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What to ask when buying a car? watch

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    Im a girl and dont really have a man in my life who knows much about cars, and i dont know much either
    but with passing my test im wanting to buy a car either from a garage or someone selling one from home.
    im trying to compile a list of questions to ask when going to look at the car, and what are the general things i should look at/ listen out for when viewing a car?
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    How many miles has it had? How many owners? Has it had any repairs done? Rust problems? Also, check that all the lights including the indicators work and test the washers. Check that the paperwork is complete.
    I'm not good at viewing cars either :dontknow:

    Edit: Have you decided which car you want to look at yet?
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    (Original post by whitepearlbaby)
    How many miles has it had? How many owners? Has it had any repairs done? Rust problems? Also, check that all the lights including the indicators work and test the washers. Check that the paperwork is complete.
    I'm not good at viewing cars either :dontknow:

    Edit: Have you decided which car you want to look at yet?
    Im looking at Ford Ka's havent started viewing them properly yet, dont want to go and make myself look like an idiot not knowing anything about cars!
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    You can ask the AA to come and do a vehicle inspection, it costs a bit but it could be worth it if you really don't know anything.
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    You should listen to it running, listen for any abnormal noises such as knocking etc (take a test drive if at all possible, if not get the owner to drive it with you in and keep a close eye on how the car handles and sounds. This is important).

    Take a look in the radiator after it's been for a drive (check for oily water/mayonnaisey substance which would point to a cylinder head gasket failure).

    Check all the electrics (lights, wipers etc).

    Check the mileage and service history.

    Check the play in the steering.

    Ask to see the latest MOT certificate (with special emphasis on looking at any advisories given and finding out whether any problem(s) has been remedied). If they refuse to show you the MOT certificate and any advisories, start getting suspicious.

    Check out the suspension (push down hard on each corner of the car and see what it does - if it keeps bouncing that's not a good sign).

    Gawd actually there's shedloads you should check out if you can (my dad and I must be the worst nightmare of all the car sellers we go to see), but those are the more obvious and easy things. Generally if it looks like it's been well kept (rust free, major dent free etc) then it probably has and will be less likely to be hiding anything nasty.
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    (Original post by Jodly.X)
    Im a girl and dont really have a man in my life who knows much about cars, and i dont know much either
    but with passing my test im wanting to buy a car either from a garage or someone selling one from home.
    im trying to compile a list of questions to ask when going to look at the car, and what are the general things i should look at/ listen out for when viewing a car?
    - Milage
    - Year of manufacture
    - Engine Size
    - Tax date
    - Last MOT
    - THE PRICE

    Don't go to a garage by yourself though, at least take a man (not being sexist like, but lets face it, cars are kinda a man's world). As garages are notorious for trying it on with women.
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    Is there no one, dad, friends? It really does help to have someone with you who knows their stuff , thank God we have mechanics in the family.
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    (Original post by zKlown)
    - Milage
    - Year of manufacture
    - Engine Size
    - Tax date
    - Last MOT
    - THE PRICE

    Don't go to a garage by yourself though, at least take a man (not being sexist like, but lets face it, cars are kinda a man's world). As garages are notorious for trying it on with women.
    Oh i know, im taking a man with me dont worry
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    I guess...does it work?
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    (Original post by zKlown)
    Don't go to a garage by yourself though, at least take a man (not being sexist like, but lets face it, cars are kinda a man's world). As garages are notorious for trying it on with women.

    :eek: To you maybe!

    But aside from my general disagreement with that, if you actually do know bugger all, taking someone with you is definitely a good plan, even if they don't know all that much.
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    Never buy a car without taking it for a test drive, preferably at least 20 minutes on different types of road. At 18 you won't have insurance that will cover this, so you'll have to have a parent with the necessary insurance do it and trust their judgement on the car. If the seller seems reluctant to let you do this, is worried about the cost of the fuel you'll use, etc, then walk away - if they're serious about a sale and there's nothing wrong with the car, they won't mind you driving it for 20 minutes if it means it seals the deal.
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    (Original post by Installation)
    Is there no one, dad, friends? It really does help to have someone with you who knows their stuff , thank God we have mechanics in the family.
    Nope not really, i dont see my Dad and the males there are they dont know much about cars, my grandad does but he cant really walk that much anymore so dont want to drag him out looking at cars.
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    (Original post by matt7)
    Never buy a car without taking it for a test drive, preferably at least 20 minutes on different types of road. At 18 you won't have insurance that will cover this, so you'll have to have a parent with the necessary insurance do it and trust their judgement on the car. If the seller seems reluctant to let you do this, is worried about the cost of the fuel you'll use, etc, then walk away - if they're serious about a sale and there's nothing wrong with the car, they won't mind you driving it for 20 minutes if it means it seals the deal.

    They might actually - I did. However, definitely check your insurance policy if you already have one on something to see if you ARE covered to do that.

    But yep, I agree with Matt7 - test drives are hugely important.
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    (Original post by Jodly.X)
    Nope not really, i dont see my Dad and the males there are they dont know much about cars, my grandad does but he cant really walk that much anymore so dont want to drag him out looking at cars.
    Hmm that sucks then. Well the others have it covered. Good luck.
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    (Original post by Installation)
    Hmm that sucks then. Well the others have it covered. Good luck.
    Yep i know
    Thanks
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    ask if it comes in any other colours
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    (Original post by Charlski)
    :eek: To you maybe!

