Buying a used car is sometimes a risk unlike walking into a showroom and buying a brand new car. There are things you must take into account which we will describe in this article to the best of our ability to help you buy that used car.
The truth is that not everyone will be able to afford a brand new car. You are probably not there yet to purchase a new car but you need a ride. That’s okay! Everyday many people buy used cars in Ghana and most of these cars are imported to Ghana from other countries such as Japan, the US, Germany, etc.
Do Not Buy from a Dealer
Yh! I know this sounds weird but it the truth. Most people sell to a dealer when the car has a problem of a sort and they couldn’t get a market for it. So in solving their problem, the individual sells to a car dealer who goes to fix the problem temporarily waiting to sell to you. When you buy from this dealer, within a few months you will begin to experience problems. The major idea here is that the price at this point would have increased by a whopping 50% – 60%. The commission and cost of temporary repair alone is a lot.
Check for Repaint
I have learned that it is better to buy a car with a minor scratch or dent that a car with a total repaint. This is because, with the repainted car, you cannot tell the level of damage to the body of the car. The true impact will be revealed with months forcing you to continue repainting. This is also not advisable because probably the body part may have been replaced by an inferior one which will impact the performance of the car.
To identify a repaint job, make sure to check for shade variation on the body of the car. Make sure you check this at places where they are very few scratches. Once you find a different color shade, know that the car has undergone a repaint job.
Check for Post-Accident Reconstruction
To check for a post-accident reconstruction, remove the rubber from the body once you open up the door, you may see some marks. If they are at an equal distance then it’s fine but if you find those missing there is a high chance the car has undergone post-accident reconstruction.
Knocks, Ticks & Rusts
This is applicable to doors and boot. Open the hood with the engine running and listen for knocks, ticks, or hisses. You can also lift up the pad or carpet in the trunk to carefully check for rust.
Check for Front End problems
Make sure you drive the vehicle above 80-85 km/hr at a point to check for comment frontend problems. Many such problems are not noticeable at lower speeds. Does the front end shake, shimmy or vibrate? Does the vehicle pull to one side or the other when you accelerate? Find a large, empty parking lot and at a speed of about 35km/hr check for these things as you slow down.
One important thing to check is engine defects. Check the start of the engine, does it come with some trouble? Carefully consider the smoke from the tailpipe, ask for a few hard revs dense white smoke, blue smoke, and black smoke all indicate one problem or another with the engine.
Observe the color of the oil. The car has not been maintained much if the oil is dense and sticky. Remove the oil filler cap and look for any white residue (this indicates coolant leaking into the oil galleries)
check on the battery to see if it’s extremely new and shiny. This could be a charging issue with the battery and you must confirm with the owner why the very new battery. Also, very corroded terminals and deposits are an indication of a poor charging circuit or a decaying battery. It is good to measure the terminal voltage with a multimeter with and without the engine running. Without the engine running, a good system should have 11.7 -12.8v and 13.7 – 14.5v with the engine running
Tires and alignment
Make sure to check if the tires are in good shape. Kindly insist on this. If there are too much wear on one side, it could indicate the poor alignment of the wheel
There are many checks to be done on a car before purchase but these are just a few of them or consider them as basic check you can perform on a car you are about to purchase. If you are not sure of these things, it is always advisable to check these out with a trusted engineer or mechanic friend. Most of these guys will be in the best position to tell the condition of the car better and give you recommendations regarding the purchase.