Things to look out for when buying a car

Monday, March 18, 2019

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CAR shopping can be an exciting yet daunting experience for many women, especially if you are buying your first vehicle, or you do not know much about cars. While you want to find a car that fits your personal taste and budget, you also need to ensure that you buy a reliable vehicle that won't break down the moment you leave the dealership.

Garfield Lewis, vehicle technician at Goon Auto Services off Hagley Park Road, has seen many people come to his business place seeking parts for cars that they have just purchased and which are falling apart. He shared with All Woman the following things that you must inspect and be sure of before purchasing a vehicle.

Is it new or refurbished?

Not all car dealers are honest. With the easy access to car parts, it is not very difficult for a dealer to get new parts for an old vehicle, spruce it up, and try to pass it off as new. How do you ensure that this doesn't happen to you? You run a VIN check. A vehicle identification number (VIN) is a unique 17 character ID that is inscribed at various areas of the car, and is found in its documents. You can search the VIN online and check the car's history. No two cars have the same VIN so if it returns a history, your car has been around.

When buying used cars, you need to know exactly how much use the car has been through. The appearance of the car will not tell you this, as parts can be updated. Mileage is a record of how much the car has been driven since it has been manufactured. On average, a car being used regularly will travel about 12,000 miles per year. Lewis recommends that you do not buy a car that has more than 80,000 miles on it. You can also calculate the car's year of manufacture to present at 12,000 miles per year to find a reasonable mileage.

Do all the fixtures work?

How bright are the lights? Do the windows roll up and down properly? Are there any cracks on the glass? Is the GPS in English? Do the radio and air conditioning work? You want to ensure that everything is in tip-top shape before you purchase the vehicle, as once you leave the dealership or buyer's home, you can be blamed for any damage that you discover.

How smoothly does it run?

Just as you would try on a dress or pair of shoes before leaving the store, you need to take the car for a spin before you sign up the documents. Lewis recommends that you not just drive around the block and return to the dealer, but that you take it out on a highway and test the car at different speeds. Pay special attention to any strange noises, smells or tension while you're out there.

Does it meet safety requirements?

A faulty car can put your life, as well as the lives of other road users, at risk. The brakes of the car must work properly, as must the steering wheel, the lights, shock absorbers, tyres and wheels, fuel system, horn, seat belts and airbags. Ensure that everything is intact, and ask questions if anything looks suspicious.

Does it have any mechanical issues?

You might not be able to tell from the jumble of wires and parts under the hood whether something is wrong with the car's system. Lewis recommends having a trusted mechanic review the car before purchasing it. Some dealers will not readily oblige this request, or will not accept your mechanic's unfavourable assessment, but it is better to be safe than sorry. A quick check-up can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs that would be spent on a faulty car.

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