How do I look for faults on a used car?
When you’re looking to buy a used car, there can be a lot to think about. However, you’ll also want to check the car for any potential faults.
First, have a good look round the car for any damage on the body: scratches, dents and so on. Look for uneven gaps between the panels, too, as they could betray some problems underneath, such as poor repairs or damage from an accident.
The paint should be an even colour all over the car. If it’s not, that too could be the sign of a shoddy repair. If any of the paintwork is bubbling up, be very wary, as this could well be a sign of rust.
Don’t forget to look at the lights and indicators, either. Check they work, and that there’s no damage to the lenses.
Naturally, if you’re looking at a convertible, make sure the roof is in good condition, keeping an eye out for any tears in a soft top, and check it all operates smoothly.
Check the tyres. First of all, check they have enough tread on them. You can do very simply with the edge of a coin: insert a 20p coin into the grooves of the tyre, and as long as the outer band is covered, the tyre is legal. Make sure any wear is even right across the tread. If it’s not, this could be a sign of something very wrong with the suspension.
Speaking of which, as a last test, push down each corner of the car. If all’s well with the suspension, the car will bounce back up again nice and smoothly. If it doesn’t, there could be problems in store.
Remember, though, even if a car does have some damage, you don’t have to walk away. Instead, if the damage is only minor, you can ask the seller to get it fixed before you buy the car, or to knock a few quid off the price.