Because We’re Not All Machines

Because We’re Not All Mechanics.

Buying a used car can be an intimidating experience for a lot of people, and it’s often unavoidable; who can afford a new car in this economy? It’s true that you can be afforded some measure of protection if you’re buying from an accredited dealership, but the real bargains are found in the private sector. A lot of us don’t have the ‘Get Out Of Jail Free Card’ that is having a friend who knows their carburetors from their clutch. If you’re resigned to finding and buying a private used car on your own, you should go armed with at least a little knowledge.

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1.) Clutch and Gears
One of the simplest and easiest checks that you can do. Taking the car for a test drive, run the car through its gears. Does it struggle suspiciously at normal rev levels? Is the transition smooth between gears? Take the car to high revs in each gear, if it stiffens at those higher ranges then the clutch may be worn. Taking the car up a hill is a good idea, try and get up in the highest gear possible to check if the clutch will slip.

2.) Brakes
Arguably one of the most important factors to make yourself sure of. The brakes should be responsive and firm, you should feel instant deceleration at the slightest of touches and a sharp jab on the pedal should throw you forward in your seat. Brakes that feel ‘spongey’ and loose are a definite no-no. Try braking at higher speeds, does the car swerve to a certain direction? This could indicate a problem with the wheel cylinders or callipers. Don’t forget to try the handbrake.

3.) Trust Your Ears
A lot of problems manifest themselves initially in the form of worrying sounds. Start the engine, listen closely as the parts move for the first time. Does it squeak, does it scrape? Open the bonnet whilst the engine is running and look for the source of any sounds. Even the least mechanically minded amongst us know when a car doesn’t sound right. If you’re suspicious, don’t buy it.

There are some problems that even the canniest and wiliest of mechanics will miss, and there are some issues that simply cannot be found without taking the car apart. Don’t forget to check if the car has previously been stolen or written off; companies like My Car Check can look into this for you. I hope that you now have enough confidence to go and find yourself a bargain.

Please ensure that the ‘My Car Check’ phrase in the last paragraph has a followed link to

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