It does not matter if you are buying a second hand car from an individual or from a local car dealer you need to carefully inspect the car for any defects that are not apparent.
Second hand car buying tips:
1. Educate yourself as a consumer
2. Prepare a list of your needs. Prioritize between the necessities and the wants.
3. Determine the budget and the kind of car that would best fit.
4. Make a selection by models and types. Narrowing them down will be helpful.
5. Research both online and offline by dealers.
6. Know the market value of model you .
7. Research the Vehicle Identification Numbers and history.
8. Take a mechanic when checking the car whether buying from a friend or a dealer.
9. Never shy away from asking questions.
10. If there’s a gut feeling about it not being good, don’t be afraid to walk away.
Bringing a mechanic along is always a good strategy. Make sure your mechanic inspects the total car, down to its last screw. It should be parked on a level spot. You should make certain that it was driven for about an hour before the inspection. The car should be inspected in a well lit area in daylight.
How to inspect it thoroughly:
Checking the exterior.
Walk around to see if there is damage to the body. The corners of the car should be shaken and bounced up and down to see if the shock absorbers are still in good condition. Make sure that the wheel bearings do not make any sound when trying to pull the front tires by tugging them. Open the doors lift the hood and the trunk to see if all the rubber seals are still in place. This will also tell if any hinges are loose. Check for signs of repainting. There will be difference in the color because shops can never duplicate the original paint of the car exactly. Ask someone to turn on all the outside lights of the car and look if all are working. Cars with only 30,000 miles of travel most probably still have their original tires. Beware if you find a car with only a few miles of travel but has new tires. When the test drive is done, check the break discs. Check the windshield for cracks.
Checking the Interior.
Though it sounds odd, smell the inside of the car. Sniff under mats and the carpet. If it smells like mildew then it’s a sign that there is a leak somewhere or that the car may have undergone flood damage. Switch on the air-conditioning to make sure that it really turns the whole inside of the car cold. Next, try the heater. Try out all lights inside as well and never forget to blow the horn. Also try all the seat adjustments. The upholstery should still be in good shape too. There is a lot more to check and here is where the mechanic can help the buyer.
Looking inside the trunk. Once more, smell the insides and check for any signs of leaks. Make sure that some basic car tools are still present for the new user.
Checking under the hood. Feel the wiring for any cracks or brittleness. Squeeze the hoses and the fan belt for any cuts and possible electrical tape patches. Do not take off the cap of the radiator until its cool enough. The greenish color indicates a good condition where the coolant is. Beware of stains and dirty-whitish color on the radiator.
Checking under the car. Lie down if you must and use an emergency light to see the engine underneath. Feel any signs of residue. Check the pipes and examine any possibility of heavy rusting.
Do the Test Drive. The owner or dealer of the second hand car should not stop a buyer from going over about twenty minutes of test drive. This is a special time to thoroughly look for any problems with the air-conditioning, heater, steering wheel, brakes, transmission, and most importantly, the comfort. Feel everything; it’s okay to try it on a hump or a slight bumpy road to really experience the performance. Listen carefully to check any rattles.