Insights & Publications

5 Things to look out for when buying a used car

12 October 2015

Buying a used car is always a challenge! We all know that mileage and year of manufacture are some of the most important factors effecting the buying decision. However, with some simple tips you can really understand the condition of a car like a pro! ValuStrat’s automobile valuation team inspects dozens of cars a day. Based on their experience, they have come with the 5 most effective ways to gauge the condition of a used car.

Before you jump into it, check the car during day light as lots of visible flaws can be overlooked in the dark. Walk around the car to look for any dents, scratches or marks.



Open the bonnet and look for signs of any leaks from the engine or radiator. The engine should be completely dry. Check around the engine for liquid formation, this is a bad sign and indicates poor maintenance and service history.



Check for any unusual smells like burnt oil under the bonnet. This is a strong indication of poor upkeep.



Time for a test drive. Make sure you check that every option on the car is working. Then start the engine and begin driving. Take notice of any unusual vibrations or tapping sounds. This is an indication of damage to the suspension, brakes or engine.



Photo 01-10-2015, 10 30 31 a.m.

Check the car body carefully and look for repairs or fresh paint jobs, you may judge this by inspecting the bolts used to fix car body parts like doors, fenders and the bonnet. Paint chipping on the bolt heads, or in their immediate vicinity, may indicate they have been tampered with. This could signal that major repairs have been done on the vehicle.



Before you make your final decision, make sure you take the car through an RTA vehicle passing test. You are allowed to do this before purchase. This checks if the car has had any major accidents or damage to the chassis, which is not always visible on inspection.

For a more detailed inspection and analysis, contact ValuStrat and our agents will come to your door step and conduct a full inspection and valuation in just 2 hours!