Shopping for a new car should be an exciting process. Unfortunately, there are too many people out there who are all too willing to take advantage of your excitement when trying to sell you a car. The best way to protect yourself from shady salesmen is to approach purchasing a car the same way an auto mechanic would, by arming yourself with some of these useful tips and tricks.
Checking A Car’s History
There might be a reason your dream BMW is $10,000 under the expected market price. It’s become common practice to purchase vehicles at auctions, repair them and sell them off to unassuming buyers. A trick used by most auto mechanics is to make use of a service such as CARFAX. Using the vehicle’s registration or VIN, a CARFAX report will collect as much information on a used car as possible, from the number of previous owners to previous insurance claims, repairs, and any other information a seller might be trying to withhold. While there is a fee associated with each report, it might just save you from buying a mistake.
Arrange to View and Test Drive the Car
When arranging to view a vehicle any auto mechanic will have criteria they would like met by the seller before they view the car so that they can more thoroughly inspect it.
Have the Car Parked on Level Ground
Having the car parked on level ground allows you to get a better look at any leaks that might be hidden by the car being tilted either backward or forward.
Make Sure the Engine is Cold
Engine issues such as worn rings and seals can be hidden by having the car warm up to operating temperature. A cold start will give you a better idea of the condition of the engine.
Never View a Wet Car
Nasty scratches and shoddy paintwork can be hidden by water, as water fills in the gaps in the clear coat and can hide expensive paint damage from you.
Always View a Car in the Sunlight
It is very difficult to disguise body damage, poor repairs, and bad paintwork in direct sunlight. If the seller won’t let you see the car in the sunlight, chances are something is wrong.
When inspecting a car, finding cosmetic damage such as dents, scratches, and faded trim is easy; and while it may not be pretty, it isn’t usually cause for alarm. Before heading out to view a car, do some research on common rust issues on the model you’re looking at, and familiarize yourself with what the underside should look like. Then when you are inspecting the car, make sure to look in these problem areas for rust, and ensure the underside resembles what it should, as it is common for underside panels to not be replaced after accidents.
The Test Drive
Before you start the car, pop the hood and have a good look at the engine. Check the oil and fluid levels, and take not if either is low, or the coolant looks suspiciously fresh. Remove the oil filler cap, and make sure the oil on the underside of the cap doesn’t resemble a chocolate milkshake, as this indicates water and oil are mixing in the engine.
Keep an eye out for any stickers indicating when the car was last serviced, or is due for its next and compare this to the odometer and service books to ensure the car received scheduled regular maintenance. Finally, press down on each corner of the car and if all the shocks are good the car should only rebound once.
Once you start the car, note the color of the smoke coming out the exhaust. If the exhaust smoke color is black or white and doesn’t clear up after a few seconds, this could mean trouble. White smoke is usually a sign of water in the engine, and black smoke is a sign of poor ignition or excessive carbon build-up.
While driving, don’t be afraid to accelerate and brake a little harder than usually would to ensure the car responds the way you’re expecting. Don’t ever put the radio on; this is a common trick to drown out suspicious noises. Try and make sure the car goes into each gear smoothly, that the brakes are compliant and that features such as the handbrake, power steering, windows, air conditioning, and any other convenience technologies are working.
Get an Auto Mechanic to Inspect the Car
No matter how thorough an inspection you do, an auto mechanic will always be able to be even more thorough. Your mechanic will be able to immediately check for common issues known to that model, as well as diagnose and quote you on any issues they may discover on the test drive. They will also be able to check the car’s OBD2 port and bring up any stored error codes and ensure that the mileage shown on the odometer matches that of other components of your car.
Trusted Auto Mechanic in Pompano Beach
Looking at finally pulling the trigger on a new to your car? Why take the risk of buying a lemon? Book a pre-purchase with our team of experienced mechanics, we’ll happily carry out a full inspection on any car you’re interested in, write you a report, and offer our expert advice on whether or not you’ve got a good deal on your hands. For all your automotive needs, remember Foreign Affairs Motorwerks, South Florida’s Premier Luxury Auto Repair, Performance & Race Facility Since 1978.