Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationBuying & Selling · 1 decade ago

Things to look for when buying used cars privately?

What are the most important aspects of it? How many KMs is too many for a used car? Ive found some I like but some have done over 250 000 kms etc.

3 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    What you may need to take with you for a used car inspection

    1. A paper and a pen - Make notes about every car you check, writing down the VIN number, asking price, mileage, car features, what you like, and what you don't like. These notes will help you in the selection process as well as in the final deal negotiation.

    2. Printed copy of Used car checklist

    3. Small flashlight - A flashlight could be very handy when checking under the hood or looking for leaks and corrosion.

    4. Small magnet - The magnet can help you to find hidden repaired corrosion spots.

    5. Paper towel - To check the engine oil or transmission fluid.

    6. CD-disk - To check the stereo.

    First Step - checking the car body

    First, take a walk around the car and look for general appearance that is an indication of how well the car was taken care of. Mark down any defects you find: cracks on the windshield, scratches, dents, corrosion spots, broken lenses, faded mirrors, worn wipers, missing wheel covers (hubcaps), etc. Later you may ask the dealer to fix these problems as a part of the deal or negotiate the price down accordingly.

    Look for signs of previous accidents or corrosion. I don't recommend to buy a car that has been involved in a serious accident, even if otherwise it seems to be in good condition. All sorts of problems may arise later as a result of previous accident - excessive tire wear, problems with the air conditioner, premature corrosion, alignment problems, noisy wheel bearings, etc.


    Have a close look at the tires. Are they of well known reputable brand like Michelin, Goodyear, Bridgestone, or "no-name" kind of product? Are they all the same or different? Look at the tread wear. The new tires for a passenger car have original tread depth about 10/32 inch (8 mm). When only 2/32 inch (1.5 mm) of the tread depth left, the tire must be replaced. Also the tire must be replaced if there is any mechanical damage like cuts (see the picture), bubbles, cracks, etc. Look at the wear pattern, irregular wear when one side (e.g inner) is worn more than the other could mean alignment or suspension problems.

    Check vehicle manufacturer's label


    The condition of the vehicle interior is another good indicator of how the vehicle was taken care of.

    Look at the driver's seat, is it excessively worn like the one in the picture?

    Check all the seat belts paying particular attention to the one at the driver's seat.

    Test all doors, are they open and close freely? Try to lock and unlock the driver's and passenger's doors and the trunk with the key.

    Be alerted if you notice excessive use of the air freshener, it could be used to block some bad odor, and some of them are hard to get rid of. Open the trunk, does it have musty odor? Then it's possible water is leaking somewhere. Check the spare tire, wheel wrench and the jack. If the spare tire is located under the car, check if the holding mechanism is working properly, often it gets corroded and seizes up. If the car has wheel locks installed make sure there is the key available.

    Check the instrument panel: Do all the gauges work? Any warning lights such as "Check Engine", "Airbag", "ABS" stay on after the engine started? If the car has "Check Engine" or any other warning light comes on or flashing while driving, have the proper diagnostic done before deciding to buy it; in some cases the problem could be very costly to repair.

    Electrical features

    Check all the electrical accessories. Test operation of power windows locks and other features. Test wipers and windshield washer function. The rear wiper is the part that often fails. If the seats are heated try if they are working; many cars have problems with heated seats. Try seat adjustments. If the car has a sunroof, test all its functions. If the car has an alarm system ask to demonstrate how it works. Test all remote control functions. Try the stereo functions. The CD-player often has some problems and it's quite expensive to fix; try if it plays your CD.

    Heater and air conditioner

    If a car has been flooded in the past, even if it looks and runs good now, it will develop many expensive-to-fix problems later. This is because water gets inside many components where it shouldn't be and eventually, the corrosion will cause a component to fail later.

    Look for mildew smell, water stains on the seats, roof liner and door covers. Inspect door covers and trunk covers for possible signs of water level. If it's possible, look for moisture under the carpet. Check lower edges of the door covers for water damage, look for corrosion and water debris in the spare tire well. look for badly corroded metal parts under seats. Check all door speakers - water could damage the speaker diaphragm. Coffee-with-milk color of the engine oil or transmission fluid may indicate presence of water. History report can also reveal flood. Be suspicious if the history report indicates that the car came from another state or province.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yeah thats way too much. Try to find low km's on a used car. And make sure it has clean oil too. (Buy checking the dipstick) If theres metal flakes in the oil or any knocks or ticks while running its shot.

  • 1 decade ago

    low milage,no accidend

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.