Blog Post

Spitiko > Knowledge > 10 Inspection Lists on How to Check When You’re Buying a Used Car
Personal loan application form excellent credit score with calculator, dollar money, and pen. High quality photo

10 Inspection Lists on How to Check When You’re Buying a Used Car

Choosing the right car involves more than just admiring its exterior or test-driving it around the block. It’s a decision that affects your safety, finances, and daily convenience. With numerous factors to consider, from safety features to maintenance costs, navigating the car-buying process can feel overwhelming.

However, armed with the right knowledge and guidance, you can make a confident and informed decision. In this article, we’ll explore essential tips and considerations to help you choose a car that not only meets your needs but also prioritizes your safety on the road.

Here are 10 inspection lists on how to check when you’re going to buy a used car.

1. Just testing drive is not enough

Don’t just settle for a short spin around the block when test-driving a car. Take your time to thoroughly evaluate if it meets your every day driving requirements. Simple things like an awkwardly placed cupholder or a sun visor that doesn’t quite block the sun can become major annoyances over time, affecting your comfort and potentially your safety. To make the most out of your test drive, consider these tips:

  1. Spend More Time: Allocate a decent amount of time for the test drive to get a feel for the car’s comfort and functionality.
  2. Check Ergonomics: Pay attention to small details like the accessibility of cupholders and the effectiveness of the sun visors.
  3. Drive in Different Conditions: Test the car in various road and weather conditions to assess its performance comprehensively.

Taking these steps can help ensure that you’re making an informed decision when selecting a vehicle.

Manager filling vehicle service documents holding folder with driver license in the showroom with car on the background

2. Don’t rely solely on historical report

Don’t solely rely on the vehicle history report when buying a used car. While it’s essential to obtain this document as it provides service records and crucial information, it may not reveal everything. Accidents or damage that haven’t been reported won’t show up on the report, potentially leaving you in the dark.

Some dishonest sellers might try to sell vehicles with undisclosed issues, such as flood damage, which won’t be documented in the report, especially if the repairs were done privately. Look out for signs like stained carpet or debris between seats, indicating possible flooding.

Another trick is to inspect the paint consistency, ensuring it matches across the car’s body. Any mismatches, particularly on the hood compared to the sides, could signal past accidents.

Always consider getting a professional mechanic to inspect the car for hidden or significant damage, adding an extra layer of assurance to your purchase.

3. Check with the authorities

When checking out a car’s safety, consult reports from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These organizations oversee car safety standards in Australia. They perform various crash tests and evaluate vehicles based on different criteria. It’s wise to look for cars that receive approval from both. This way, you ensure comprehensive safety assessment from different angles, increasing your confidence in the vehicle’s overall safety performance.

Personal loan application form excellent credit score with calculator, dollar money, and pen. High quality photo

4. Let Edmunds and Kelley be your guides

When choosing a car, utilize resources like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds guides. They offer a wealth of information, including reviews, safety ratings, and current market values. These tools assist you in finding a vehicle that matches both your safety priorities and your budget constraints. By leveraging their insights, you can make a well-informed decision and ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money while prioritizing safety.

5. Car safety is crucial

Understanding the evolution of safety features in cars is crucial, as older models might lack the advancements found in newer ones. Research the timeline for the standardization of key safety equipment like airbags, anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control. These features not only enhance your safety on the road but could also lead to lower car insurance premiums. By knowing which safety features are standard in different model years, you can make informed decisions about which vehicle best meets your safety needs and potentially save you money in the long run.

High angle view at group of business people reviewing documents during meeting in cafe

6. Check for the open recalls

Ensure your safety by checking for open recalls before purchasing a car. Surprisingly, neither car dealers nor private sellers are obliged to disclose this information. It’s a classic case of “buyer beware.” Always take the initiative to verify if the car you’re considering has any outstanding recalls. Utilize the NHTSA website, which provides a convenient tool for checking recalls. By doing so, you can avoid purchasing a vehicle with potentially dangerous defects and ensure your peace of mind on the road.

7. Now, the tyres

Don’t overlook the importance of inspecting the tyres before purchasing a car. While they may seem fine at first glance, they might not always be in the best condition for driving. Besides checking for general wear and tear, pay attention to tread wear patterns, and types of tyres. Uneven wear on one edge of a tyre could indicate misalignment issues with the wheels.

If you notice erratic tyre wear, it’s advisable to have the car’s shock absorbers or suspension system examined by a professional. By thoroughly assessing the tyres, you can ensure that you’re buying a vehicle that is not only safe to drive but also free from potential underlying mechanical issues that may need attention.

8. Check closely if it’s an old or foreign car

When considering older cars or vehicles manufactured outside of Australia, it’s essential to scrutinize them closely. Safety regulations have evolved over time, and older models may not adhere to current standards. Additionally, cars built outside Australia might not meet specific Heads of the EPA Australia and New Zealand (HEPA) requirements or lack mandatory safety features. By paying close attention to these factors, you can make an informed decision about the safety and compliance of the vehicle with current regulations before making a purchase.

Beautiful blue vintage automobile near column on street

9. Stick with the pragmatic idea

While it’s tempting to be swept away by the allure of a car’s appearance, it’s crucial to remain pragmatic. Consider factors beyond aesthetics, such as fuel efficiency, maintenance requirements (which tend to increase with older cars as components wear out), and your driving habits. For instance, while owning a classic 1975 VW Beetle might exude coolness, will it reliably serve as your daily driver or on long road trips?

Evaluate whether the car aligns with your practical needs and lifestyle. A vehicle that captures your heart at first glance may not necessarily be the most suitable choice for everyday use or extended journeys. By weighing these considerations, you can make a well-rounded decision that balances both style and functionality to ensure a satisfying ownership experience.

10. Or trust your instinct

Once you’ve gone through all the items on your checklist, trust your instincts. If you have a gut feeling that something is off about the car, it’s perfectly fine to step back and reconsider.

Prioritizing safety when purchasing a car is crucial for ensuring long-term security. Take the time to educate yourself about other essential safety features that your new vehicle should have, and don’t hesitate to seek guidance from professionals if needed. Ultimately, listening to your intuition can help you make a decision that not only meets your practical needs but also gives you peace of mind knowing that you’ve chosen a car that prioritizes your safety on the road.

Final thought

Selecting the perfect car requires careful consideration of various factors, from safety features and maintenance costs to your personal driving habits and lifestyle. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can navigate the car-buying process with confidence and ensure that you choose a vehicle that not only suits your preferences but also prioritizes your safety and long-term satisfaction.

Remember to trust your instincts, conduct thorough research, and seek professional guidance when needed. With diligence and attention to detail, you can find the perfect car that keeps you secure on the road for years to come.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *