Buying Used Cars: Practical Tips

Buying a car is a pleasant and responsible event. An experienced dealer is able to quickly figure out an inexperienced motorist. It does not matter where you buy the vehicle, at a car dealership or from your own neighbourhood, the seller will most likely be modestly silent about a couple of important malfunctions. In a previous article, we examined the ranking of the most popular cars in the secondary market. Below, read practical recommendations for identifying defects in the engine, body, steering and chassis of a car.


When buying a used car, first of all, calculate its real age. Study the marking of the glass – their year of manufacture should not differ much from the year of manufacture of the machine. How was the transport used? If the previous owner was engaged in a private carriage, be prepared for tangible decay of parts and systems. Where was the iron horse kept? Ask the owner if he has a garage and how far he is from his place of residence. The frequent standstill of a car on the street under the windows is a direct way to serious corrosion damage.


The seller will tell you the mileage and show the speedometer, but you do not have to blindly believe. The average car is able to run into 20-25 thousand km per year. Multiply this figure by real age and get an approximate picture. Take a closer look at the pedals – if they are badly screwed, then the real mileage is at least 100 thousand km. Lining, of course, can be replaced, but not everyone comes to mind.

When buying a used car, its participation in an accident is extremely important.

As a rule, owners are trying hard to hide this fact. The strength of the entire structure is automatically reduced, and the safety of the driver and passengers is compromised. Pay attention to how identical the gaps between the individual parts are. Compare the gaps between the doors and the body, the wings and the body. Asymmetry may indicate that the part was replaced in a makeshift way, the machine survived an accident or severe corrosion damage. Violation of geometry is a serious problem that repair will not solve. Close attention to the paint layer will also help to identify a past accident, but more on that below.


First impression when inspecting the car

The poor condition of the car is visible a mile away.

If the initial inspection passed brilliantly, you can delve into the details. First inspect the body for rust spots. Most affected by this ailment are wheel arches, sills and the bottom of the trunk. Slight metal damage is acceptable and not critical – after all, this is a used car, not a brand new one from the conveyor. In the case of severe rust damage, it is better to refuse the deal – too much time and money will require repairs. It is easier to find a car, albeit a little more expensive, but more usable, which will not “crumble”.

There is a special trick to detect corrosion.

If you see a black bar below the threshold, then most likely this is pre-sale “makeup”. Wrap the magnet in a handkerchief or other cloth and run it on the strip – if it is firmly held, there is no reason for concern.

You should carefully look at the paint layer.

Oiled scratches and dents are visible to the inquiring gaze of the buyer. It is almost impossible to choose a color that would ideally fit the main tone. Swelling and bumps on the coating, as well as signs of a complete repainting of the body may signal an attempt to conceal serious damage. The paint layer should be smooth and uniform.

It’s time to look under the car.

At a minimum, nothing should hang or fall off there. More objectively determine the degree of corrosion of the bottom is possible only with the help of a lift. But small puddles on the asphalt or “drops” from under the bottom are a suspicious sign. In the worst case, it flows gasoline or antifreeze, and in the best case, oil leaks or even just condensation from the air conditioner. A slight oil leak is not a serious problem.


With old cars, sometimes the best way to make money with the sale is to have it recycled. With most old cars, it’s tough to sell the vehicles. They spit smoke, they guzzle gas, and they tend to be in the shop for repairs more frequently than newer models. With Pacific Cash for Cars, we are the cash for cars recycling company that takes those old cars and recycles them until the metals are shiny, newly recycled metals.