Used Cars: How to Know Whether You’re Getting a Good Deal

For many people, purchasing a used car over a new one is a financial necessity. For others, it simply makes sense as it can save you a whole lot of money. Some people are put off by the idea that they may get ripped off or lumbered with pricey upkeep costs when buying second-hand, but this needn’t be the case. Armed with the right knowledge, you can buy with confidence and be sure to get a good deal on your used vehicle. Here’s how to assess whether you’re getting the best for your money.

Under the Bonnet

Whilst many people pay close attention to the exterior condition of the car and the state of the dashboard inside, many forgo looking under the bonnet. But why do so many buyers skip this imperative step? In most cases, it is because they simply have no clue what to look for. Whilst not everyone can be a registered mechanic, there are some simple tests you can do to assess for key aspects of damage or poor maintenance. These are as follows:

  • Look for oil leaks. This may sound complicated but it’s actually very simple once you know how. If you see a shiny film of oil on any part of the engine, then this could be indicative of a leak, which may in turn signal damage.
  • Look for coolant leaks. Another key thing to look out for is whether there are any coolant leaks. These will be made apparent through white markings on the interior elements.
  • Check the oil levels.You should check the oil levels of the car using the dipstick. This is an important aspect as it tends to indicate whether the previous owner maintained the vehicle properly or not – low oil levels means a lack of care. If you are looking for used cars for sale in Canberra, registered traders are likely to have carried out full maintenance work to ensure the quality of the vehicle.
  • Check oil condition. By pulling the dipstick out of the oil container, you can also assess the condition of the oil. If it is in good condition, it should be first and foremost be clear in colour, possibly with a yellowy tint. Take note that this test is not relevant to diesel engines, as the oil in these will almost invariably be black, and this should not be a concern.

Take Caution with Mileage

Many people laud the mileage as one of the most important factors when assessing the worth of a used car, but this taken with caution. Although it is rare, some sellers have been known to wind their mileage down in order to pretend that it is lower than it truly is. If you are suspicious, then you can look at the interiors of the car, like the condition of the steering wheel, driver’s seat and gear stick to assess for wear and tear, then consider whether it matches up with the mileage shown. On top of this, the service history may show you the accurate mileage. Once you are confident that you have the correct mileage, it is of course the case that the lower it is the better.

If you are planning on purchasing a used car, you should go in with the knowledge needed to truly assess whether you’re getting a good deal so as to buy with confidence.