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What to check when buying a used car?

If you’re looking for a second-hand car, it’s important to inspect the vehicle thoroughly before making any purchase decisions. This includes checking the paint job and bodywork for obvious signs of damage, inspecting all the gearbox components and checking that there is no accident damage to any part of the car’s interior or exterior.

Check the service log, mileage and ownership details.

When you’re buying a used car, it’s important to check that the vehicle has been regularly serviced and maintained. If it hasn’t been, you might find yourself having to take on expensive repairs.

The mileage on the odometer is also important: if a car has been driven more than 100,000km (60,000 miles) then this can affect its performance by reducing its engine life. The same applies if it was previously owned by someone who lived in an area where there were lots of hills; this will have increased wear on the car’s engine and other parts as well as possibly reducing fuel economy. You’ll want to check whether these problems are present before you buy your new vehicle!

Get a vehicle history report.

It’s important to know what a vehicle history report is before you get one. A vehicle history report is a record of the odometer reading and any accidents or other damage that have occurred in the car’s past. You can use this information as a guide to help you make an informed decision when buying your next car.

A vehicle history report will cost you money, but it may be worth it. If nothing else, knowing what your potential purchase went through in its previous life will give you peace of mind before making such an expensive purchase (hopefully).

There are three ways to get a vehicle history report:

  • You can buy one from companies like CarFax or AutoCheck, which provide this service for free if you are purchasing from them directly
  • Your dealer may offer these reports as part of their standard service package for new cars sold at dealerships
  • Another option is to ask friends who own cars similar in model, year and mileage – they might be willing to share their reports with someone who needs one

Inspect the paint job closely.

The paint job is one of the most important aspects to check when you buy a used car. It does not budge easily and if it’s in bad condition, it can cost you dearly. Here are some of the things you should look for when inspecting the paint job:

  • Scratches and dents: This can be hard to see with just your eyes so get up close and personal with a flashlight or even better yet, take it to a mechanic who works on cars all day long! If there are any deep scratches or dents on the car body, they will definitely show up under bright light (you’ll see them as dark areas).
  • Paint cracking: Another thing that’s hard to notice by looking at your own eyes is cracking in the paint job because most people don’t know what cracks look like until they’ve become big enough for us humans to recognize them easily. To really see how much damage has been done by cracks in the car’s outer layer (which protects us from rust), take a magnifying glass with you during inspection time so that way if any traces are present then those too!
  • Overspray: Overspray refers to excess paint being sprayed onto areas where it was not supposed go such as bumpers or hoods which could leave behind black spots once dried over time if left untreated properly overnight after washing off residue before drying completely up next day morning away from direct sunlight exposure fully protected under cover somewhere else safe place indoors away from sunlight/heat sources keeping away moisture sources such as rain drops falling down outside clouds above open skies below clouds above head height level etcetera…”

Carefully consider any modifications.

When you’re considering purchasing a second hand vehicle, carefully consider any modifications. If it’s been modified, ask the seller for receipts to confirm that they were done by a qualified mechanic and that they are safe.

Most cars come with manufacturer warranties that cover repairs related to faulty parts and components. However, if someone has modified your car in ways not approved by the manufacturer or otherwise damaged it, then you may need to pay out of pocket for repairs or replacements.

Check for evidence of rust.

You should check any signs of rust on both the exterior and interior of the car. Rust can be expensive to fix, and it may not even be noticeable right away. The paint may hide it until you start looking, but then again—it isn’t always easy to tell when there might be some corrosion underneath that fresh coat of paint.

Rust is also a sign of poor maintenance in general; if your potential car is showing signs of rusting through, you should consider yourself lucky that this was your only issue with it.

Ask about any potential engine problems.

  • Ask about any potential engine problems.
  • Ask about any engine work that has been done.
  • Ask about the cost of any repairs.
  • Ask about the cost of servicing.
  • Ask about the car’s fuel economy and emissions

Listen for any strange sounds when driving.

When you drive the car, listen for any strange sounds. If you hear a strange noise, stop the car and investigate it right away. Try to find out where the sound is coming from by parking next to another vehicle at a traffic light or some other place where there are people who can help you get started again if needed. If still unable to find out exactly where it’s coming from, take the car back home and bring it to an expert mechanic who will be able to tell what’s wrong with your potential new ride!

Make sure there is no accident damage to the car’s interior or exterior.

When you’re inspecting a used car for sale, it’s important to check for signs of accident damage. This can include damage to the paintwork on the exterior and interior as well as scuffs or scratches. You should also check upholstery and carpets for any stains or rips, which may indicate that the vehicle has been involved in an accident at some point. If there are no signs of repairs having been carried out on any areas damaged by an accident then it is wise to ask why they were not fixed.

Inspect the tires closely, including their tread depth and condition.

Inspect the tires closely, including their tread depth and condition.

  • Check for damage. If there’s damage to any of the tires, they may have been driven on while damaged or improperly inflated, which can cause them to wear unevenly or fail suddenly and unexpectedly.
  • Make sure there are no cracks in the sidewalls and no punctures in the tread area. These can be signs of previous tire failures or failures that have occurred since you last drove on the car. Going over potholes at high speeds can cause a tire’s sidewall to crack; this is an unsafe condition that needs immediate attention from a tire repair shop if it goes undetected until after purchase (and possibly after driving off with just one good tire).

Buying a second hand car can be tricky if you don’t know what to look out for

Buying a second hand car can be tricky if you don’t know what to look out for. You need to do your research, check the car’s history, get a vehicle history report, get a professional inspection and ask about any potential problems. If you have time take it for a test drive.


Buying a second hand car can be tricky if you don’t know what to look out for. The good news is that there are plenty of resources available to help you avoid making costly mistakes. We hope this guide has been helpful in giving you an idea of what goes into a thorough inspection before buying a used vehicle. Please remember that these tips are just suggestions and they may not apply 100% of the time – so always do your research!