What To Look At When Buying A Used Car For Lyft, Uber, Or Delivery
The inspection of a used car is an essential, if sometimes daunting, step in the buying process. The close assessment of vehicles with previous owners can reveal hidden problems that would potentially influence your final purchasing decision so it’s important you take the time to inspect it properly. Luckily, it’s simpler than you may think and by following these five steps you can put a used car to the test and accurately judge whether it’s the right vehicle for you.
As soon as you approach the vehicle you can start assessing its condition. Walk around the outside and check the paintwork from multiple angles for dents, scratches or signs of rust. Blemishes on the bodywork can sometimes be indicative of a larger problem, but if it’s purely cosmetic it can still be expensive to fix.
Pay close attention to the individual body panels. Even the slightest difference in color or shade between them may be a sign that one has been replaced, probably after a crash, and could require further investigation. Inconsistently sized gaps between panels can also indicate that repairs have been poorly executed.
You don’t need to be a mechanic to effectively assess the health of an engine. Before doing anything else, feel the engine hood for warmth. If it’s giving off heat, it may have been started before you arrived in an attempt to disguise a technical issue.
Check the oil by lifting the dipstick from its housing. If the oil itself is very dark it could be a sign of poor or infrequent maintenance. Lift the oil filler cap and ensure there are no white deposits on the lid as it could indicate an even more serious issue.
Look closely at every inch of the engine for signs of leaks or excessive rusting. Any brown stains or light, chalky residue could be signs of oil and water leakages, respectively. The purpose of checking the engine on your visit is to gain a brief overview of the vehicle’s health rather than carrying out a complete mechanical assessment.
The vehicle’s paperwork includes all registration documents, servicing records and maintenance certificates. Check that the details in the paperwork exactly match the identifying information of the vehicle.
The more information the seller can supply in the form of service history, the more confident you can be in the purchase. Ideally, they will provide a binder full of receipts for all repair works done. Service reports will normally have a log of the mileage so you can cross-reference it with what you already know about the vehicle’s history.
Finally, check that any legal certificates are valid and have not expired. Be aware of any advisory issues that may have been raised in the inspection documents as it may impact your use of the vehicle in the near future.
Take the vehicle for a test drive. The car should start easily and without hesitation, even with a cold engine. When you pull away, work your way through the gears steadily, taking note of the smoothness and ease of the action. Plan a route that includes several different driving scenarios so you can test the vehicle more effectively.
You should aim to experience how the car performs in a variety of situations so that you can identify any issues it may have. Take a road with a lot of twists and turns to check the handling and a long straight road to check the tracking. Sit in traffic to gauge its performance with frequent stops and starts and hit the open road to judge its higher-end performance. Make a mental note of any odd noises or vibrations so that you can bring them up later in your discussions with the seller or your own mechanic.
The most important aspect to consider when testing a used car is that you don’t have to rush. Allow yourself plenty of time for the search so that you’re not pressured into any purchase. There are many great vehicles available to purchase at any one time so you always have other options. View as many as you can to facilitate the best and most objective decision possible.
The more vehicles you view, the more you’ll become aware of what constitutes a good deal. With more information on the market at your disposal, you’ll be better placed to negotiate a lower price.
Create a list of things to check and take the time to work through it. Don’t feel pressured by salesmen or other factors and walk away if they try to rush you. Buying a vehicle is a decision that will have a huge impact on your life for the foreseeable future so it’s important you feel comfortable when making your deliberations. By knowing what to look for and planning ahead, you’ll be able to buy the most appropriate car for your needs at the best price possible.