Getting your hands on a new set of wheels is always exciting. When it comes to used cars, it can be pretty tempting to snap up a good deal as soon as you come across it. However, extra care needs to be taken to ensure you’re not handing over your money for a dud. We’ve partnered with The NRMA to compile a shortlist of important things to check before buying a used car.
First thing’s first, know your budget. The last thing you want is to get into a financial pickle down the line. Decide how much money you’re willing to spend, and how much of that you need to borrow, then stick to it. The NRMA offer used car loans, which is a great option if you need help financing your new ride. They also have a very handy loan calculator, so you can see straight-up what your repayments will be. This is a great tool to use to help you stay on top of your budget and figure out exactly how much you’ll be repaying.
Alright, you’ve narrowed down your options, had a chat with the seller or dealer, and it’s time to check out the car in the flesh. Be sure to give the entire thing a once, twice, thrice over with a very discerning eye. Look out for things like peeling paint, rust, dents, and scratches. Plus check for any loose panels, and see if all the lights work too. If the seller is honest, they’ll have mentioned any of this damage if present beforehand, but it’s still essential to check it out yourself.
The outside seems to look okay, now time to hop inside the car to check out the interior. Here, you’ll want to see if things like the seat belts, air conditioning, lights, and speakers are working. If the car has electric windows, have a go at opening and closing them to ensure they’re fine. If it has airbags, look out for a warning light that should appear briefly on the dashboard when you turn the ignition on. Turn the engine on and keep an ear out for any irregular engine sounds or unexpected noises coming from other parts of the car too.
Under The Hood
When you’re checking under the hood, ensure none of the parts have rust damage or are corroded. Checking the level of engine oil is a good idea too, as it’s a pretty good indication of whether the previous owner had been looking after it well or not. If the level is too low, they probably haven’t been doing such a stellar job. You should also be able to find the car’s engine number and VIN (vehicle identification number) under the hood too. These can be used to check the history of the vehicle, how many previous owners it’s had, if there’s any outstanding finances owed on it, odometer readings, and more useful information that’s good to know about the car.