Used cars are often a fraction of the price of new ones and as such, are a great option for drivers who are on a tight budget. Here are two tips which should help you to find a reliable, roadworthy used car.
Watch out for strange odours and sounds during the test drive
You should take the process of test driving a used car very seriously. If you fail to pay close attention to the vehicle's performance during your drive, you could end up purchasing a car which has major faults that will take time and money to resolve.
During the test drive, check for unusual odours. If for example, you can detect a burning smell each time you switch gears, this could indicate that the clutch is not adequately lubricated. This lack of lubrication can cause friction, which can then result in the generation of heat. Heat can warp the clutch plates and affect the functionality of the clutch.
A malfunctioning clutch can be extremely dangerous; as such, if you decide to buy a car with this fault, you would need to replace this component before you could safely drive it on public roads.
It's also important to listen out for strange sounds during the test drive; if you can hear a low, hissing noise, for instance, this may mean that there is a hole in the car's radiator that is allowing the engine coolant to leak out.
Driving a car with low coolant levels can result in the engine overheating which can, in turn, cause the car to stop working. Given this, if you choose to purchase a used car with a broken radiator, there is a good chance that it will break down during one of your road journeys.
Ask for records of the car's servicing history
When viewing a used car, it is important to ask the seller for records of its servicing history, as a vehicle which has been serviced on a regular basis is likely to be far more reliable than one which has rarely, if ever, undergone servicing.
The reasons for this are as follows; servicing allows a mechanic to identify and repair minor defects before they begin to affect the functionality of a car.
The adjustments and checks they perform during the servicing process also enable them to prevent faults from arising in the first place. For example, most mechanics will top up both the engine oil and engine coolant reservoirs during a routine servicing. The oil can prevent the engine's components from being abraded when they are in motion, whilst the coolant can prevent heat from building up inside the engine block and warping the engine's metal components.
Similarly, a mechanic will usually check and, if necessary, replace a car's brake pads during a servicing. Making sure that the brake pads are in good condition can help to prevent the brakes callipers and rotors from becoming dangerously abraded (abrasion of these components can lead to sudden, unexpected brake failure).
In short, a used car which has undergone annual servicing is unlikely to have any major electrical or mechanical faults which could make it unsafe to drive, or which could end up costing you a small fortune to repair.
If you are interested in finding out how you can get the most out of your car, you have come to the right place. My name is Peter Gunn and I live in Sydney, Australia. If there is one thing I love to do, it is to spend the weekend playing around with my car. I am not a trained auto mechanic but I do have a good understanding of everything which is required in order to keep a car running, to repair its bodywork and to modify the interior so you can experience superior comfort. I have learnt all of this information from visiting auto garages and reading repair and modification manuals.