What to look for in a pre-owned car

pre-owned carpre-owned car
pre-owned carpre-owned car


What to look for in a pre-owned car

Searching for the perfect used car can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. You could be swayed by persuasive sales people if you are not precisely sure of what you are looking for, and this may lead to you owning a car that you do not really want or like. There are certain aspects you should look out for in used cars for sale in Gauteng, which are outlined below. Follow this easy advice to find your dream car today.


Look at the car’s exterior and interior

Both the exterior and the interior can play a significant role in the value of a car. You will need to make sure to check the interior for any stains, tears or holes. You should also make a careful inspection of the exterior of the vehicle, checking for any places that have been repaired and for rust.

This initial interior and exterior examination will allow you to see what condition the pre-owned car is in and whether you will have to make any repairs to it after purchase. Upholstery damage is not a major issue and is relatively affordable to fix but damage to the dashboard and other interior aspects could become costly.


Perform a leak test

A leak test should be done after the interior and exterior inspection, and is a vital step to take when choosing a used car. You will need to look out for any fluids that are leaking from the car, and if you spot any, this should be taken as a major red-flag for repairs and maintenance.

When you are on a test drive, park the car in a clean area, where there are no stains or marks underneath it. Let the car run for 30 seconds and then move the car and do an inspection for any visible fluids in the spot where you were parked. Black fluid is an indicator of leaking oil and pink fluid could be an indication of a transmission leak.


Stay mainstream

When choosing a pre-owned or used vehicle, it is best to stay with mainstream brands. This is because you may have little to no factory warranty, so the cost of maintenance may be coming straight out of your own pocket.

An oil filter for a mainstream brand may cost as little as R60, but for a less common brand, you could be looking at paying upwards of R200. A mainstream model will also cost less to repair, as the mechanics will already have the replacement parts to hand and the skills needed. If you choose a model that is less common, you may have to visit a specialist mechanic, which can be difficult to find and costly.


Stay safe

Performing a safety check is as important as performing an all round inspection, and can also give you important information about the car. This is especially true if you are buying from a private seller.

During your safety check, you will need to look at whether or not the tyres are in good condition, including the spare, if there is a jack included in the boot as per regulation and if all lights and windscreen wipers work correctly. You should also check that all seatbelts work smoothly and correctly as well as ensuring that the airbag warning lights operate as described in the handbook.


Go for a test drive

Once you have performed all the necessary inspections, it is time to go for a test drive. You should take the car along both local roads and the highway in order to see how it truly operates in difficult traffic flow.

On local roads, you will be able to see how the car shifts in and out of gear, as well as how the brakes operate with stop-start conditions. On highways, you will be able to tell whether the engine runs smoothly or not. On a test drive, keep your eyes and ears open, and avoid turning on the radio so you will be able to hear every noise that your car makes when being driven.


Do some people watching

Now, this does not mean that you should sit idly by and watch people as they look at cars. What you should be doing is watching the body language of the salesperson when you ask specific questions, especially about any damages you may notice to the car’s exterior.

Look for signs that the seller is uncomfortable or if they actively avoid the question. This could mean that there is an issue with the vehicle. If you are unsure about what exactly to look for, less savoury salespeople will take advantage of this. You could bring along a professional mechanic or a friend who is mechanically minded when you go car shopping, so they can pick up on discrepancies in the vehicle you are looking at.

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