Sometimes it feels like you are rolling the dice when you buy a used car, especially if you aren’t mechanically minded. The great news is that you can pocket those dice right now. You won’t have to be a mechanic to check if a used car is worth the investment with these simple tips of what to look for under the hood.
Simply opening a car’s bonnet and peaking in can tell you a lot of things about the vehicle and how it has been cared for. Look for…
Dust: If there is a layer of dust under the bonnet then you can be sure that maintenance hasn’t been carried out in a while.
Service Stickers: Check to see if there is evidence of regular servicing or maintenance with stickers for a cambelt replacement or transmission checks.
Leaks or Fractures: If the pipes are old and worn then you will be able to see this at a glance. Worn pipes can lead to leaks and more serious problems.
These are the things you want to check out when you do open up that bonnet…
Oil: Check the dipstick to see if there is a sufficient amount of oil in the motor. Black and dirty oil or a lack of oil means the car hasn’t been serviced in a while.
Cap Contamination: Check that there isn’t a thick creamy white substance under the radiator and oil caps. That can mean a contamination of oil and coolant.
Coolant Colour: The coolant should be either bright green or bright red. If the liquid is clear then it means the car requires regular top ups, so could overheat or have a cooling issue.
Mismatching: If anything under the bonnet doesn’t quite match or line up then chances are major repairs have been undertaken. Definitely question this before buying.
Turn It On: Run the engine with the bonnet open, it will be easier to hear any rattling or unusual sounds that would usually be muffled by the car’s insulation.
Rust: Check for signs of rust or corrosion as this could mean an exposure to corrosive materials or water damage.
Nuts and Bolts: Missing, worn or mismatched bolts can mean that the car has had a checkered past.
Arming yourself with this knowledge will mean that you can make a safe and informed decision about the next used vehicle you buy. Don’t fall in love until you have checked over what’s on the inside!