Approximately 1% of all new cars are defective, meaning that they will be a source of ongoing and often unfixable problems. This percentage increases considerably with used cars. The higher the mileage, the more likely a car is to suffer problems with its major components. Put simply, purchasing a used car has its benefits, but a savvy buyer should have a good understanding of the added risk factors involved.
People opt to buy used cars for a variety of reasons. You may be a young person, looking to buy your first car with a limited budget. On the other hand, you may be someone that would rather drive a good quality used car.As opposed to a cheap entry-level new car.
The general concerns will affect all prospective used car buyers. Am I getting a good deal? Are there hidden problems with this car? Will this car be a source of regular maintenance costs?
These days, buyers have access to more details regarding a car’s history such as online service records, and accident and theft reports. Reputable car dealers will also have their own standards for purchasing cars. This provides you with added peace of mind. With private sales though, a seller is not legally obligated to divulge the same level of information. You need to ask the right questions and know what you are looking for.
There is nothing worse than realising that you have bought a burden that creates more problems than it solves. Fortunately, some helpful guidelines can dramatically reduce your risk when purchasing a used car. They will also assist you in making a more informed choice.
The Basic Homework
The first step is to accurately determine your budget. This does not just apply to the selling price of the car or your monthly finance costs. Depending on the make and model, a car’s spare parts may be available over-the-counter at any parts dealer but other models will require you to purchase parts from a small number of country agents. This results in a far steeper price. In some cases, local agents will keep only a limited range of spares for a model of car. This means you having to order your part, and at a once-off import price. This is very important to consider when calculating what your long term costs will be.
Try to strike a balance between your wants and needs. Are you looking for a sedan, a family-sized car or the car you have always fancied? In each case, the mileage, cost of maintenance and resale value are factors that must also be considered.
Once you have decided on the make, model and age of the car that you are looking for, the next step is to check online websites for a recommended retail value for the car in question. This is one of the most important tips. Now, you can tell at a glance if a seller’s asking price is cheeky and you will also know what your bargaining range is.
Check The Mileage And Checks!
A car’s mileage is also important in terms of assessing risk. These days, there are a few car manufacturers that produce cars that will manage 200 000 miles before typically experiencing major mechanical problems. However, the old guideline still applies to most makes of car. 100000 miles is the cut-off, beyond that, the probability of incurring heavy expense for major repairs is increased dramatically. Warrantywise offers affordable cover up to 120 000 miles, providing you with protection well into the high-risk range.
Finally, do your checks. Ask if the car has a full-service history and make use of free online services such as accident checks. In some cases, a car seller may not have reported an accident to claim with their insurers. However, you’ll find those cases will be limited to minor repairs. Serious accidents involving expensive repairs are most often claimed for, and you will know if a car has had extensive work done. Cars that have been written off by insurers or have undergone major repairs are far more likely to be the kind of car that always has something wrong with it.
The Physical inspection
Another tip for buying a used car is to see it up close. Inspect the car engine for leaks and visible signs of sludge and grime. Oil leaks on the ground under the car are easy to spot, but recently repaired leaks won’t be so obvious. Look at the exterior of the engine and its various connecting pipes. Brown, or worse still, black grime will be a sign of oil leakage. An engines water coolant or anti-freeze is typically green or yellow, whereas the gearbox fluid will be red-brown in colour. These are all tell-tale signs that you may have costly repairs in store for you, further down the line.
Assessing the condition of the head gaskets is also important and it is not necessary to be a mechanic to spot the major warning signs. For peace of mind though, you could use an inexpensive vehicle inspection product. The head gasket serves the function of preventing oil and coolant from getting into the engine cylinders. When a car is first started, it is normal for there to be an initial puff of smoke but persistent smoke from a car’s exhaust is not normal. Blue smoke from a car’s exhaust is a sign that oil is entering the engine’s cylinders and suggests a head gasket or engine seal problem. White smoke is typically a warning that the coolant or antifreeze is leaking into the engine cylinders, and finally, black smoke indicates that an engine is burning too much petrol. These red flags should cause you to either walk away or negotiate a good discount.
Focus on the wear and tear
In terms of the interior check, old wisdom is helpful. The condition of a car steering wheel and clutch peddle are a very good indicator of how well the car has been cared for. When a car has a clutch peddle with worn-off rubber and a brittle-looking steering wheel, you can be sure that the car has been driven poorly, and probably parked outside in the elements for years. It is also necessary to contrast this wear and tear with the cars reported mileage. High mileage, beyond 100,000 miles, is typically when one would find steering wheels and clutch peddles in such condition. If the mileage on the odometer is fairly low, you should be suspicious.
When taking the car for a test drive, the gear change should be quiet and fluid. Also, the clutch should engage the engine at about the halfway mark. If you need to push the clutch all the way down before it catches the engine, you could have problems. Sticky gearboxes and spongey clutches are always a sign that your wallet is going to get lighter. Warrantywise offers excellent protection for wear and tear, with a range of options to suit your needs.
Hedging your bets
Nothing is fool-proof. Doing your homework and taking heed of the standard advice will reduce the chances of you suffering buyer’s remorse. There is, however, an inherent risk with buying used cars. The older a car is, the greater the chances are of costly mechanical failure. This presents most car owners with the problem of having to potentially pay lump sums of money to get their car back on the road. Purchasing a warranty is an effective way to protect you from uncertainty that cannot be planned for.
For a modest monthly fee, Warrantywise offers protection against the risk of serious mechanical costs. Avoiding the problem of having to make large payments in the process. Payments that could require borrowing money or simply being skint for months. Most warranties also offer additional benefits such as roadside assistance and car hire. You can choose the length of cover that suits your needs and your finances. After the initial expense of buying the car, deciding to take the risk may seem like the cheaper option at first, but in the long run, it’s unlikely to be. We hope these tips for buying a used car will set you on the right road!