it is driven off the lot. According to Bankrate.com a new car depreciates immediately after being driven off a dealer’s lot and in general, it will lose between 15% to 20% of its value every year.
Electing to buy a used car can result in a great cost saving especially as a first-time driver. Browse here for the lowest rates on car insurance.
Your Used Car Checklist: What to Look For
Before purchasing a second-hand car, make sure you do your due diligence on any potential new vehicle. This article will guide you through the main factors to consider when shopping around for a used car.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, the average person drives around 13,500 miles each year; almost 1,000 miles per month.
By dividing the number of miles on the odometer by the age of the vehicle you can get an indication of how many miles the car has driven each year. Cars with higher mileage will show greater amounts of wear and tear on car parts such as worn-out foot pedals or steering wheels. If such a car is displaying a low mileage it can indicate that the car has been ‘clocked’ and the mileage on the odometer tampered with.
Start the Engine
Always test the ignition by starting the engine. This will also give you an indication of the condition of the car as one that is difficult to start may need to have the battery replaced.
If possible, try starting the engine when it is cold, as this can reveal many engine issues that can be concealed by a warm engine. Take note of any strange noises and the length of time it takes for the car to start.
Under the Hood
Inspect the engine by looking under the hood of the car for any corrosion, leaks, worn-out or broken belts and hoses, or blown head gaskets. Check the oil color and consistency is as it should be and the oil levels on the dipstick are at the right level. Transmission fluids should also be inspected and show a dark red color.
While under the hood, look for any grease or dirt covering components which can indicate the vehicle that has been poorly maintained.
Paintwork and Damage
Check the car’s bodywork looking out for any scratches, rust, dents and paint damage. Any signs of replaced panels or mismatched paint could indicate the vehicle has been involved in an accident and not repaired properly. Check the windscreen for any cracks or chips and make sure the trunk of the car and all of the doors close and seal properly.
Take a Test Drive
A test drive will allow you to check the car’s acceleration, suspension, and steering. Drive it at various speeds, and listen for any strange or unusual noises from the engine or other parts of the car. Check the biting point of the clutch and make sure that the brakes are responsive and you can easily change the gears on a manual drive.
With these five tips in mind, you can shop around for your next car with confidence.