Some used car buyers are led to believe their purchase is in good, working condition, only to find out that they had been tricked when they’re already driving home. If you are not too careful in choosing a pre-owned vehicle, you might be putting yourself in danger for driving a lemon.
Buying a used automobile is not as easy as it sounds. You must have a good handle on what type of automobile you need and which tell-tale signs of mechanical issues you have to look out for. It pays to spend extra time checking all the components before you close the deal. Take a look at the following things:
A vehicle’s history will tell you if the car has been damaged by flood, fire, or accident, or if it has been rebuilt or salvaged. When you visit a Mazda dealership in Toronto, for example, ask the dealers for your preferred car’s history and VIN records. You can also visit online sites that can verify if the car has past issues that might affect your buying decision.
Under the Hood
The engine is one of the first things you should check. Signs like wet spots, blackened firewall, or melted wires could suggest leaking oil or a previous engine fire. Check the fluids to know if there is any internal damage or severe wear. Oil that is gelatinous, too frothy, or has metal particles is a red flag. Transmission fluid, on the other hand, should still be coloured bright red to light reddish brown even after a lengthy drive; if it is in any other colour, then you may have just driven a car with serious mechanical problems.
The exterior features of the vehicle also indicate possible problems. Keep in mind that a vehicle should have a fairly consistent body frame and gaps that are not too wide apart. Look for frame dents, mismatched panels and parts, or chipped paints and windows. Tapping the frame lightly also tells you if a section has been replaced. A back panel that sounds hollow compared to the other side, for instance, may be a sign of past body works.
Transmission, Suspension, and Steering
Listen to the engine when you test drive the car. If you hear any knock or ping, it may have a bad ignition timing or impending overheating problems. A slack in the steering mechanism suggests poor linkage to the transmission, which may prove dangerous when you are on the road. Lastly, check the suspension if it can still handle a bumpy road.
Pre-owned cars should not feel like pre-owned cars; they should feel just as comfortable, reliable, and in condition as new ones. Fortunately, there are reliable Mazda dealers that guarantee buyers of the excellent condition of their cars. Should you encounter a lemon, however, you can contact your area’s consumer protection authorities.