    But aside from my general disagreement with that, if you actually do know bugger all, taking someone with you is definitely a good plan, even if they don't know all that much.
    I didn't mean it in a disrespectful way, I mean I don't know much myself about cars. Just how I've seen things.
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    (Original post by Charlski)
    You should listen to it running, listen for any abnormal noises such as knocking etc (take a test drive if at all possible, if not get the owner to drive it with you in and keep a close eye on how the car handles and sounds. This is important).

    Take a look in the radiator after it's been for a drive (check for oily water/mayonnaisey substance which would point to a cylinder head gasket failure).

    Check all the electrics (lights, wipers etc).

    Check the mileage and service history.

    Check the play in the steering.

    Ask to see the latest MOT certificate (with special emphasis on looking at any advisories given and finding out whether any problem(s) has been remedied). If they refuse to show you the MOT certificate and any advisories, start getting suspicious.

    Check out the suspension (push down hard on each corner of the car and see what it does - if it keeps bouncing that's not a good sign).

    Gawd actually there's shedloads you should check out if you can (my dad and I must be the worst nightmare of all the car sellers we go to see), but those are the more obvious and easy things. Generally if it looks like it's been well kept (rust free, major dent free etc) then it probably has and will be less likely to be hiding anything nasty.
    Only people who like old cars would know to check this :p: I have between 2 and 3 inches of totally free play in my steering wheel :awesome:

    Bad things I've heard about Ka's - Steering has a propensity to fail quite suddenly. Brakes are also known to fail, although not as many cases of this as the steering. Power steering boxes are also known to fail quite badly and cost an extortionate amount to get sorted. Rust in the wheel arches and down the sills (the bits of metal going down each side of the car under the doors) are known to rust and are a very structural part of the car.

    Apart from the bad stuff, general things like check all the gizmos work like electric windows and mirrors. Negotiate on price accordingly for each thing not working. Check the tyres to see that there's even wear over the surface of the tyre, eg the outside of the tyre tread should be as deep as the inside. If this is a problem then the car need's its tracking done which can be expensive depending on garage. Also factor in new tyres to replace the badly worn ones, about £40 each. If the middle of the tread is less deep than each edge, or vice versa, then the tyre pressures are wrong and you need to get them sorted (more or less air in the tyres, pretty much no cost) but you may need new tyres if the wear is bad, and again negotiate price according to how many tyres this affects.

    Go to a car park, put it into reverse and rocket backwards as fast as you can. If it pops out of reverse then the linkage or gears are worn, which can be expensive to fix but is easy to live with (I live with it fine on mine). Find a steep hill and go down it in first gear slowly and see if it pops out. Same as reverse to fix it. Check for crunching going into second gear either from first or third gear, which is a sign of the synchromesh going which will be expensive to fix. Mine crunches when cold but is fine when warmed up so I'm not bothered. Move into second gear, redline it and change into fifth and put your foot down. If the engine revs with the clutch up in fifth then the clutch is on the way out and you'll need a new one soon. If the engine bogs down and almost stalls then the clutch is fine.

    From 30mph do an emergency stop. The car should stop in a straight line quickly. If it swerves to one side under braking then it could simply be bad brake pads or it could indicate that it's been written off in the past and rebuilt. If it swerves to one side violently then walk away, it's not worth it. If it's only a little then it's probably brake pads or discs, not too expensive to replace but again good for bringing down the price.

    Find some speed bumps to drive over. Is there any bumping, knocking or scraping as you go over them? Ask the seller about it, it might be as simple as a new shock absorber if you do hear funny sounds or it might be something expensive like suspension problems or drive-train issues. Again, walk away if it's bad.

    Hope that's a bit of help there
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    (Original post by zKlown)
    I didn't mean it in a disrespectful way, I mean I don't know much myself about cars. Just how I've seen things.


    Hehe, don't worry - I'm not actually insulted! You actually are bang on with your comment about people taking girls for a ride, to be honest. I've had plenty of people take one look at me and obviously fit me straight into the 'blonde, girly, knows nothing about cars' drawer, only to be utterly shocked when it turns out I actually know what I'm talking about and that I'm not being taken in by whatever bull they're trying to spout.
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    To add to what's already been mentioned.

    Clutch. Slippage? Judder? Get on a straight piece of road and try to accelerate quickly - do engine revs increase but speed doesn't?

    If the seller will let you, put the car in 4th with the handbrake on, rev the engine and declutch... if the engine stalls straight away, you can be fairly confident that the clutch is in good condition... if the engine doesn't stall straight away then walk away. Only do this with the sellers permission, and only do it once! If the clutch is in good condition then it will cause negligible wear and its worth doing just to check.

    Gearbox. Do all gears engage easily? Any unexplainable crunching? Check downshifts, particularly 4th-to-3rd and 3rd-to-2nd as these can usually be quite problematic.

    When you take it up to 70, do you hear any whining noises that increase with speed? Take it out of gear into neutral... if any whining noises remain other than usual road/tire noise then then could indicate worn wheel bearings, or some other kind of transmission noise.

    Take it over some speed bumps... any clunking or knocking noises?

    Check the tyres... is the tread even? If there is uneven wear on the tyres, this suggests that the wheels are out of alignment.

    What kind of condition are the tyres in and how much tread is left on them? Are you going to be looking into new tyres as soon as you get the car, or do they have some life left in them?

    Test the brakes by doing an emergency stop. Car should be easy to keep in a straight line under heavy braking. If it has ABS, check for warning lights. When were pads last replaced?


    Ask the seller for details about maintenance... has the cambelt been changed, and at what mileage? Have other things been recently replaced... alternator belt, water pump, etc? Check visible belts to see if they tie in with what the seller says.

    Check for a large buildup of stuff that looks like mayonnaise around the oil filler cap.

    Check for any other warning lights on the dash.
 
 
 
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