Here are our top 9 things to do before purchasing a used vehicle.
Inspect during daylight (not even overcast)
Rather than dealing with the overcast or rainy weather, spring to inspect the vehicle you want during a sunny, bright day. It will make it easier to point out scratches, leakages, collision repairs, cracks or missing chunks on windows and windshield – even the tiniest of cracks can worsen over time.
Inspecting the Oil
Use an oil dipstick to check the vehicle’s Oil colour. Petrol is ‘Honey-Coloured’, whilst diesel is black or dark brown (but not gritty). PS. Look under the oil cap for any ‘Mayonnaise-like’ substances. This can indicate a brown head gasket or cracked engine block.
Inspecting the Tyres
Balding/ Worn tyres with tread below the minimum depth are unsafe for driving. Excessive wear can mean the original driver had poor driving skills. Moreover, inspect the tyres to see if it has worn evenly across the front and back. The car may have suspension problems if a tyre is more worn out on one side.
Pump the Aircon
Test the Air Conditioning, making sure it cools the interior and doesn’t produce strange noises. Open and close the power windows a few times, and turn on the vehicle’s audio system and listen if sounds come out clearly.
Inspecting for rust
Go under the hood and check for rust. When you check the engine, watch out for any rusty brown leaks, which could mean Gearbox or Power Steering issues. Rust marks also indicate that the previous owner didn’t wash the car often.
Inspect the exhaust system
Well-maintained cars shouldn’t make loud noises or release dark-coloured smoke. A ‘sucky’ noise indicates a hole in the vehicle’s exhaust system. At the same time, excessive smoke means a part of the car is defective, and the car needs fixing.
Is Deisel better?
Older cars typically have lower fuel efficiency. However, with the improvements in manufacturing standard gasoline engines, it’s possible to find fuel-efficient cars outside of electric and hybrid vehicle markets. Diesel is more efficient than petrol by 30%-40%, although it costs more than the latter. For cars, look for a fuel efficiency below 6 litres per 100 kilometres.
Inspect the airbags
A vehicle with lit-up airbag icons is not safe to drive. The warning means that the airbag may not activate in case of a crash. And make sure to check if the vehicle’s airbag is a part of any recalls – you can do this through several different websites.
Get a history report
Services like Car History (www.carhistory.com.au) are your heroes in uncovering a used car’s history. Car History gives you access to a PPSR Certificate and information about the vehicle including but not limited to: Current vehicle valuation and odometer reading comparison/ wind check, Past sales info, and any flood/ storm damage.