Checklist to Inspect Second Hand Cars at Home Before Buying - CARS24
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Basic Checklist to Inspect Used Car at Home Before Buying

Be it a used car or new car, taking it home is always a special occasion for an individual. But a good deal for buying used car must include step by step inspection of the vehicle to ensure optimum running condition and drivability. This will protect the buyer from any unwanted repair bills and unfavorable situations such as being stranded in the middle of the road.

So, in order to address this issue, we have listed out a few basic inspection checklist points for used cars before buying. By following these inspection checklist points, the car buying experience will be more systematic, simple and convenient.

1. Start With Inspecting the Bodyshell

The first step in the inspection process of a car is to take a look at the overall body. This will include walking around the vehicle and looking for scratches and dents at the body. In addition, investigation for a dodgy paint job should also be carried out thoroughly. Post that, inspection of the gaps between fenders and doors must be done. Uneven gaps generally indicate either they are not assembled properly in the factory, or the car was poorly maintained.

Next, the inside portion of the wheel wells should be examined with the help of a torchlight for rusting and corrosion damage. Each and every door should be checked by opening and closing including the boot and bonnet to ensure if they are upto the mark and don’t make any unwanted noise while perfectly bolted with the chassis. Last but not the least, make sure to inspect rubber seals around the doors and windows for rot as well as tearing.

2. Take a Good Look Around the Glass Panels

The next step in the second hand car checklist of inspections is to search for any cracks and cratered areas. Cracks on the glass panels such as windows and the windscreen will only get worse with time and may require an expensive repair later.

3. Check the Suspension

Suspensions are one of the key elements subjected to experience wear and tear. The process to check if the suspension of the used car is in good condition includes standing back from the car and looking for slumping and sagging. All the corners must be pushed down to ensure that the car body rebounds to its original position. If the vehicle continues to move up and down, this is an indication that the suspension setup is not in a very good condition.

4. Check for Frame Damage

Frame damage mostly occurs in the car’s body when external accessories such as an aftermarket CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) kit is installed. The gas tank is mostly installed in the boot of the vehicle while bolted with the body. This creates permanent holes in the body which could bring in grave consequences.

The poisonous smoke from below the exhaust pipe could enter the vehicle through these holes. Also, open the hood and inspect the part connecting the front fenders with the top of the radiator. This should be properly fixed into its place on either side with bolts and should never be welded.

Also readWhat is the difference between Venturi CNG kit and Sequential CNG kit?

5. Check All the Lights and Tires

The next point to examine under the basic checkpoints is the lights of the vehicle such as headlamps (both low/high beams), tail lamps, third brake lamp, and fog lamps.

Tires generally tend to show the complete picture of a car’s background when investigated carefully. It should be ensured that all the tires are of the same size and make. The wear and tear on the tire tread should be even across the width of the tire on both the sides of the vehicle. If any side of the tires appears more damaged then the other, this indicates reckless driving exercise by the previous owner which might require a tire replacement.

Also read – Types of Car Tyre Damages and How to Avoid Them

6. Check Under the Bonnet

The engine is the most crucial part in the mechanicals of a car. The engine inspection checklist includes:

  • Checking all fluid tanks for leaks
  • Belts should not have any signs of cracks
  • The hoses for the radiator should never be soft
  • Make sure the vehicle has enough oil when you pull out the dipstick
  • The coolant should not be dirty and brown-coloured. This could mean either a leaking head gasket or a shabby coolant tank
  • Pull the transmission dipstick. The liquid inside should be red or pink in colour
  • Ensure inspection of the ‘timing belt’. The timing chain is the most significant and expensive shaft among all the mechanics of the car and replacement should be carried out after every 95,000 – 1,60,000 km.

7. Time to Open the Doors and Look Inside

After exterior and engine inspection, the next step is to look inside the cabin. The basic second hand car checklist to inspect the interior includes:

  • Look for stains, rips and cigarette burns on the upholstery as well as seats
  • Look for scratches on metal and plastic parts inside the car’s cabin
  • Switch On the air conditioner of the car and check the air flow. Also, make sure it is using R134 coolant by looking for a sticker on the condenser
  • Next obvious step is to check the odometer reading. The kilometer run on the vehicle should be in sync with the age of the car. It is not necessary that a 15-year-old car with less than 20,000 km reading is naturally good.
  • The final step in the interior inspection of the car includes switching on the ignition and checking for any warning lights on the instrument panel. An individual should also check the rear parking sensor and rear parking camera during this process.

8. Take the Car for a Spin

The final step to ensure that a vehicle is in decent condition is to take it out for a test drive. During the drive, check the brakes and gear shift mechanism. There should also be no serious pedal vibration, unwarranted noises and squeaking of the brakes. Take a sharp U-turn on a low speed to check for rattling noises, if any, from the suspension system.

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