Advice for Buying a car
Buying a used car is rarely an easy task, from searching cars for sale sections of websites and newspapers through to negotiating a favourable price, there are many issues to watch out for. Whether it's a late-model car, a used vehicle, a private car sale or if you're buying from a car dealer a good rule is to never assume anything and if it's a very cheap car, then be suitably careful.
Firstly, do your research, you want to find the right car for your needs, so get online and see what are the best cars for sale in your price range. Once you've been successful in narrowing it down to a certain model, locate an attractive example and get in touch with the owner and find out how long they have had the car, if it's only been a short time they might be passing on a lemon. Next make sure you check the ownership and other details at Checka for a full vehicle history report. If it all checks out arrange to view the car for a closer inspection.
It's best to inspect the car during daylight hours and read over any receipts for repairs or maintenance that the owner may have. Check the car body very closely looking for signs of rust regardless of the vehicle's age. Pay particular attention to doorsills and under the vehicle's body. Look closely for visual signs of repairs like mismatched paint and misaligned body panels, you could take a magnet to check for patches of body filler.
Look behind the wheels at the springs and struts and double-check them by pushing down on the car over each wheel. Open the bonnet and check the motor oil for clarity, inspect belts for signs of wear and also the engine mounts. Look extra closely at any modifications done to the engine like an aftermarket air filter to be sure the installation has been completed professionally. Now, start the car, if it doesn't start easily that's a big warning sign of problems ahead, likewise if it blows out excessive exhaust smoke. Rev the engine and listen closely for any unusual rattles, knocking or harsh sounds.
Finally, take the car on a road test; this is a chance for you to not just check the vehicle's condition but also your own enjoyment in driving it. However, be careful not to get emotionally attached at this stage and switch off to any suspicious sounds or behaviour. Be sure to take the vehicle to the motorway, on-ramps are a good place to check its acceleration in each gear and you can also get a feel for its ride comfort at cruising speeds. Also, find a car park to safely conduct lower speed tests by turning the wheel full lock both ways to check the CV joints and pushing hard on the brakes to make sure it stops in a safe distance.
If it all checks out and you have no further concerns then negotiate the price with the current owner and never be afraid to walk away and mull it over. Chances are that another model in similar or better condition will come up for sale very shortly, remember as the buyer you have the money so you also have the power.