Sometimes it just doesn’t make financial sense to pay top dollar for a brand-new car when you can secure a used car – that’s just a few years old and just as good – for about two-thirds of the price. Just think about all the things you could do with that extra cash: a holiday with your family, a new plasma for the living room, or even a new car stereo.
But before you start looking at used cars and making that final purchase, here are five things to look for when you’re in the market for a secondhand car. Keep them in mind when sifting through the potential candidates and you’ll surely make a wise decision.
1. Check for Leaks
Before signing on that dotted line and driving away into the sunset, pop the hood and carefully inspect the engine and the surrounding parts for evidence of leaks. A leak means that at least one component of the engine will need to be replaced. It can even suggest that a complete overhaul is in need. Don’t take this chance when buying a used car. When checking for leaks, remember: water will leave a white and chalky residue, while a brown stain will signify an oil leak.
2. An Updated Service Logbook
Ever heard the old adage that “if you look after your car, your car will look after you”? Well, it’s true. Before buying any used car, make sure you flick through the car’s service log book and check to see if the previous owner took care of their set of wheels. A car that’s been regularly serviced and repaired – if needed – is a great sign. It means that the car has been kept in as good a shape as possible and this means you’re less likely to encounter any problems with it when the keys are finally yours.
3. Low Kilometres
If you’re about to purchase a new car, try and buy one with as few kilometres as possible. The fewer kilometres on the odometer, the better the condition of the engine, and the less chance you’ll need to make any major repairs to it anytime soon. On average, most cars do about 14,000km a year. This means that a car that was made in 2010 should have done about 70,000km by 2015. Most cars can do around 250,000km before needing any major work done.
4. Tyres with Enough Tread
When inspecting a used car, pay attention to the tyres. Do they have enough tread on them? What about the spare tyre in the boot? Is it fit to use in an emergency? Not only is it a safety hazard to drive with tread-less tyres, but any used car that sports them is unlikely to pass a roadworthy test.
5. Does the Price Reflect the Condition?
Make sure you compare the price of a potential purchase with other cars of the same make, model and similar condition. Spend some time online researching what other people are charging for their vehicles. Remember: you often get what you pay for, so don’t always put options with lower prices as your first choices. Consider taking out a car loan, if you find a car that is in great condition but just beyond your price range. A little extra cash spent on a quality car will far outweigh the headache, inconvenience and eventual splurge that often accompanies a car that was just too good to be true.
What else do you look for when about to purchase a secondhand car? Share your ideas down below to help those in the market for a used car make a well-informed decision on their next automobile purchase.