HOW TO AVOID BUYING A LEMON BY USING OUR BUYERGUIDE BELOW.....
An old wise man with a strange hat once told me "time spend on reconnaissance is time seldom wasted" - which when translated into buying a used car means "a little preparation can save you a lot of money and frustration". Seriously, if you are spending thousands of pounds its worth following a few simple points to help you avoid being dissapointed with your purchase......so i hope you find this buyerguide useful.
Before seeing the car:
- If it is a private sale make sure you view the car at the sellers premises - this will help determine if the seller is genuine
- Always ask the seller to make sure the car is cold when you come to view it - warm engines can hide a multitude of sins
How to check the mechanics:
- Before the car is warmed up check for a film of oil in the radiator - the presence of oil would signify internal engine leaks or a blown head gasket
- Make sure the oil on the dipstick is smooth and has no bits in it or milky scum - again this could mean internal engine leaks
- On starting from cold make sure the engine does not turn over sluggishly - this could mean a worn starter and or starter motor.
- Check for oil leaks around the engine and on the ground where the car has been stood - any leaks could indicate expensive gasket replacement
Body and interior:
- Worn drivers seat, pedal rubbers, and a shiney steering wheel all indicate a high mileage car - check these appear consistent with the indicated mileage
- Evidence of scratches or tampering around the speedometer is a dead giveaway that the car has been 'clocked' and the mileage is not genuine
- Check that the tyres have 1.8mm legal tread depth and the exhaust is silent when you cover the end with a cloth whilst the car is running - both can be price negotiating points of replacements are needed
- Check that everything works such as switches, heater, a/c, windows, mirrors, stereo, interior and exterior lights - fixing any of these things can be a real pain
- On older cars check for rust on the sills and floorpan (prod carefully with a screwdriver) - unless you are friendly with a welder rot can be expensive and messy to fix.
- Check all body panels are consistent in colour and fit - if they are not it is likely that the car has been in an accident and has been repaired poorly
Road testing the car:
- With the handbrake firmly on try to set off in 1st gear. The car should stall instantly - if it does not it is likely that the clutch needs replacing
- After driving for a short while floor the throttle - a could of blue smoke out of the exhaust indicates worn bores or valve guides both of which are expensive to fix
- The car should accelerate smoothly accross the rev range - flat spots or hesitation may signify fuel injection and /or computer problems which are notoriously hard to diagnose and fix
- The car should pull away smoothly from a standing start - if it judders this may indicate oil contamination of the clutch plate and a new clutch will be needed
- take the car to at least 70mph. The car should drive straight and not pull to one side. If there is significant vibration this may indicate any one of a number of hard to diagnose problems. Do not let the seller fob you off with "its just the wheels that need balancing".
- When the car is stopped with the engine running turn the steering wheel from full lock to full lock - rough operation or hissing indicates the power steering is faulty
Finally, trust your instincts about the car and the seller and do not let your heart rule your head - if you are not happy just walk away!!
This guide is provided by Drivenandridden.com