August 4, 2021

What to Check When Buying a Used Car

3 min read

“Everyone who doesn’t have a car dreams of buying it…” But, as you know, they dream of selling just as much, especially if the car is problematic. Therefore, finding and choosing a car often turns into a whole adventure. To successfully pass it, you do not have to be a technical guru: ordinary everyday observation and scrupulousness will help to notice most of the problems. The main thing is to know where to look.

How to Check a Car When Buying?

Checking the engine

A car’s Diesel parts should be investigated thoroughly before making any commitment to won a used car. Unlike the bodywork, it is not recommended to wash the engine before inspection – all “evidence” will disappear. Leaks of technical fluids and “sweating” oil seals immediately catch the eye when opening the hood. And if you are shown a used car with a shining, like in a car dealership, engine compartment, there is reason to be wary.

Check the engine oil level and condition – it should correspond to the declared mileage since the last change. A low oil level, a radically black color of the oil, the presence of bubbles or a fine metal suspension on the dipstick are sure signs of serious engine problems.

Do not forget to look into the expansion tank of the radiator, and on a cold engine, into the radiator itself. The presence of rust, flakes or an oil film in the antifreeze are signs of engine overheating and a punctured cylinder head gasket , the replacement of which is very time consuming.

Body inspection

The engine is considered the heart of the car, but the most expensive and difficult part to repair is the body. It is with its thorough examination that it is worth starting the check, without rushing to get behind the wheel or drive the car onto a lift. For a high-quality inspection of the body, the car must be clean – in advance, ask the seller to come to the car wash before the meeting.

Of course, without special knowledge, many nuances can be missed. But it is possible to identify the emergency past of the car with the help of a regular close inspection. The symmetry of the body will help you: if any element is in doubt, compare it with the “twin” on the other side. It is impossible to repeat exactly the factory stamping of parts, painting and laying of the sealant, even with the highest quality repairs.

Once upon a time, the presence of putty on the body was checked with a magnet; today’s method is paint thickness gauge. This device measures the thickness of the paint coating, allowing you to distinguish the factory paint from the secondary one. The factory layer depends on the specific machine model, usually 70-170 microns. A coating over 200 microns indicates a secondary painting, over 300 – about a serious body repair with the use of putty.

Pay attention not only to traces of an accident, but also to corrosion. Typical “pain points” of the body – side skirts, wheel arches and wheel arches, fenders, metal under the rear bumper. If the previous owner did not protect the car from road reagents , then perforating corrosion can hide under the elegant plastic linings.

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