Most important things to know when buying a vehicle
Article by Isabella Aldridge | August 29th 2017
Buying a car is an exciting prospect and in most cases, a defining moment following months and even years of research. At the same time, it is also during this period when you test drive the vehicle for the first time and take a closer inspection of the finer details. From the gear shift, controls, and dashboard to the comfort and physical features of the car.
However, there is much more that you need to know about when buying a car so whether you use this is a final checklist or a convenient reminder, here is a rundown of the most important things you need to know when buying a vehicle.
History of the vehicle
One sure way of checking the history of a car is the logbook. In some cases, this may not be available but the presence of a logbook is a good sign of transparency from the current owner. If you opt to purchase from a car dealership, they will likely have the above book or some maintenance documentation at the very least.
Either way, you need to ask the current owner about the history of the car including any record of accidents and the number of previous owners which is often a signal of possible wear and tear.
Registration of the vehicle
Once again, car dealerships are a lot easier to deal with when it comes to car registration because they always keep records and documents in this regard. That being said, registration is now mostly an electronic process so a private owner should be able to provide the very same without much effort.
In order to conclude the purchase of your vehicle, you will need to complete transfer forms and take note of when this document is due for renewal. Keep in mind that registration is mandatory and needs to be renewed if due for expiry which can mean additional costs down the road.
Which fuel is more economical?
As you may have noticed, there is now a wide variety of fuel types available and each of these is more suitable for a particular vehicle. An example of this can be seen in the reduced fuel consumption and performance of some vehicles while using a specified fuel type. Simply put, some vehicles consume more fuel than others and this certainly matters over long distances. If you are paying the bills for this car, the overall cost of the vehicle could be even more costly than the car itself.
For this reason, it is always best to ask the current owner which fuel type is best for the vehicle. In the case of a private owner not knowing this information, it may be best to deal directly with a car dealership who will absolutely be able to advise you on this aspect.
Servicing the vehicle
When buying a used car, the biggest concern is always the condition of the engine. Unfortunately, most new car owners will have the vehicle maintained and services on a regular basis to abide by the manufacturer warranty but once outside of this period, this will be a lot more infrequent.
Hence, a used vehicle is more susceptible to needing repairs and without the presence of mechanic or car dealership, there is now accurate way to ascertain if you can expect future problems with the vehicle.
Engine oil and coolant
Again, checking the engine oil is something which happens as part of a service, but you absolutely need to know how to check the oil for yourself. Furthermore, this should be done on a weekly basis, and if the oil level is low, you can top it up accordingly.
How to check engine oil
- Make sure the engine is turned off.
- Take out the dipstick, wipe this clean and place it all the way back in.
- Remove the dipstick again, and you should see the level of oil.
- As a rule, the oil should not be above the top mark or below the bottom mark on the dipstick.
As for coolant, this is the liquid which helps regulate the temperature of an engine, and similarly, if you allow coolant to run low on liquid, it can cause a lot of damage to the car. You can see the level of coolant quite easily by checking the coolant reservoir next to the engine, and your local service station can provide you with coolant which can be used to top it up.
Checking and changing tyres
Although you can sometimes notice low pressure in the tyre on a vehicle, you will usually need an air gauge to do this with accuracy. According to the vehicle manual, the tyre pressure should be checked regularly and any effort to do so will great help to reduce fuel usage while also extending the lifespan of the tyre.
Changing a tyre is not rocket science, but considering the risks involved, it is best to practice this process in the company of a professional or to study an extensive guide at the very least. Either way, knowing how to do this will save both money and time in the long run,
Know your Dashboard
Ever wonder what all those lights mean on the dashboard? Well, if you are the proud owner of a car then you should know what these mean and more.
Of course, every light is for a reason, the engine light is arguably the most important, and this signals a fault of some kind with the car. While this can be a minor issue such as the fuel cap being loose, it can also point to more serious issues involving the control systems of the vehicle.
Know what you are covered for exactly
Third party insurance is mandatory when you buy a vehicle, and comprehensive insurance is highly recommended. However, every policy will be different from the next, so it is important to know what you are covered for exactly. If you need to put the car in for repair, some providers will offer to cover the cost of a temporary vehicle while theft or accidental damage will have certain limitations which are always outlined in the fine print of the policy.
Moral of the story: Save yourself the unwanted surprise and know exactly what you are covered for on your insurance policy.
Buying a car is an exciting investment, and also a very worthy celebration but the risks involved suggest that the research you put into this process will save you, even more, time and money in the long run. Having saved so hard to buy your dream car, you deserve value for your money, and with the above advice in mind, you are well on the way to uncovering as to whether this is the case.
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