The process for buying your first car or even your fifth car can be a scary one; there are many things to consider with such a huge investment to outlay. Buying a used car can make financial sense and help keep within the intended budget, but like all things we are after quality without the price tag that comes along with it. There can be instances where buying a used vehicle can be a great option but at the same time, there are also dealers and owners that are trying to deceive an unsuspecting car purchaser into buying a car that has more problems than it’s worth. Here are some things to look out for when buying a used car to avoid being left with a lemon.
Set Yourself a Budget
It is easy to allow your emotions to take over when searching for a car, it is an exciting time and you can easily see yourself in every shiny car you come across. Come back to reality and set yourself a realistic budget based on what you can afford. Car ownership comes with responsibility so take into account the costs of insurance, fuel, maintenance and interest on finance options and consider a realistic budget.
Know the Market Price
Having a budget in mind will guide you towards the type of vehicles available in your price range. There may be particular brands you are interested in, whether it is Holden, Ford, Toyota, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan or any other brand. Once you start researching, you’ll have a fair idea of what you are after in a car. The price of the car is a big contributor to any car buying decision, so compare the price based on year, model and average kilometres to gauge what you’ll be expected to pay for a particular type of car. This will allow you to determine if a vehicle is priced accordingly, some may be priced well below market value so be cautious and if it is too good to be true, it probably is.
Check the Paint
How the car presents itself could be a good indication of how well it has been looked after, check for any dents or damage. It is fair for a used car to carry some imperfections however take a closer look at the paint work. Look at each panel of the car and try to determine if the paint colour is constant, check around the window and internal edges of door frames to spot for inconsistencies that may suggest an accident has occurred and the car has been repainted.
Check the Car’s History
The number one mistake is to take their word on how genuine or honest the person selling the car is. So be sure to do your checks and verify that the car is not reported stolen, has a clear title and not financed, has not been written off and contains an up to date service log book. It is easy to check these details against the car’s Vehicle Identification Number in the state of registration.
Check the Belt’s and Hoses
Look out for any signs of extreme wear and tear for belts and hoses within the engine bay. Single hair line cracks are seen as normal wear and tear however if you notice a lot of cracks developing, it is a tell-tale sign of extreme wear and should be replaced. Considering the timing belt is one of the most important and labour intensive components to replace in a car and can result in catastrophic failure if it was to fail, any used car with damage to belts and hoses should be a key sign to invest elsewhere.