Inspecting a used car – the basics
This includes some of the physical features as well as the legal paperwork. From a classic Jeep Wrangler to a used Chrysler, it really doesn’t matter what car you’re buying. If it’s second hand, you’re going to need to inspect and check things thoroughly – and here is an overview of the basics to inspecting a used car.
Car history. One of the first checks you should do is the car history. A car’s history will tell you a lot about it, including whether it has been involved in many major incidents. You can also look at its performance and service history to see how it has been cared for during its lifetime.
If you can’t find the car’s history, then this should act as a potential warning when buying. You need to be sure the car is not stolen or has not had its registration plate altered in any way, In short, if the history is vague or non-existent then it’s not unreasonable to assume that it has something to hide.
Performance. Another way to check the quality of the car is to test it yourself. This is the point of a test drive; to notice any odd quirks you might not see from the outside so that you can be sure that your investing your money in a suitable vehicle.
For instance, a Chrysler 300C might get your attention, since it’s a reputable car but you’ll need to check its handling before committing to a purchase on the second hand market. While these cars are a great option when sold brand new, their condition will vary on the second hand market depending on the type of owner they had.
Road legal. Something you definitely want to check before you buy the car is whether or not it looks road legal. A quick inspection will tell you a lot about this and things you should check include whether the types are well inflated and in good condition, whether vital fluids such as brake fluid are topped up and whether all the relevant lights and electrics (including the indicators) are working.
These are all things that can affect the car and, if they aren’t in working condition now then you’re the one who’s going to have to pay to fix them later. You should also check to see whether the car is covered by a current, valid MOT and whether it is legally taxed and for how long.