Used car buyer's guide: Introduction
Financially, it may be better to buy a new car than a nearly new one. But some of us just can’t afford a brand new ride. Whocanfixmycar.com, a site that helps car owners find mechanics in their local area, says that there has been an increase in requests for repairs in January this year by up to 25 percent, suggesting that people will be sprucing up their old cars for the year to come.
That's good news if you're in the market for a used car, but it pays to be well prepared before you start your search in earnest.
Click through the gallery above to find out the top 10 things to look out for on second-hand cars.
Previously, I had sent a used 6 year old Honda Civic for evaluation. The report indicated that the car had experienced frontal impact (must be accident), there were leaks in many area, and many other problems. Basically, the car looks good on the outside, but the inside is rotting and in need of complete overhaul. We decided that it was not worth purchasing the car and the deal was off.
Another time, I sent another used 6 year old Honda Civic. This time the report came clean with only 2 minor problems. The dealer fixed the the problems before delivery. My brother was happy driving the car without any problem.
Play the sound system... don't need to be very loud, but loud enough.. volume level about 35%. Increase the bass to the maximum level. If you hear abnormal sound which sounds like something is beating a cardboard or no bass at all, you have damaged speakers.
Most dealers or owners try to mask the damaged speakers by lowering the bass to the minimum level and play the music softly. Most buyers will not think of testing the sound system. As long as we hear the music, we are happy. When we took possession of the car, we get frustrated. I had the 4 speakers replaced for about $250. That's the cheapest I can find.
I also noticed the article seem to focus on old manual transmission car. Most cars these days are auto transmission and people are most likely to buy auto transmission car than manual transmission. unless the car is more than 20 years old. Yeah, my first car was an used 17 year old car with manual transmission. That was nearly 20 years ago.
What's the big deal of auto car? First, they don't have clutch to wear out and does not use manual gear box. Auto car has auto transmission box (different way to change gear) in replacement of manual gear box. It much harder to know that auto transmission box is going to fail you. With proper maintenance, the auto transmission box should serve well in the first 10 years. Auto transmission oil need to be changed every 50,000km or 3 years. However, if the car is being punished so hard, the auto transmission box will still give way early. Replacement of auto transmission box is extremely costly... ranging from around $2500 to $7000.
Since it is hard to trace the servicing history, I recommend that get engine oil and transmission oil changed at the next service. The previous owner or car dealer should be able to tell you the last service date.
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