Deciding On Used Cars? These 5 Magic Answers Will Gratify Your Interest

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As long as it isn’t tear-rubber, you can never be assured of a flawless look when going in for a used product, but there are a few basic questions to ask before parting with your hard earned cash on online.

  1. IS PRE-SHOPPING NECESSARY?

Certainly so! You wouldn’t want to go all in without knowing what you are going in for, or would you? Used cars depreciate and devalue much less and faster than used cars so rationally, they are more cost effective to purchase.

Cars less than 3-years old are most likely the best cars since they have been driven 10,00 – 15,000 annually with an average mileage as 10,000.

Small and medium saloons and hatchbacks are easier to maintain and to repair as compared to convertibles or luxury cars.

  1. HOW ABOUT GENERAL ADVICE DURING INSPECTION & BODYWORK?

First thing to note during the general inspection is whether or not you are insured to drive the car. If so, take it on a drive on the highway, preferably the N1 or the motorway if you are in Accra or Tema respectively, slow urban driving areas, untarred roads, predominantly areas that covers a mixture of conditions.

Check the reverse.

Double check the engine plate on the car tallies with that given on the registration documents only to be double-sure it has not been interfered with.

Always remember to inspect the bodywork in the light of the day. It is highly likely you will find corrosion or rust with cars that may have lasted 5-years or a little bit more. Avoid collisions coming from the inside of the body panels.

Walk around the car and look intently along the doors and wings from each of the four corners.  Any crash repairs will show up if they have not been done correctly.  You will see ripples or a change in the texture of the paint if there is a lot of body filler underneath.

Take a small magnet with you, it will be attracted to metal but not to plastic body filler.  Look also for variations in the paint colour.

You can tell there are leaks when you locate water stains in the boot, around windows, on carpets and around the sunroof opening.

  1. THE STRUCTURAL BODYWORK TOO?

Yes, the structural bodywork too.

REJECT THE CAR if see rust damage on inner wings, the bulkhead and any cross members and chassis members visible under the bonnet.

Tap suspicious areas with a lightweight hammer, but if that will be somewhat extreme, you can carefully push hard with your hand to detect weakened metal.

Look at brake pipes, if they are crusted or pitted with rust, these could be dangerous.

Check suspension and steering mounting points for serious corrosion, especially under the bonnet.

  1. IS CHECKING THE ENGINE, TRANSMISSION & SUSPENSION ALSO NECESSARY?

Yeup… Yeup!

Have a look at the general state of the engine. A dirty engine and surrounding area suggests that the car hasn’t been well maintained, and it is highly likely servicing may have been neglected.

Check the quantity and colour of coolant.  It should be the colour of antifreeze not rusty red.  An engine that has been run without antifreeze may have problems.

Listen to the engine starting up from cold.  The oil light should go out soon after the engine starts, if it doesn’t there may be engine wear.

Heavy rattling or knocking noises shortly after start up could indicate wear of the crankshaft and big-end bearings.  Listen for clanking or light knocking noises from the top of the engine which indicate camshaft wear.

Check the oil leaks.

About transmission: if the car has a manual gearbox, check the clutch operates smoothly and all gears engage easily.  If the gear change stiffens as revs increase the clutch may be worn.  Check for clutch slip by driving the car up a hill in top gear.

When driving change down into each gear from a higher speed than normal to test the synchromesh.  If the gears baulk or crunch, or if the gearbox whines excessively, gearbox overhaul or replacement are the only solutions.

If the car has automatic transmission check the transmission dipstick for correct fluid level, this is best done with the engine hot and idling.   Also smell the dipstick, if it smells burnt steer clear of the car!

When driving check that the transmission changes down into each gear properly under full acceleration and at the right time.

For suspension: Listen for knocks from the suspension over poor road surfaces which could indicate worn bushes, joint and dampers.  Take a note of the cars handling, if it is vague, “floaty” or bouncy, suspect worn dampers.

  1. BUT BEFORE YOU MAKE THE OFFER…

The above assessment is clearly a few of the many, but most importantly, after you have done all these checks and you convinced you have finally found “it”, do not sign anything yet, rather guarantee the vendor that the sale is “subject to a satisfactory inspection by an independent automobile association” or an independent mechanic.

Also, if the vendor is not the individual named on the registration document, request for written confirmation from the registered car owner, that the vendor is authorized to sell the vehicle to you.

Done with your checks?

Satisfied with your answered questions?

Still want to purchase another car?

Best of luck! 😎

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