You are going to buy a second-hand car. That is difficult if you do not know much about cars. Luckily, we have a number of good tips for you.
This is the best tip we tip we can give you. Even if you do not know anyone with knowledge about cars, it is still a very good idea to bring someone. Two persons will see, hear, and know more than one person.
Make a test drive
Always make a test drive of at least 20 minutes. Make sure the radio is turned off and pay attention to noises while driving. Is something rattling or vibrating? This can mean something is wrong with the wheels. Also pay attention when you brake. If something is vibrating, there may be something wrong with the brake discs. During the test drive, you should try out various roads and speeds, and accelerate quickly on the highway. This should be smooth. Test all electrical components of the car. Do the windows open and close as they should?
Check the alignment
The car should maintain a steady course. The suspension parts must be aligned in such a way that the wheels are exactly perpendicular to the road and placed parallel to each other. The wheels will then show less wear and tear, you require less fuel and the care drives much better. You can check the alignment by the steering wheel when driving straight. If the steering wheel is not straight, something is wrong with the alignment.
The maintenance instructions tell you more
Request the maintenance instructions of the car. Check whether the chassis number and the license plate match the numbers on the car. Was the car serviced regularly? Are all stamps in order?
Look under the hood
Open the hood. Check the oil levels of the car. The maintenance of the timing belt is important. If this breaks you will face significant repair costs. Check when it has been last replaced or when it should be replaced. Car manufacturers advice to do this between the 60,000 and 120,000 kilometres or after every 3 to 5 years. The manufacturer can advise you for the type of car you intend to buy.
Listen outside to starting of the car.
Listen outside to starting of the car. There should not be any sounds such as rattling or beeping.
Exhaust gasses are normally colourless and odourless. Are there black, grey, blue or white fumes from the exhaust? Something is wrong. If it is cold outside, you can see white smoke for a moment. These are water droplets coming out as steam. If this disappears after 10 to 15 minutes, nothing is wrong.
The clutch must function smooth and without noises during shifting, also for an automatic. Stalling or difficult shifting is not a good sign.
Maybe obvious, but rust is never a good sign. Check the car carefully for rust, particularly on the edges of the wheel arches and the doors.
What catches your attention?
Make notes when having made a test drive. What catches your attention? What questions do you want to ask the seller?