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Inspection Checklist When Purchasing a Second-hand Car

Having the liberty to drive your own car and go wherever you want or need to is one of the greatest joys under the sun. Commuting by public transport will be ancient history for you and as your excitement levels reach their peak, it is also important to remember the responsibilities tied with purchasing a second-hand vehicle.



The key thing to keep in mind when buying a car is the financial burden that rests on your shoulders. Some of the essential things to ponder upon are comprehensive car insurance cover and vehicle maintenance. Ideally, it is always a good idea to explore and compare insurance quotes and choose the one that best suits your needs.


Another way in which to prepare for purchasing a second-hand car is to create an efficient checklist.

This will ensure that you are not caught out when it comes to finding a bargain on a fairly new car. When creating your list, divide it into categories that each comprehensively cover a certain section of the car. These can include:

  • Exterior
  • Interior
  • Tires
  • Engine
  • Suspension
  • Steering
  • Frame
  • Automatic/Manual Transmission
  • Brakes

Not only will a checklist ensure that you are not stuck with excessive repair costs, it will also ensure that you walk away with a safe, roadworthy vehicle. When taking a look at your prospective car, ensure that you take a flashlight and magnet along with you. These will help you identify various issues and negotiate on the price.


If you’re looking to buy a second-hand car, follow this checklist:

  • Pay Attention to Detail.

    Whether you are buying your car from a private seller or a reputable dealer, it is important to pay attention to the details. Although time-consuming, this process will ensure that the car is both safe and roadworthy. Take a look at the exterior of the car – if you notice any bumps, dents or scratches, ask the seller or dealer about what happened. If the car has a fresh coat of paint over it, it could be covering previous paint damage or rust. Take a peek at the interiors and electronics of the vehicle and test them. Use your flashlight to inspect the condition of the seats, pedals and boot. Pay close attention to the tyre tread and their quality.

  • Check for Accident Damage.

    Use a magnet to check for accident damage. Ensure that you use a thin piece of cloth to avoid any scratches on the paint work before applying the magnet to the car. Place the magnet on the sheet metal above all four of the tyres. If it does not stick, there could be a thick layer of filler under the paint that is applied after an accident. When taking the car for a test drive, ensure that the car does not veer off to either side of the road. If you feel that the steering wheel is pulling to the left or right, you know that the wheel alignment is off. Apply the brakes in a medium to forceful manner and check that the automatic or manual transmission occurs smoothly.

  • Scrutinize the Engine.

    You might not be a mechanic, but it is always a good idea to take a look at the engine. If you are wary of the sale, take a handful of photos and consult with someone who works with cars. Ask them to survey the images and point out anything that looks out of place. When taking a car for a test drive, let it idle and listen to the engine. Place it in neutral and put the handbrake up, step out of the vehicle and ask the seller to place pressure on the accelerator, and listen to the sound of the engine.

  • Where’s the documentation?

    When buying a second-hand vehicle, ensure that you check that the manual is located in the glove compartment, that the instructions are included for any accessories or additions, that the service and repair records are immediately available, and that the owner has the registration papers of the vehicle.

To make life a whole lot easier for yourself, make sure you get reliable car insurance policy

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