How to shop for a used vehicle

How to shop for a used vehicle

Practice due diligence to avoid nasty surprises

Selecting a new car is difficult, but selecting a used car is more difficult. If you are not careful, you may end up with extra expenses. So prepare yourself with clear ideas to ensure you buy the right car.

Never get blind to your favorite brand as this will make you skip its faults. When shopping for a used car, look for damages, unusual scratches, chipped paint, rust or dents. Inspect the outer and inner sides of the tires. Check the tire's tread depth by putting a coin inside and if it does not go in too deep, the tires need to be replaced.

Check the odometer for mileage and do a history check to avoid the risk of clocking. Make sure the engine compartment is clean without any oil leaks. See whether the engine belts fit well. Also check the brake fluid and engine coolant. Engine oil that is dark and dirty signals poor maintenance.

Get the car on a test drive for a fair distance and check its steering wheel, brake, air conditioner, radio and lights. Listen to the engine sound as well.

Then seek the help of an expert mechanic before purchasing the vehicle. He will not only inspect it for damages, but will also predict future repairs.

Experts say it is better to buy used cars from original or second owners. If you plan on buying from a used car dealership, be sure to check the company's service records. Also do your homework regarding the policies of the dealership and related documents.

Handy Hints:

• It is very important to get the car on a test drive

• Check for any damages, rust, dents and scratches

• Get a mechanic to inspect the car before purchase

Click on Buying and Selling guides and know the choices to make while buying a car

Source: Asha Das, Special to Classifieds

The writer is a freelancer