So you are after your dream car and you have seen one that really stands out. More than that, you can imagine driving it around and it’s absolutely perfect for your needs. But before you rush in, don’t forget that there are many things that you need to check prior to purchasing so put on your car detective hat and start sleuthing. Check the vehicle identification number, the documents and the service history. Make sure that the information on the documents do match that of the vehicle description. You would be surprised how many times that people have brought a car with a different registration number than that on the documents.
When you go to see a car, be prepared to roll up your sleeves and take a good look. Do check the oil in the car, is the oil really black or is there very little oil there? Both scenarios can indicate a lack of care with the maintenance or that there is excessive oil consumption. If the engine has been well-maintained, the oil is likely to be much cleaner although this does not mean that there has been due diligence only that the oil has been changed.
If there are any signs of dampness in the engine, be wary. The last thing you want to do is to buy a car where the engine leaks. It’s a good idea to look underneath the car using your torch, definite leaks should serve as a deterrent. It can be a good idea to compare engines by looking at a few cars with the same make and model as this can also be quite informative.
Start the engine running, if there are any strange noises; let this serve as a warning. Any rattling or tapping noises can indicate some excessive wear and tear in the engine parts. Any irritating whistling sounds can mean that the belt is loose. When you start up the engine, there should never be any black smoke as this could mean that there is a problem with the fuel injection. You may find that white smoke is apparent and this could be a warning sign that the head gasket is on its way out. There shouldn’t really be any visible smoke, so take heed.
Go for a test drive and listen to the sound of the engine to see if you can detect any sounds that shouldn’t be there. Also check that important commodities like the seat belts all work too. If you can take it for a reasonable test drive, you will be able to get a much better feel for the car and to ensure it is right for you. Don’t be afraid to play car detective. A car is a costly purchase after all.
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