KISMET Mechanical Blog

Buying a used car? Here’s how to avoid a lemon

If you’re planning to buy a used car, it’s a great decision in terms of saving money and the environment, but at the same time, a wrong purchase can rob you of your peace of mind.
You should be even more careful if this is going to be your first ever car purchase. If you end up buying a car full of serious issues, it may give you a nearly traumatic experience that is going to haunt you for years to come.
For the first-time-used-car seekers out there, here’s a step by step guide to help you avoid a lemon.
Step 1: Walkaround
The walkaround includes checking the paintjob, examining the tail-pipe, the underbelly and under the hood. If it’s a petrol engine, check the tailpipe for carbon build-up. Whereas for a diesel engine, carbon build-up in the tailpipe is common.
Step 2: Checking the engine
Older cars may have a blown head gasket, which is a serious issue and can cause the engine to seize-up in a matter of days. How to check if the car doesn’t have a blown head gasket? Perform this simple test after making sure the engine has been shut off for at least 15 minutes.
Pop the hood, open the radiator’s cap and ask the other person to crank the engine. If the coolant spills out upon startup, it’s a clear sign that the head gasket is blown. Turn around and run.
Step 3: In case it doesn’t have a blown gasket
The next step is to test drive. When you are test driving, observe the clutch, gear and steering carefully. If the gear shifting doesn’t feel smooth enough, either the clutch plates have worn out, or there’s a problem with the transmission. Buying such a car means bearing a hefty repair bill down the road.
Step 4: Check the steering wheel while driving
Hold the steering wheel lightly and apply brakes. If the steering feels wobbly, there might be a problem with the steering rack or the suspension system. Either one is quite expensive to fix. Ask the seller about the problem or have it checked by a local Haberfield mechanic to be certain about the issue.
Step 5: If everything looks fine
If you like the car and everything seems great, contact a certified mechanic for car inspection in Sydney. A full-blown car inspection can reveal hidden issues that you might fail to notice. The more defects the mechanic finds, the more valid reasons you have to negotiate the price.
Before buying the car, don’t forget to check all the documents, including title, insurance and roadworthy certificate, especially if the car is older than five years.

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