When compared to the price of a new car, a used car might look like a bargain. However, before you hand over your hard earned money for a used car, you need to ensure that you that the vehicle you are buying is worth the price you are paying for it. When you have buy a car from a dealer, in the event that you experience any issues, you always have the option of going back to the dealer and using the warranty to resolve the issue. This is a luxury that you do not have when you buy a used car from a private seller. While the outward appearance of a used car might be clean and shiny, closer inspection might reveal a faulty engine or transmission that could land you with hefty repair bills in the future.
Here are a few signs that might point to a serious issue in the vehicle that you intend to buy:
1. Dodgy Service History: People who maintain their vehicles in good condition generally take them in to the authorized service center or a reliable garage that will maintain an accurate service record. One of the major red flags is a vehicle without an official history that can be verified by a third party.
2. Recent Paint Job: A recent paint job or a patchy paint job can point to a recent accident that might have caused more than damage to the exterior paint.
3. Check the Specs: If the vehicle you are considering does not have GCC specs, this might be a vehicle that might have been involved in an accident abroad and has been written off as a salvage vehicle in the United States or Japan.
4. Uneven Tyre Alignment: If the tyres are rotated on a regular basis, then the tread on the tyres would wear evenly. Uneven tyre alignment shows that the tyres have not been maintained properly. It might indicate that the car could also need an alignment job.
5. Stiff Bumper: Suspension repairs can be expensive and the suspension could get damaged quite easily. You need to push down on both the front and rear bumpers. When you do this, if the car’s suspension is in good condition, it would bounce. If however, the suspension feels stiff, then you could end up with hefty repair bills down the road.
6. Damage to the Interiors: It is only to be expected that the interiors would be a bit worn in a used car. However, damaged seatbelts, missing headrests, missing knobs on the dashboard are signs that the vehicle has been handled quite carelessly. This could point to more serious issues with interior components.
7. Lock and Window issues: Issues with window and door locks are expensive to fix as most modern vehicles have automatic locks that are powered by the car’s electrical system. Detecting and fixing the fault could be expensive and time consuming even for a trained mechanic.
8. Knocking Sounds: Any sounds that re not normal like hissing and knocking sounds could mean that there are serious issues with the engine or fluid leaks.
9. Unusual Smells: If you smell something funny, then you need to rethink about buying the vehicle. It could mean something is either burning or leaking. You need to get the car evaluated thoroughly by a professional before you proceed with the purchase.
10. Low Oil Level: Use the dipstick to check the oil level and then add a liter of oil. If the oil level drops quickly, then means there is an issue with either the engine or its components.
11. Loose Steering Wheel: If the steering feels loose or wobbly when you take the car for a test drive, that means that there is a problem with the steering fluid or the alignment. A car’s steering should feel responsive but tight. Steering issues can affect your safety on the road and are a definite no-no.
12. Vibration and shaking: Make sure you take the car for a drive on the highway. If the car exhibits even a faint bit of vibration or shaking when the speed increases or pulls to one side, there is an alignment issue. It would be better to consider other vehicles.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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