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Used Car Red Alerts

Used Car Red Alerts

When buying a used car it pays to have an understanding partner or spouse. Those who live with car junkies will, with a sigh and a resigned expression, usually go along with whatever the poor sap wants. Yet, is there a case for said partner or spouse to pay more attention to the transaction? One of the benefits of being attached to an ‘expert’ is that the chances are they’ll come home with a good ‘un; but what of the inexperienced buyer, I hear you ask.

This is the reason to get your other half involved in the process. Two heads are better than one and will help to establish whether or not the prospective purchase is a good deal or a lemon in disguise. There are certain things that can put even a rookie buyer on red alert.

There’s an old story, based on fact, that a car dealer will assess a car simply by kicking the tyres and there’s some truth in that. Pay close attention to those black circles of shame. A tyre should be worn evenly across the tread. Any diversion from that could mean that the previous owner was neglectful. If they are worn on the inside or outside edge predominantly then there could be tracking or steering issues lurking underneath, or, at best, inflation problems. Do all four wheels match both in brand and wear. A mishmash of rubber is a bad sign.

The underside of a car and its engine can reveal a lot to you. You’d expect it to be dirty, that’s a given, but can you see any telltale damp spots anywhere? You won’t see them if the conditions are wet but then you wouldn’t buy a used car in the wet anyway, would you? Damp patches mean engine leaks of oil or other precious fluids. It’s worth noting here that a small patch of what appears to be clean water is probably a normal effect of running air-conditioning on the car and is nothing to worry about although you could satisfy yourself that the air-con has been recently been on.

Stating the obvious, is the car clean? A clean car says a lot of good things about an owner and a polished one even more. A dirty car offered for sale should set alarm bells ringing as it means an uncaring owner, so walk away. And speaking of owners, have a close look at the advertisement for the car and ensure that what you read exactly corresponds to what you are looking at. Misrepresentation is all to common these days, unfortunately, and the seller may be trying to shift a car before the trouble starts. It is a sad truth that people lie.

Finally, and it doesn’t hurt to repeat it, check the records. These days you’ll ideally be wanting to see a full service history. Beware the car where the paperwork has been ‘misplaced’. There are plenty of great used cars out there so take your time and be happy with your purchase.

This post was written by:

- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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2 Responses to “Used Car Red Alerts”

  1. You definelty need an understanding when considering buying used car, Definetly agree that a clean car is a good sign, you should definetly check the history of the car and take also dont be rushed into buying a used cars feel at ease and take your time is key.

    • Geoff says:

      There’s plenty of good used cars out there and plenty of reliable dealers but it doesn’t hurt to take your time and choose wisely.
      Geoff

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