With deep bumpers and wide arches, performance cars are particularly susceptible to paint damage and so car paint protection is required. When you buy a car, it’s exciting! The promise of new adventures, new mod cons you may not have had in your past cars (maybe power steering, ABS, a 6 stacker cd player or climate control), new compartments and maybe more power. The car you’re looking at buying has probably just been washed, has some gloss sprayed on the tyres, and has that freshly-steam-cleaned carpet smell. It looks great, goes well and you’re quickly getting your heart set on it…..but is it a lemon in disguise? Are the current owners selling it because their mechanic has found a ton of mechanical problems with it – problems you can’t necessarily see?
Whilst roadworthy inspections and certificates (Victoria, Australia) are an excellent indicator of the condition of safety items, it is not an overall inspection of the entire vehicle. Given that roadworthy certificates are only valid for 30 days, you may purchase a vehicle that comes with a RWC, and then need brakes or tyres in 3 months time. Or, the motor may be a lot more worn than you realised. That’s an expense you may not have been expecting!!
There are ways to protect yourself from a bad purchase.
1. Make sure you check the car thoroughly when you first inspect it – if you’re not confident that you can check basic items on a car, take someone with you who can!
2. do your homework when you get home!
3. have a mechanic you trust inspect the car for you.
When you go to inspect the car, have a look at the following items:
– does the car have the service book in it, and if so, has the scheduled servicing been done? A car that has missed services indicates that it may not have been well taken care of.
– do the tyres have a lot of tread on them or are they quite worn. The tread should be at least the depth of a match head. Tyres can still be roadworthy but need replacing in a few months. If you buy this car, will you need to spend $400-1000 on tyres soon?
– does the general condition of the car match the kilometers it is being sold with? I once looked at a car for a friend that had done 87,000kms and looked very nice. It was clean and tidy, new tyres etc. But no service history. I was suspicious when I thought that the steering wheel was excessively worn at 10 oçlock and 3 oçlock. At 87,000kms you would expect minimal wear on the steering wheel. I wrote down the VIN (vehicle identification number) and did some research on the car and found out that it used to be serviced at my work, and 2 years earlier had been in for it’s 200,000kms service!!! Someone had given the odometer a “haircut”!
– Ask if it is coming with a roadworthy certificate. If not, why not.
– Open the bonnet and check the engine oil level and colour. Is the oil clean and at the correct marker on the dipstick? Check the oil filler cap – is it clean or are there crusty or gluggy deposits?
– check the coolant level and colour. Most coolant brands are either red, green or yellow in colour. Low coolant could mean it has a leak, and sometimes people just top it up with water to save money.
– check the parts of the motor that you can see for obvious oil leaks (even though a lot of sellers steam clean the engine, it’s still worthy while checking).
– check all the window switches, electric mirror switches, heater controls, radio controls, indicators and headlight switches. Make sure they all work!!
– check the seat belts – do they all click in properly? Are the belts themselves frayed? Slight fraying is acceptable, but bad fraying means they will have to be replaced to pass a roadworthy inspection.
– is the paint and body work in good condition or is it hail damaged, have rust spots or fading? Stand in front of the vehicle and look down the sides for dents and ripples.
Take the car for a test drive. Pay attention to the following items:
– does it drive straight down the road – veering to either side when you let the wheel go is indicative of wheel alignment issues.
– if it’s an automatic, does it change gears smoothly? Rough or harsh gear changes can mean problems!
– when you brake does it stop well? Does it have a shuddering feeling as it stops? (brake shudder is common and requires the discs to be machined to rectify it). Or does it pull to one side when you brake (potential brake caliper issues)?
– are there any unusual noises….clunks, grinding, squeaking, banging?
Once you have had a good look at the car, and driven it, it’s homework time!
– check that there are no outstanding loans or other finance on the vehicle. You don’t want to get stuck with someone else’s debt.
– enquire with your local road traffic authority as to when and how many times it was registered. I have known cars that the seller said they were the second owner…only to find out that they were the 6th!! That raises questions about what else they may be lying about with the car?
– whether or not it has ever been listed as a written off vehicle (and if so, was it a repairable write off?). This can protect you from buying a rebirthed (and therefore illegal) vehicle.
– Another good tip is to ring your mechanic and ask their advice generally about that model of car. Some cars have well known issues and your mechanic can warn you off cars that may look good but have a bad mechanical reputation!
If you’re happy so far that the car is good, the final check is to have a trusted mechanic inspect the car.
A comprehensive pre-purchase inspection can take around 2 hours, and normally costs between $150.00 and $200.00. It should give you a list of roadworthy items PLUS a complete bumper-to-bumper report on:
• the condition of the paint work and interior,
• a visual inspection of the body structure (including checking for rust) and any indicators that it has been in an accident and the quality of repairs.
• A compression check on the motor, as well as any oil leaks, wear and tear or other issues present.
• An estimate on tyre wear and condition.
• front and rear brake wear, including brake disc measurements.
• transmission operation and fluid condition and level.
• clutch and gearbox operation.
• A diagnostic scan of the vehicle’s computer.
• Suspension and steering components, including all bushes.
• A road test to check handling, wheel alignment and stopping capability.
• The estimated cost of any repairs that may be required in the near future.
At the very least, this report could help you negotiate a better price on the car.
Reduce the chances of buying a car that may be worse than your old one and that may cost your thousands in repairs! Arm yourself with knowledge and do your research, and you’re more likely to end up happy with your purchase for many years!
Happy car buying!
Owner and Qualified Mechanic at His n Hers Automotive Solutions.
(03) 8761 6200
Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Caroline_LanganMinca/1151973
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