Buying a second-hand car can be daunting, especially when your knowledge of how cars work is limited to turning the key and pressing the accelerator and brake pedals.
After searching online and finding a car that fits your needs and matches your budget, the real work, and stress, begins. What’s the history of the car? Is it roadworthy? Has it been well-looked after? Has it been in an accident or been in a flood?
Carsome, Southeast Asia’s largest integrated car e-commerce platform, has introduced a thorough 175-point inspection to ensure every car sold through the platform meets the standards required to become a Carsome Certified used vehicle.
However, having a professional and certified Carsome inspector by your side isn’t always possible, so here are four areas to focus on when assessing the condition of a car you are interested in buying.
The road test inspection – steering operation
How ready is the car for you to be able to drive away with confidence? A simple test to carry out is to test the steering and see how precise it is. If the car isn’t responding properly, it may mean you won’t be able to control it accurately during an emergency. Try moving the steering wheel during a test drive and if the wheels don’t move even after you’ve made more than a quarter of an inch turn of the wheel, there’s reason to be concerned.
Other areas to look at before hitting the road include checking the tire tread and testing headlights and indicators.
The undercarriage inspection – engine mounts
The engine mount holds the engine to the chassis of the vehicle, but other than securing the engine in place, its purpose is to help reduce engine vibrations and provide a smoother drive. Often, engine mounts wear or break due to age and need to be replaced. The tell-tale signs that engine mounts need replacing is when there’s excess noise and vibration that can affect other components under the hood. Try running the engine for a while to see what happens.
While you are under the hood, it’s always good to check engine oil, brake fluid, and the battery. If they haven’t been checked before going for sale, there’s a good chance other things have been overlooked too.
The exterior inspection – cut & joint vehicle
One of the most important inspection points is to check the integrity of a vehicle’s chassis. The cut and joint exterior inspection looks at whether the vehicle has been in an accident and repaired at key areas. To help you evaluate the used car’s history you may also want to identify any areas of the vehicle affected by minor or major repairs, scratches, rust, or dents.
You should also check its chassis or engine number if possible to check serial numbers tally with the vehicle’s registration book.
The interior inspection – power window controls
Power window failures are a common occurrence in many older vehicles. Whether it’s a non-functioning switch, jammed motor or a malfunction, fixing and replacing these parts could become a substantial additional cost in the future.
In addition to windows, check other interior fixtures: are the seat-belts working, is your air-con cool, is your dashboard responsive, do the seats adjust as they should?
Now that you are armed with a few car inspection tips, thoroughly checking your prospective car buy should be easier. However, if it’s overwhelming, you can always visit a Carsome Experience Center, where all the car-buying hassle – from vehicle inspection to paperwork – will be taken care of for you in a fully transparent and convenient manner.