Buying a used car is a lucrative albeit risky investment. While the low prices and simple purchase policies may cause a vehicle to seem like a steal, danger and regret might be lying just below the hood. Whether you’re buying from an individual or a reputable dealer like Ridetime, it’s important to give a thorough examination of the vehicle before making a permanent commitment.
Problems with the engine, steering, tires, or transmission could cause instant buyers remorse or even financial destitution. According to the Royal Bank of Canada, roughly 33% of used vehicle sales take place between private citizens. This means that it’s on you to evaluate the condition of the vehicle before purchasing it, to help you do so, here’s a quick guide of what to look for.
A problem with a vehicle’s engine could leave you stuck with a lemon, or at the very least, extensive repair costs. To prevent this, here are some warning signs that the used car you’re pining for might not have the healthiest heart.
- Check the hoses and belts to ensure that everything will run safely and efficiently. Belts are often the subject of breaks, frays, and cracking. You’ll also want to squeeze the radiator hoses, if they’re soft, then the system is likely damaged and needing replacement.
- Be on the lookout for any signs of corrosion on the engine block. Dark brown oil stains, leaking brake fluid, and acidic buildup can indicate expensive compromises in the engine’s integrity.
When examining the condition of a used car’s engine, it’s imperative that you hold it to a strict standard concerning cleanliness and decay. Any indications that the system is broken or worn out should be a red flag not to purchase the car as is.
Problems with a vehicle’s steering can be particularly scary. When operating vehicle, control is everything, and any technical flaw that threatens this control could mean disaster. To protect yourself and others, here are some ways to discern whether or not a used car is sporting some wonky steering.
- The best way to evaluate the steering of a car is, of course, to test drive it. Ask the owner or dealer to let you test-drive the car, if they refuse, obviously do not buy that vehicle. If they oblige then you’ll want to make note of any resistance, unresponsiveness, or clunky noises when turning, as it could indicate a problem with the steering joints.
- Another important criteria when evaluating a vehicle’s steering is to say how accelerating and braking affects it. If the wheel slips while braking or pressing on the accelerator, there may be a very expensive repair in that vehicle’s near future.
When test-driving your prospective car, the main thing you want to consider is how responsive it is to your commands. Anything that impedes you travelling in exactly the direction you want should disqualify that vehicle immediately.
Tires & Wheels
Tires and wheels are usually the part of a car that is subject to the wear and tear of life on the road. When buying a used car it’s important to not only examine the condition of the tires, but also the structural integrity of the wheels all together. These observational practices can help you decide whether or not your prospective used automobile is ready for the road.
- A quick and easy way to evaluate the state of a vehicle’s tires is to give it a quick visual examination and psi check. Look for any signs of excessive wear or cracking, and ensure that the tires can hold a healthy psi.
- When trying to evaluate the condition of a car’s wheels, you’ll want to stand back and get low. When your face is parallel to the asphalt, look that the car rests evenly and none of the wheels seem misaligned.
While tires can be inflated or replaced at minor expense, damage to a vehicle’s wheels or alignments can be costly or even render the vehicle unusable. Always be sure that the vehicle you purchase is in the ideal condition to drive that day, don’t accept anything less than perfection.
Ridetime always makes sure that every used car they put out on the lot is in tip-top shape. While their new state of the art servicing facility is more than capable of handling any servicing need, protecting yourself from costly repairs is always a good idea. If you can’t buy from one of Canada’s most respected used car dealers like Ridetime, then be sure to hold the individual you’re buying from accountable for the vehicle’s imperfections.