How to check a second-hand car before buying


If you are thinking about buying a car on the second-hand market, make sure you read this article and take into service offered tips for buying a used car. If you still have doubts to buy your car new or used, let’s discuss the benefits of buying a used car, which differ from the purchase of a new car. By the way, you can read about how to choose a car. Second-hand cars are sold, usually with rich trim level. When buying a new car options are set separately and only in service centers serving warranty cars, the price of services in these centers is much higher.

how to check used car

Car bodywork check

Inspection of car body is very important when choosing a used car, because the second-hand market is more than 50% of cars have alarm history. Not so bad if the car repainted because of poor-quality factory painting. It’s bad if it were disguised traces of a serious accident, which affected the quality of the geometry of the body and chassis. Inspect the surface of the body to check the quality of paints and the presence of corrosive spots. The coating should be uniform and the same color tone. The difference between the grain from metallic paint, stains in the form of frozen droplets – everything is an occasion to ask a few extra questions to the seller.

how to check used car

Be sure to check for corrosion. Main sections: underbody, sills, wings, wheel arches. Check with a magnet, accumulating air exfoliate corrosion metal will give a hearty grip. A thick layer of anti-corrosion coating masking the most rusty places, be attentive. Drive the car on the rack or use a mirror. Inspect the bottom of the driver’s seat inside the cabin under the rug, use screwdriver to rap, deaf or drowning sound will be evidence of corrosion.

Surface defects in body parts, such as bulges or dents also testify substandard repair work. Inspectable arranged perpendicular to the surface and carry out inspection of sliding along the eye. Along the roof, the hood, the right and left sides of the car. Under this angle, all irregularities are visible at once.

Check suspicious places using magnet, attach and run along. A large number of fillers reduces the attraction of the magnet to iron. Check body parts docking, the clearances should be uniform throughout the length, 0,1 to 0,2 inches. Mounted parts – doors, hood and trunk lid must not protrude into the closed position, the joints should be smooth and symmetrical.

how to check used car

All add-on parts must be well and equally close, with no additional efforts and pressure. Availability problems may indicate a violation of the geometry of the body. The presence of various linings and moldings, it is not only giving the car personality, but also a great way to camouflage the defects.

Please check the location of the engine when the engine is not leveled and has the angles, so the car was in an emergency situation with the head-on collision. Pay special attention to the side members, chipped paintwork or iron creases indicate deformation of the body.

If you notice signs of unnatural, such as a thick layer of fresh sealant or oil is likely to mask this recent renovation. The accuracy of the geometry of the body, it is best to check at the control points on a special stand or while driving. Violation will give the geometry is not the right angle of the wheels, the car will withdraw aside should only release the steering wheel. In these situation give up the purchase.

Chassis and suspension check

Chassis – is the heart of the car. Be picky when reviewed the chassis, do not just look, and be sure to make a test drive. The car can not be physically worn out due to old age and not suitable for further use.

When the steering wheel locked, wheels should not have backlash. It could be checked when picked up a car or alternately lifting the wheels on a jack and wheel swinging in different directions. Have backlash does not indicate health of the steering or suspension components. On the rims should be no dents or cracks.

Check uniform tire wear out, it characterizes the correct geometry of the body and suspension. Check the condition of the shock absorbers by sharp and strong pressing on the wing, the car should not be shaken strongly.

how to check used car

Just pay attention to the integrity of the strikers and anther, there shouldn’t be a leak. When viewed from the brake pads, note pads thickness uniformity. The degree of wear out must be the same, it characterizes the quality of the work cylinder. When checking on the go, check the brakes several times alternately accelerating and braking sharply. If the car brake “nodding” or back sags during acceleration – the shock absorbers are broken. Rate the stopping distance, it is a sign of uneven brake fault. Check the operation of the handbrake with the help of stop on the way down. During braking there should be no extraneous sounds – squeaks and rattle, whose presence will give problems with the brake discs.

On vehicles equipped with ABS braking there should be no bumps and jolts the body and excessive vibration. Strong vibration of steering wheel is a sign of bent rims and chassis deterioration. Suspension should not knocks or rattles or have buzzing sounds, the presence of which is a sign of wore out rubber bushings stabilizers, suspension joints failure.

Engine check

On vehicles older than five years, cannot be perfectly clean under the hood – should be soot residues of lubricants. Perfect cleanliness is an indication that the engine is washed in the repair process. Overhaul of the engine of very old cars, it is certainly good. But notice the following repair evidence, be sure to ask seller the reason. When starting ignition pay attention to the sensor readings on the dashboard, all faults the system will show itself. When starting the engine red sensor can be only the parking brake. Release the handbrake, and the light goes out, if it’s all right.

Stop the engine and then quickly switch on the ignition, the flashing emergency oil pressure sensor will tell about engine faults. Start the engine again and carry out inspection of the undercarriage. Take a look at the expansion tank, the presence of bubbles is evidence of gas entering the engine cooling system, the cause of the fault in the head gasket. Malfunction evidence is a color change of the exhaust gases. The ideal color should be pale blue hue. Attach a napkin to the exhaust pipe when the engine is running, the presence of oily stains indicate a faulty piston rings. Black exhaust point to repair the fuel system. Plug the exhaust pipe when the engine is running at idle if it does not stall – faulty exhaust system.

how to check used car

Check the flow of oil and other fluids, hoses must be flexible and have no cracks. The consistency of the oil should be homogeneous without metal impurities, all changes can indicate deterioration of the component parts. Rust on the neck of the oil barrel indicates engine overheating. Using a flashlight, inspect the inside filler, golden color surfaces inside indicates the health of the engine. Running the engine should hold steady pace and not have extraneous sounds. When the engine warms up, check the temperature sensor readings and work the stove in the cabin.

Gearbox check

Set the automatic gearbox in «D» position, remove the parking brake – the car must remain in place without moving, pressing the accelerator pedal should get under way smoothly without jerking. If you hold the brake pedal, and while strong pressing the gas pedal the engine should stall.


If you hold the brake pedal switch the lever in all positions, the car should not be sharply jerk. Try to enter the climb after the stop, if the car enters only after a set of 1.5 thousand revolutions, the automatic system is very worn out and in the future may not overpower the climb. When you stop on the way down the lever in position «R» car should clearly stay in place and not slide.

Interior check

Dashboard cracks, chips, difference in gaps between the parts will be the signs of repair. It is necessary to specify the reason. Perhaps the panel acted sizing or still had a serious accident. All options should work – heated seats, power mirrors and windows, etc. Use all the buttons and levers, everything must function properly. Check the roof sheathing and doors, for mounting strength and moisture. The interior should not be wet or in front of you – it is the evidence of drowned or burnt car. All seats must be adjustable and foldable.

how to check used car
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