Buying a New Car? Here’s your Inspection List

So it is finally time for you to look for a new car. You are ready and raring for the independence it will bring you, and you can’t wait to show your friends your new wheels. But there are some things that you need to do before you make your decision on which car best suits your needs, and this includes inspecting the car.

If you are looking at some of the many pre-owned cars with a warranty still available, you will find in your inspection that they have been well looked after. However, it is still important to perform an inspection before making a purchase. If you are not sure where to start, below are some top tips for your new car inspection list.

Start with the body condition

The body condition of the car is highly important. You will need to check every panel, including the roof for scratches, dents and rust patches. Pay attention to the lines and gaps between the doors and fenders, as these are often overlooked and could have unseen rust.

If there are misaligned panels or large gaps between the doors and frame could indicate that there has been a bad repair performed on the car. Luckily, pre-owned cars with a warranty will not have this type of serious exterior damage. To detect whether a dent has been filled with body filler, hold a magnet over it. If it has been filled, the magnet will not stick as it will not detect any metal.

Move on to the glass

A cracked windshield or back window is not ideal for your new car. You need this glass to be whole and not broken as it is keeping you safe from the outside while driving. Be sure to look out for any large, cracked areas but do not dismiss small cracks either as these can become larger over time if not fixed.

You will need to ask if any of the pre-owned cars you are interested in have had their windows replaced. You will need to be aware of this because it could have an effect on how stable the windows are in their frames and how likely they are to slip out or break. If the windshield has been replaced, ask if it was replaced by a reputable repair shop. Knowing the history behind the repairs of your new car is important as it can help you with future issues.

Take a look at the tyres

Checking the condition of the tyres is one of the most important steps in your vehicle inspection. If you notice that there is uneven wear on the car tyres, this could mean that the vehicle is not correctly aligned. And worn tyres are not safe to drive with.

You will also need to check whether or not all of the tyres are the same brand. This could indicate that a tyre has recently been replaced due to damage or even a puncture. Treadwear should be even across the width of the tread and on both sides of the car. Be sure to ask if the tyres have been regularly rotated. Pre-owned cars with a warranty might allow for you to replace the tyres if they are still original and under warranty.

Check under the hood

Inspecting the engine is vital to any new car purchase. And if you know that your car engine knowledge is lacking, you can bring along a friend or family member who knows about mechanical issues so that they can check for anything that does not seem right.

Below is a list of what you should look for when inspecting the engine:

  • Hoses and belts: Be sure to squeeze the hoses and belts of the radiator, air conditioner, and other parts. The rubber should not be hard or cracked but nor should it be too soft.
  • Fluids: Engine oil should be dark brown or black and should never be gritty. If it is a honey colour then it has been recently changed. The transmission fluid should be pink and smell like oil, and never have a burnt aroma. If the dipstick leaves metal particles on the rag, there are serious problems to remedy.
  • Radiator: To check the functionality of the radiator, look into the plastic reservoir that is connected by a rubber hose to the radiator. The fluid should be green or orange, not milky or rusty in colour. If there are greenish stains on the radiator, it is a sign of pinhole leaks.
  • Battery: A green indicator on the car battery means that it is in good shape. A yellow or black light means that it no longer has charge and might need to be replaced or recharged. Ask for a mechanic to check out the battery thoroughly before making any decisions.

Drive off into the sunset

Inspecting even pre-owned cars with a warranty is vital to all car buyers, even if you are a dab hand at choosing cars. Start by looking at the body of the car, then move onto examining the glass and the tyres carefully.

After this, you can look under the bonnet to scrutinise the engine and all its parts. Once you have inspected the car, you can make a decision on whether to buy it or not and you will soon be driving off into the sunset in your new wheels.

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