Save yourself the worry of finding problems the hard way and give the car a thorough check.
It’s common knowledge that the best way to check the quality of a car is to give the wheel a cheeky kick. Instinct takes over and you just know if it’s good or not. But what if you don’t have that sixth sense when it comes to cars?
We’ve come up with a checklist to help out. Some faults might not be deal-breakers. But following this list might give you somewhere to go when trying to haggle for a better price.
You should have most of this from when you originally contacted the seller. But just in case, you should get information on:
The car reg
Make and model
V5C (log book)
Check if these details match the information on the DVLA – anything that doesn’t match up should be questioned. You can check if the car’s MOT is valid as well as its MOT history at GOV.UK.
If not, there might be a problem with the suspension or wheel alignment. Check the tyre tread depth is at least 1.6mm across all tyres.
Bubbling paint is a sign of rust, and inconsistent colours might be an indication that the car has been resprayed.
Pay close attention to the rubber door seals for paint flecks – this is where evidence of a re-spray is most easily spotted.
Look down the side of the car. If the panels don’t line up, it might be a sign that the car’s been in an accident.
Walk around the car and pay close attention to your reflection. If it distorts, there might be dents in the bodywork.
Under the bonnet
Check to see that everything is at the correct level and that the fluids are free from debris. A poorly-kept engine is a good sign that the car isn’t in good condition.
Keep an eye out for signs of fuel leaks in the engine bay.
Pay close attention to the connectors on top of the battery as well.
If so, this may indicate that the head gasket or engine itself is damaged. This kind of damage if often irreparable.
Some wear and tear is to be expected, but anything excessive could be a good bargaining chip.
If the clock reads little over 1,000 miles and the car looks like it’s held together by duct tape and willpower, there might be something fishy going on.
Any damage here may indicate that the car has been stolen.
Excessive wear like fraying could mean that the car has previously been in an accident. Make some adjustments. Get in the driver’s seat and make yourself comfortable:
Roll down the windows.
Adjust the seats.
Open the sunroof.
Pop open the fuel cap.
Adjust the wing mirrors.
Make sure that everything works as it should. It’s better to find out now that something doesn’t work than when you’re on the road.