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A decision to buy a car has been made. However you are on a crossroad and not sure which path to choose – the one that’s been freshly paved with a new car scent or a less costly used car. Well it’s really simple – get your finances in order and decide on your budget. It will give you a sense of how far you can stretch. Also note that a new car loses its value for about 20% as soon as you drive it off a dealer’s lot. And besides, there are many used cars on the market kept in such good condition that they almost resemble new ones. Thus, a used car is probably the most optimal solution if your budget is lower.
But if you think buying a used car is simple, you’re greatly mistaken. It’s just a bit less confusing then solving a crosswords puzzle. A 30-minute test drive is not satisfactory. Putting those 100-plus horses through an intense cardio workout will not paint a true picture of the car’s real condition and value. You must diligently follow these three major rules when buying a used car:
Inspect, inspect and inspect.
Additionally, regardless of whether you’re buying from a licensed dealer, a private individual or an car yard, make sure the car is on a level ground before you ‘interrogate’ it and always do this in daylight. Read our guide below to get an idea on what you should look out for when buying a used car.
Roadworthy – Every time you buy a used car in Australia, make sure that the car will be sold with a Roadworthy Certificate from a licensed vehicle service. Any excuses like “I’m going overseas, there’s not enough time to get Roadworthy” are a sign that there are significant problems with the car that the owner is hiding from you, so walk away. Never buy a Used car without Roadworthy Certificate, or your car’s mechanical repairs to transfer the ownership or to re-register the car may cost you even more than the car itself.
Car hood – Inspect the car’s engine for possible fluid leaks; check all hoses for any defects; and check oil and other fluids level using the markings on a dipstick. In order to be certain that the engine has been inspected regularly and has been cared for according to manufacturer’s specifications, check the colour of the engine oil. If it’s brown, you’re good to go.
Bodywork – Inspect the car’s body for any mismatched and unevenly applied paint since this is usually a sign of dent cover-ups. Also pay attention to detail – to be precise, make sure there isn’t a single rust blemish, especially on the bottom of the doors, wing panels, tailgates and around the headlights. This usually means that beneath it, a severe corrosion ‘nibbles’ the car’s body and know that this is a costly fix-up.
Tires – Make sure you pay special attention to the tires. They are crucial for your car’s impeccable performance and safety. Inspect for any cracks, cuts, blisters and tread wear as these are the signs of worn-out tires which may have been caused by improper tire inflation and/or misalignment of the wheels.
Brakes – Since brakes play an important role in your safety and safety of your passengers, even a minor defect may lead to a collision and significantly increases a risk of injury or death. The best way to test the brakes is during a test drive. If, when you apply force to it, the brake pedal does not provide good resistance or sinks to the floor, then the brakes may need to be replaced right away.
Interior – And finally, inspect the interior of a car. Check the air-conditioning system, the car’s upholstery and make sure there are no tears, stubborn stains and other defects. Also, check the odometer. If numbers are not lined up and if the condition of the car’s upholstery does not match the total kilometres driven, then you might consider that perhaps some odometer alteration has happened.
Of course, test driving a used car will give you the best idea of its performance and condition. However, do not overlook the car’s service history and thoroughly inspect the owner’s records to be sure that the car has been inspected regularly and to get info on all repairs done on it. If, however, you are not certain how to check if a car is in good condition and if it’s worth your money, have a licensed mechanic conduct a pre purchase vehicle inspection and point out any cost estimates on possible problems with the vehicle.