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What To Look For When Buying A Used Car

| In Buying Guides

The time has finally come to start looking for a used car to buy, with so many choices out there and so many dealerships; it can be an overwhelming decision to make!

 We have already made a few articles for you to help you decide which second-hand car to buy, like this with 5 best used electric cars to buy, but what follows is a list of what to look for when buying a used car. It includes the top used car buying tips from our mechanics and other experts here at Cargiant, so you can rest easy with great advice from professionals!

Used Car Buying Tips 

Don’t Focus So Much On Mileage

When figuring out what to check when buying a used car, one mistake that a lot of people make is to assume that the higher the mileage of a vehicle, the less value it has. This is generally not true, if the mileage is extraordinarily high then it is probably best to look elsewhere, but otherwise bear in mind that cars are designed to last.

Instead of focusing on one thing, look at the car as a whole to gauge how well it has been driven by its previous owner. Things to look out for that can tell you if a vehicle has not been driven well include gears slipping and a poorly functioning DPF (Diesel Particulate filter). If you are looking at convertibles then make sure that you check the sealing washers as they could prevent any unwanted leakage. If you view a car and spot signs of wear then bear in mind that it could be costly.


Consider Your Commute

Next on our used car buying tips, let’s talk diesel. Diesel engines are not best suited to small commutes. The DPF collects dirt in the fumes and prevents them from entering the atmosphere. To clean the filter a diesel car must be driven over 40mph for an extended period of time which can be as long as 40 minutes. So small commutes mean that the DPF has no chance to get cleaned, a DPF that is in a poor condition indicates that the car has not been well looked after. A DPF that needs to be cleaned will trigger a warning light on the dashboard.

Small engines are best suited to small journeys whilst bigger engines perform better on longer journeys. This makes smaller cars perfect for city driving.


Oil or Silicone?

If you have been advised before on what to check when buying a used car, you have probably been warned to check for oil leaks. But here’s something not many will tell you: When looking at cars in dealerships, bear in mind that many manufacturers spray silicone spray on the engine to help clean certain parts. Many people mistake this liquid for oil. 

Although you must check an engine for oil spillage only be concerned if there is a very noticeable amount of oil covering the engine as some leakage is expected.


The Need For Car Speed

If speed is important to you then bear in mind that many cars have their top speeds limited by the manufacturer. There’s nothing worse than spending your hard-earned money on something that does not live up to expectations!


Flat Battery

One of Cargiant's top used car buying tips is not to dismiss a car because the battery is flat. In car dealerships, people are expected to sit in cars and go on test drives etc. Sometimes these people forget to turn off the headlights or leave electrical items on in the car. This can’t be helped and unfortunately happens fairly often!


Viewing a Used Car 

Last on our list of what to look for when buying a used car, we’ve gathered some final words of advice regarding viewing your second-hand vehicle.

First, don’t look at cars when it’s raining as the rain can disguise blemishes on the bodywork. Also, pay close attention to how the vehicle is presented to you. You may find that the car is parked in a way that makes it hard to inspect a part of the car.  This could be a deliberate act to cover some issues that the vehicle has.

Also, when looking around a used car model you are serious about buying, make sure that there is a handbook inside as these can be very expensive to replace.

Always test drive a car you are thinking of buying, this is the perfect opportunity to see how it handles and a chance to notice any engine or gearbox issues. It also enables you to check if your driving position is comfortable and you can reach all the controls with ease.

Remember to check the boot also, making sure that you have enough space for a pushchair now can save you blood, sweat and tears later! It’s important to make sure there is enough legroom for any regular passengers that you expect to have.


We hope these used car buying tips have been useful for you, if you want to put some of this advice into practice then have a look at the nearly new vehicles for sale at Cargiant.