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If you are thinking of buying a used car from a private seller there is a guide here on what steps you need to take to ensure you get a good deal, and not an old banger., but what steps should you take once you get the car home?
Most websites about buying a used car will have various tips and guides on what to look for when you view a used car, but most will not have any information on what to do once you have purchased a second hand car. Here at sourcemycar.co.uk we have put together our own list of jobs you need to do on your second hand car once you get it home.
The following tips are based on purchasing a car from a dealership, or a private buyer direct.
Valet the Inside:
The first thing I do whenever I purchase a second hand car is I give the inside a deep clean. I am not talking about just giving it a once over with a damp cloth and a vacuum. I first hoover the seats, the dashboard, and the carpets. I then use hot water that has diluted bleach in it, and I thoroughly wash
down every surface, dial, switch, knob, door handle, in fact anything that you would touch with your hand finger or any other body part, including the seats.
Most car seats can be removed from the car just by undoing a few bolts. This will allow you to give the seats a good scrub down, and even take them indoors to help dry them out quicker.
When carrying out this deep clean, lift up the carpets and take them out to clean them. You can also inspect the floor of the interior to check for rust or holes.
I am not an obsessive cleaner by any means, but I have carried out this deep clean process after watching an episode of Top Gear where the guys purchased a cheap car in America and then had the various parts of the inside of the car tested by a forensics team just see what they would find. Without going into too many details, lets just say that some people do not wash their hands after visiting the lavatory, or that intimacy does happen in cars as well as the home, enough said.
If you can access YouTube there is no reason why you should not be able to carry out the following checks yourself, even if you have little or no mechanical knowledge. Just type into the YouTube search bar what you want to learn and there will be hundreds, if not thousands of videos on there showing you how to so basic, and even advance car checks and repairs. In fact try typing in the make of your new car and the check you want to do.
Make sure that you check the oil levels, in fact I always drain the oil and then replace the oil completely.
Check the radiator and top it up if necessary. Depending on the time of year you may want to add anti freeze.
Check the battery levels and the connections to the battery. Cleaning the battery contacts is also a good idea if they are corroded.
Check your lights to make sure that they are all working, and don’t forget to check the indicators, and the brake lights as well.
Check this now, as you don’t want to find it does not work when you need it.
You may have forgotten to check these when you were buying the car. As well as checking the treads of each tyre, including the spare. You need to check the sides of the tyres for wear and tear.
Now is a good time to take each wheel off in turn, and check the brake pads for wear. By doing this you will also make sure that the wheel nuts are not sealed on so tight that you cannot undo them. It is better to sort out tight wheel nuts at home rather than in some deserted lay-by in the poring rain.
You should have carried out this check before buying the car, but it is a good idea to get right underneath the car and give it a more thorough inspection when you get the car home. Look for engine fluids leaking, check the exhaust pipes for rust, or repairs. If you find any rust it is best to treat it now before it gets worse.
Check the hoses in the engine for signs of any leaks or splits, and replace any hoses that are damaged.
Check Your Brakes:
I know this check is usually dome whilst test driving the car, but it can easily be one of the test you forget to do. Check your brakes as soon as possible, you need to know how good they are, and it will also indicate if there is a possible problem with the brake pads.
When using a jack on any car, never sit with your legs or any other body part under the car when changing wheels or working on the car. If you have work to do that involves the car being on a jack for a long period of time, and you do not have access to an inspection pit, always use strong blocks or axle supports to help support the weight of the car.
Just carrying out these simple jobs on your newly purchased second hand car will not only make sure it is safer to drive, but also help you spot potential problems before they become costly repairs.