Buying a used car can be difficult; how do you know where the car has been, and can you trust the seller to be honest? There are many variables and while some things you need to take on faith, there are options available to you to help you make an informed decision.
While these three things can’t absolutely guarantee you’ll buy a great car, they are a good starting point and will arm you with the skills you need.
Find out the History of the Car
You’ve done your homework and narrowed down the type of car your interested in. But there is much more to a car than what the outside appearance is like. You need to be able to see beyond the appearance and delve into the history of the car. Finding out if the car has been in an accident, or it has money owing, or has been rebuilt, or is currently registered are all things you need to know to be able to make a good offer on the car.
Carify can offer this information in an instant. Based on what you find in the report you can decide if you want to move forward with a physical inspection or if you shouldn’t bother.
If you’re still keen on the car after getting the report, even if it says something that’s not ideal, you can use it as a test to see if the owner is trustworthy or not. For example, if the report says the car was involved in an accident a year ago, and the owner says it wasn’t, that is a clear indication you should not continue with the sale; as what else might they be hiding?
Taking the Car for a Test Drive
You got the report, and everything is okay or inconsequential, and you decide to go and physically examine the car. Print out the car advertisement, so you can compare what was in the ad to what you are presented with. Remember that the photos may make the car look better than it is in person, but if the colour is distinctly different or there is damage that wasn’t shown in the photos, that’s a clear sign the seller is hiding something, and you should walk away. If everything appears normal, it’s time to take a test drive.
When taking a test drive, try to take someone with you. They can give you an opinion on the car that will be unbiased. Most sellers will be happy to let you take the car out on your own, and this can be a great time to go over the vehicle more thoroughly.
Going ‘around the block’ is not a good method for testing a car, you need to get the car moving around corners and run it through a few stops and starts, and if possible, get it out on a highway to see how it handles under speed.
After going for a good drive, park the car somewhere quiet and open the bonnet. Have your friend run the car for a bit a listen for anything unusual, such as: clicking, tapping, or pinging; these can all be signs that something is about to go wrong with the engine.
With the engine off, open all the doors as see if they close properly without too much force. Open the boot and look under the liner and inspect the spare tyre, look for any signs of rust in the spare tyre well.
A good test drive should take around 30-45 minutes. If everything appears good, move on to the next stage and get the car inspected professionally.
Have the Car Professionally Inspected
A seller should be okay with getting the car professionally inspected and you can do these one of two ways.
- Take the car to a mechanic or approved vehicle inspector
- Use a mobile mechanic to go meet you at the owner’s premises
Ideally it is best if you take the car to the mechanic, as this gives you another chance to drive the vehicle. In some cases, the owner may already have had an inspection completed as this can make the car registration transfer easier. It’s up to you if you take this as a good inspection or if you’d like to go to your trusteed mechanic.
When you get the vehicle inspected, it’s a good idea to take your report from Carify or other services with you so the mechanic can focus on any parts of the car that may have been repaired in a previous accident. They can assess these, check that everything was completed satisfactorily and determine if the repairs will affect the overall performance and longevity of the vehicle.