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Earlier this year, we introduced the Trusted Dealers’ Guide to Safe Car Buying, detailing the best ways to avoid being ripped off when purchasing a new or used car. The guide is aimed at stopping buyers from becoming the victim of some of the latest scams to hit the car industry, and it educates prospective buyers on how to be savvy and avoid the pitfalls when buying a new or used car.
The New Year brings plenty of new car sales therefore we feel that it is essential to remind all of prospective buyers how to get the best deal on a new or used car and avoid being duped by the latest scams.
This month we want to remind buyers how to spot a mechanical ‘bad apple’, so follow The Trusted Dealer’s five simple rules below on how to make sure that the car you are purchasing is mechanically sound.
Take along a friend
It’s always worth taking a friend or family member along with you in order to gain a second opinion, particularly if you are not mechanically savvy as they will need to carry out the necessary checks on your behalf.
Always view before you buy
NEVER buy a second-hand car without seeing and driving it first (unless it’s from a franchised dealer who offers a proper money-back guarantee if you don’t like it). Make sure you view the car in the daytime as opposed to at night so that you can gain a proper look at the paintwork, and if its still wet from being washed beware – water can hide dodgy paintwork.
Check for leaks
Always check the ground beneath a car for signs of oil or coolant leaks. Next you should check if the car sits level on its springs and that the tyres are evenly worn. If they are not then the car might need its wheels realigned, but it could have more serious damage so it’s well worth it the check.
Check the oil level
Check the dipstick for the engine oil and make sure that it is brown or golden and between the maximum and minimum marks. If it’s black and barely shows then you know that the car has been neglected for some time. You can also check coolant levels and inspect hoses for any cracks or leaky connections.
Take a test drive
One of the most important aspects of a successful sale is to make sure that you have test driven the car before you purchase it. This provides you with the opportunity to test out the various elements of the car and make sure that everything is in working order. You can also gain a feel for the car and it provides an opportunity to ask further questions to the seller. Make checks to all the warning lights and controls, plus make sure you drive in every gear at all speeds.