What to look out for when you buy a second hand car? Buying a second hand car, especially from a private individual, is not for the faint hearted. Not to say it needs to be avoided at all time,  but following are some tips to guide you in the per-purchase inspection process: Rustguard Panel Beaters offers this very service at no charge – so you are more than welcome to book an appointment and come see us. 

What to look out for when you buy a second hand car?

  1. Number one rule- if it’s too good to be true – it is! Be mindful of below cost deals – something is probably not right.
  2. Open all the doors and make sure they open and close properly. If you need to heave, push, pull or twist – something is wrong.
  3. The same goes for bonnet and boot lid/tail gate. Check that the gaps between the panels are similar and reasonably small. If you can poke your finger through them, either you have very small fingers or the gaps are way too big.
  4. Take the vehicle for a test drive and listen for wind noise coming from the doors or the w/screen. Wind noise can be caused by perished rubbers or an ill fitted door or  w/screen.
  5. Check the vehicle in the daylight and look for colour differences between the various panels – this would indicate a recent paint job.
  6. Check the door edges as well as the bonnet and boot/tail gate. They should be smooth and even, with the factory sealant clearly visible. Thick and rough edges indicate a poor repair and the absence of the sealer could indicate replacement of that panel.
  7. Check for rust! Inspect the top of the w/screen, the roof, gutters and inside the doors. Open the bonnet to look for rust around the hinges, fire wall and very importantly, just behind and under the radiator. The same goes for the back – inspect the areas around the hinges and the rear panel-around the tail lights. Lift the back carpet and look inside the spare wheel well.
  8. Don’t be shy to peek under the vehicle. Look out for rusty suspension components, the integrity of the chassis and floor. Surface rust is not a major issue but if you see the bottom parts flaking  with pieces coming off the floor when you prod at it, well, that is not a good thing.

Please remember, these guide lines are covering the body and general appearance of the desired motor vehicle and should save you time and money in the long run. If the vehicle fails to comply with  them, walk away from it – unless you fully understand and accept that it will take a considerable investment to restore it properly.  You still need to insist on an independent mechanical assessment. Always take the vehicle to a road worthy station to get the necessary information.

Good luck!