2.  Make sure that the doors open and close smoothly, and that gaps in the panels are even.

3.  Check the suspension by pressing down on each corner of the car and releasing it. A damaged suspension would cause the car to bounce before returning to its normal height.

4.  Evaluate the treads in the tires using a tread depth gauge. Good tread depth is about 1.6mm across the tireís width.

5.  Pop the trunk or hatch and see how easy or difficult it would be for you to open and close it. If you can lift the carpet, see if there is rust underneath.

6. If youíre checking out a convertible, donít forget to check how smoothly the roof moves up and down and locks in place, and that there are no rips in the material.

7.  Find the vehicle identification number (VIN) and make sure it matches the VIN on the carís papers

Inside the car

1.  Look closely at the mileage indicated in the odometer; it should be the same as the one in the carís papers.

2.  Assess the upholstery and the steering wheel, and be sure that their condition is consistent with the mileage. Be suspicious of low mileage cars with old and damaged interior parts.

3.  Hereís one way to check if the car has been in a crash: inspect the seatbelts for fraying (indicating activation in a crash) and the dashboard and steering wheel for damage (proving the release of airbags).

4.  Check if there is damage to the carís ignition and the steering column; these are signs that the car was stolen as one point.

5. Try out the air conditioning, all the electric windows and the sunroof, the seat adjustments, the radio and any other components to make sure they work.

6.  Again, find the VIN in the interior and make sure it matches the VIN in the documents.

Finish off your inspection by making sure that all the necessary papers are there and that they contain the right information. Check the carís logbook, service history, Ministry of Transport (MOT) certificates and other proof of the carís regular maintenance.  When you decide to purchase the car, make sure that the owner turns over all the original documents to you so that you wonít encounter any problems later.

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Buying a Used Car?

Many people who buy a car for the first time purchase a used vehicle for financial reasons. Unfortunately, along with the money you save, you also have to deal with the wear and tear that the car has sustained from its previous owner. 

Outside the car

1.  Check and see if the paint is consistent throughout the whole car; irregularity in the paint shade means the car has probably been damaged at some point and has been repainted. Also, bubbling in the paintwork means that there could be rust underneath it.

Simple Checks

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Thatís not to say that all second hand cars are bad though; you just need to know how to check out a used car to ensure itís still in the best condition possible.  Here is a step-by-step guide on how to properly inspect a used car: