Not every driver can afford a new car from the salon, especially in times of crisis. It is not a problem, because on secondary market there is a high chance to find an excellent alternative to a new car, in some senses even superior to it according to certain parameters. But will there be any unpleasant surprises for a buyer?
In fact, it depends only on how competent will be the inspection of the car before buying.
General Rules for Inspection of a Used Car
Buying a car, whether new or from hand, is always a joyful event that you want to carry through the years, experiencing the most incredible adventures with your new “iron friend”, but no problems at all.
In order that the solemnity of the deal and continue to bring positive emotions, it is important to remember a few important points just before the purchase:
- Even if you like the car, it is not the last copy. There is no need to chase after supposedly one of the few well-preserved cars of 2008-2010 – most likely it is just a trick of the seller, because if they want to sell you this car at any cost, most likely there is something wrong with it.
- Demand that the owner of the car meet during daylight hours, because otherwise you risk missing very important moments – for example, welding where it should not be, painted body elements, rust signs, signs of drowning or an accident and much more.
- Be sure to ask who will sell the car – the owner or his legal representative. Do not forget that you will not be able to make any claims to the representative after the purchase, and the former owner participated in the transaction only formally, and with him too, there can be no demand.
- Ask the owner of the car to give you enough time for inspection and not to distract you with irrelevant conversations. The first inspection is an extremely important procedure during which you can learn a lot about the car and its owner. For example, if the seller keeps bringing new buyers who keep praising the car, it is a very bad sign, and it is better to refuse the deal.
- At the earliest stages of the conversation find out all the pros and cons of the car in question. Thus it will be possible to judge the honesty of the seller while getting acquainted with the car. And the more disadvantages the owner will name himself, the more likely the car in general will be good.
It is never superfluous to invite a friend to the important meeting, who knows more about cars than you do, and who can reduce the price if the car is really good – or on the contrary, convince you to refuse to buy it. Sometimes, getting into the mood, buyers make a fatal mistake on emotion, which they regret later.
Check the car for legal clarity
It may seem strange, but people in our age of swindlers and speculators completely forget about the elementary precautionary measures when buying such an important object, as a car.
And the catch can wait in the most unexpected places – for example, in peculiarities of family life of the seller.
Make sure you ask the owner of the vehicle, whether he is married or divorced. In the first case you should demand the consent of your spouse for the sale of jointly acquired property, in the second case – the court decision on the property division.
In this case, the decision should enter into legal force, and from the moment of the verdict – take a month. You can find out about possible appeals in this case by calling the court at the phone number listed in the document. If no appeals have been filed within the one-month period, then the spouse is no longer entitled to the car. Complicated? But safe!
Encumbrances in the form of loans are also dangerous, because under the law a car purchased in this way can be confiscated in favor of the bank, and all the claims the buyer can send only to the seller, and that is a long and complicated process.
Moreover, there is always the risk of acquiring a car that is stolen. This is the most unfortunate development, as it may not always be clear who to sue if the vehicle is seized in favor of its current owner.
Checking the car for an accident
It’s time to finally get to know the car in terms of its technical condition, which may have been compromised as a result of the accident.
We have not in vain left this procedure last, because if in the first two cases, during examination and legal verification, significant faults are revealed in the car, it would be logical to refuse from the purchase and find another, more suitable option.
The main and most expensive thing that can suffer as a result of an accident is the body. There is a very simple way to find out if the car was painted, because nowadays experienced masters can fool even the thickness gauge, but not the human eye.
Stand from the right side of the hood first, and then from the left side, and look at the side plane of the car at a blunt angle. Heterogeneity of paint will catch the eye at once – this method is often used by car pickers, and it never fails.
Next, you should check the running gear. To do it yourself, drive the car on a rough road in total silence. A technically serviceable car should not make any alarming squeaks, knocks or rattle when you turn the steering wheel.
If everything is OK here, look at the side members from underhood space, and also through turned out wheel. The corrosion marks are not as bad as the non-factory welding spots. This can only indicate that the car was involved in a serious accident.
Also a bad accident can give away body geometry. To check it, compare the dimensions of the gaps on the right side of the car and on the left side. There must not be considerable difference.
Especially, the places, bordering a hood to fenders right near a windshield, are more distinct. In a direct collision, these regions are damaged most of all, and any discrepancies in geometry should alert.
Check the cowl fastening points – there must be no traces of unscrewed bolts and bent or cracked hinges – everything must be in original paint, without deformation and serious differences from right and left sides.
On a relatively fresh car, the replacement of heater radiator must alert at once, and rough welding around “TV set”, body frame under a hood, and especially obvious signs of deformation must be absent. If everything is in order, most likely, the car has not been involved in an accident, and it is possible to consider it for purchase.
Sometimes an accident ends with the car drowning, for instance, in a river or a lake. To quickly check the “drowned” car, close all the windows and doors, start the engine and turn on the heater. In the car, that has been under water, the abundant condensate will start to form on the windows almost immediately – such purchase should not be made under any circumstances.
Checking power units
We are interested in the engine and gearbox. It is possible to check the condition of the engine simply enough – to listen to its work for 10-15 minutes. Both in cold, and in hot condition, the engine must work smoothly and accurately, without bumps and extraneous sounds.
Another way to be sure of the motor serviceability is to check its brains. They will give you much more information at a professional dealer’s stand, knowing if the mileage is real and what kind of errors the engine had in the past and what conclusions can be made about its technical state now.
When inspecting, be sure to check the condition of the oil seals, gaskets, hoses and clamps. If the car has been looked after, everything must be clean and dry, without any evident traces of leaks.
Automatic transmission, despite the complexity of its construction, can be precisely checked for serviceability. For this purpose it is enough to look at the oil condition with a dipstick. The oil should smell of oil, but not of burnt paper – if such smell is present, your automatic transmission will soon ask for a very expensive repair.
If the oil is watery, it most likely has not been changed for a long time, or the car was in sleep for a long time, that also negatively affects the “automatic”. It is better not to buy such automobile.
Then it is necessary to get in the car, press the brake and drive the rocker “Forward” and “Backwards”. An operating unit will not make a sound at that and that can only mean one thing – the box is good, you can buy it.
The most frequent malfunction of mechanical gearboxes is the rumble of primary shaft bearings, worn clutch and discontinuously working gears. It is enough to drive the car around the city for diagnostics. Strange behavior of a box will give it away literally at once. If there are doubts, refuse from purchase.