USED CAR PURCHASE – CHECK POINTS
Cars have become part and parcel of day to day sustenance but buying one is not a takeaway for everyone. Not all are gifted to get a brand new eye-candy to boast off, and some may have to settle with second-hand products. But why should one feel bad about getting a used car if it looks good, runs well and satisfies the needs? Here are a few pointers to check on before deciding on purchasing a used car.
The type of car, the purse amount and the type of usage must be taken into account before deciding to go for a car.
- The type of car would essentially mean the number of people most likely to travel in it
- The type of usage would mean long or short drives and the type of terrain the car would be subjected to while being driven.
Once the model is fixed up in mind, second-hand purchases become quite easy because there would be a single-minded set of questions to be asked to various people regarding that model only. Always ask two or three authorised dealers before fixing on an estimate.
Open the bonnet:
Cars appearing like this from behind might have problems in the front like this.
So it is always better to have a compartmentalised view of the car before deciding to go for it.
The heart of the vehicle should be checked thoroughly, mostly with the help of a mechanic or a person with adequate hands-on experience with automobiles. The flywheels would get rusty after prolonged usage. Checking the engine also means investigating every small component associated with it right from the bearings to the valves.
The belt drives associated with the engines are also mandatory checkpoints. These belts are usually toothed and hence any deformation in the tooth would mean the car has been used too much. The degree of elasticity of the belt would also transform to the quality and quantity of usage. When the belt is slightly pulled and released, the vibratory oscillations should not be more than 1 to 1.5 centimetres.
Usage and distance:
This is one important perspective while buying a second-hand car. If a car is assumed to run for about 30 kilometres a day, it would mean 30 * 365 = 10,950, which can be translated to approximately 11,000 kilometres a year. So if a car (if it is not a taxi) has run more than 75,000 kilometres (which roughly equals 7 years of usage), there are high chances that that particular model has become obsolete. So think twice before buying these kinds of models, because used cars would require a lot of maintenance (at least initially) and hence the spares should be readily available.
Appearance and body:
The car must be examined visually and also by touch. There are certain minor bumps and dents which might not be visible to the naked eye but on sliding the hands over the exterior of the car, one might be able to sense the minor glitches.
The paint and coating also matters; if the car looks old after a sneak peek into the bonnet but it has been painted, there might be recent accidents and paints would mean effective cover-ups. So make sure the paints are used only for the aesthetic needs and not to deceive the buyer.
Tyres, which literally set the wheels in motion, are potential sources of implied information. The distances shown in the odometer of the vehicle can be duped but the tyres would show up variations. Tyres are usually meant to operate for around 25,000 kilometers before replacement. Even if the odometer is being reset (in the case of a digital one) or tampered (in the case of a mechanical type), the tyres can act as good measures of guesstimating the approximate run.
For detailed information, the owner’s service log may be examined to check the history of services. This would give a clear-cut picture of how many services the car has undergone, which would eventually decide if one can buy it or not.
This is where the steering and ABC (acceleration, brake and clutch) of the vehicles come into play significantly. The gears should be shifted by keeping the clutch partially pressed (this condition is called as half-clutch position); this would indicate the smoothness of the transmission system. While shifting, if the gear lever becomes rigid, or if it is harder for shifting, then it means the transmission needs to be looked into.
Also, the vehicle shouldn’t give a rugged feel while driving. Unnecessary wobbles and a roaring noise (typically like that of a note sustained in a bass guitar) at speed ranges of 50 to 70 kilometres per hour would imply the car might cause several problems like engine failure in the near future.
The differentials of the car can be put to test by performing slight turns. If the opposite pairs of tyres (right in the case of a left turn, and left for a right turn) tend to be a bit draggy during the turn, the car might very well be towards its finals stages.
Power steerings are not susceptible to failure very easily; they usually give warning signs before they fail permanently. The initial warning signals would be a freakish screech heard every time the steering is turned to beyond 50 to 60 degrees. This is a minor stage which can be overcome by replacing the steering fluid.
Another way to know the steering effectiveness is to serve it using a single hand. If there is a difficulty in taking a 60-degree turn within 10 meters at 20 km/hr, it is a warning sign that the steering might give in.
Once the deal is settled, make sure to get all the required papers like RC book, insurance documents and other ownership transfer details from the owner so as to avoid any legal disputes and issues.
Cost and quality are two factors separated by a thin line, especially in the case of used car purchase. Be informed, look close and don’t fall for word magic. Think for a second to buy a second-hand car. Vrooom !