Disadvantages Possibilty and risk of being ripped off
As a car-maniac, I have things to suggest before you go out there buying a second hand car.1- If you are buying it directly from the owner :
* Check the car's papers. They will show you records of any accidents, outstanding penalties or taxes or ay legal matters alike.* Ask for the maintenance log the manufacturer provided. Thus you will be able to see if the maintenance was carried out according to the periodical schedule.
* Check the upholstery, especially the driver's seat. If it is worn, flattened or warped, odds are that the odometer has been readjusted.* If the odometer reads low and the seats are OK, check the pedals. Many tricksters correct the upholstery, polish the dashboard but usually forget to change the pedal pads. If the pads are worn, the car has clocked much more than the odometer. If the pads are too new, see the pedal arms to find scraped paint and worn parts due to a foot rubbing against it.
* Check the panel and fender joining areas. If the gunk and silicone mastic sealant in between is not covered by the car's color or if it is uneven (i.e. clumps, gaps etc.) even if painted over you can be sure that it was applied hastily after an accident.* Check for overspray under bumpers, within wheel wells etc. If you see overspray, the car has been re-painted.
* Rock the car sideways. If it does not stop after 2, max. 3 rocks, the shocks need to be replaced.* Bounce the car up and down from both ends. If the car utters squeeks and keeps bouncing, the shocks need to be changed along with other parts (linkage parts, bushings, etc.)
* The engine may have been steamed and washed at the local garage. So you may not be able to see if there are oil leaks etc. For that, if possible take the car to a lift and check around the oil pan's gasket for signs of sludge. If there, the car is leaking of oil.* Pull the dipstick and examine for froth or jelly-like substance (no matter the color) If there, the head gasket has given way and coolant is seeping into your oil. The same applies for the oil cap.
* Sniff the oil on the dipstick. If it smells of TOO MUCH of gasoline, the car needs to change the piston rings. Stay away from that car.* Ask someone to floor the accelerator while you watch the tailpipe. If the exhaust billows unusual smoke, the engine is in trouble. Especially if the smoke is blue, walk away. The engine is burning oil.
* Do several kill and starts to the engine. If fails too frequently to stop or start, the ignition and timing systems require repair.* If a rear wheel drive vehicle, do a thorough high speed test drive. If any whailing sound is there, you need to change a couple of gears in the differential.
* If a forward drive vehicle, try a few sprint take offs (dragster style) If the car veers to any side, the wishbone bushings and linkage on that side are defective.* Do some hard braking. If the car does significant veering, the same as above in a sprint applies.
* Check tyres for uneven wear.
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