Used cars: the 5 points to check before buying

Estimated read time 5 min read

In addition, the country of origin of the car can have an impact on its maintenance and in particular the technical control . This may be less complete than in France and there may be a blockage during its import. We recommend that you make sure that the car is already registered in France by the seller before buying it.

Check the history of a used car

It is never really easy to know the history of a used car. The history corresponds to the operations and procedures that the used car has received , namely:

The maintenance log. It allows you to check if all the maintenance operations have been carried out.

Maintenance bills. They allow you to see the parts that have been changed on the vehicle.

The technical control (if the used car is more than 4 years old. Otherwise it must be carried out every 2 years).

Histovec report. It includes in particular the administrative situation of the used vehicle (pledges, objections, seizure, suspension, theft, etc.).

If the owner is able to provide you with all these documents, you can certify that the vehicle is in good condition and has no defects. It is also a guarantee of quality and trust.

Inspect and test drive the used car

Inspecting means walking around the car in static, either outside or inside. Outside, you will have to check the condition of the rims because a damaged rim can have repercussions on the direction of the car and involve generally expensive repairs.

Also check tire wear. Uneven wear, for example with slightly more wear on the outside of the car than on the inside, typically reflects a geometry problem.

We also advise you to check the condition of the bumpers and their mountings (they must not move): if they move, this may be a sign of a previous accident and this will most of the time require replacement. the room. With a light or the flash of a phone, you will be able to detect any signs of body repair . These will be highlighted by non-homogeneous reflections.

Also check under the body , especially on the engine side to see if nothing has planed (scratch on the engine cover) and if there is no leak .

Do not hesitate to open the bonnet to check the condition of the engine and its maintenance  : a well-maintained engine is a guarantee of quality. However, beware of an engine compartment that is too clean: if it has just been washed, this may reflect the desire to hide traces of fluid leaks (oil, etc.). You can also check levels, including engine oil and brake fluid.

Inside the cabin, you’ll have to rely on the car’s mileage . A lightly used car does not have the same state of wear as a mileage used car. You can spot any stains or holes (due to smoking or wear) on the seats, the ceiling… Check the condition of the plastics, any scratches and pay attention to the condition of the driver’s seat especially.

Also be interested in the mileage , especially if it is an imported used car. Indeed, European legislation differs on the subject of the mileage of a car. In France, the legislation is very strict and strongly punishes odometer fraud . Some neighboring countries do not have the same requirements. Thanks to the condition of the passenger compartment, you should be able to know if the mileage is in line with the wear and tear of the vehicle: for example, a patinated steering wheel is synonymous with high mileage. The state of wear of the seats and the floor can also guide you. Before buying, rely on maintenance invoices and technical control .

You have to try a used car

Buying a used car is first and foremost about trying it out  ! Indeed, one model is not suitable for everyone and you must make sure that the used car you try is suitable for you.

Trying out a used car also means making sure that there are no unusual mechanical noises or suspicious body movements . The test of a used car should not be less than 15 minutes in order to detect the maximum of suspicious noises (if there are any) and to be able to test on different types of roads. You will then have to listen carefully, on the lookout for the slightest noise, and be at the same time concentrated on the cash movements:

Do not hesitate to drive around the vehicle with the engine running so as not to be bothered by the insulation of the passenger compartment.

It is therefore important before buying a used car to check the commercial name of the car in order to be sure that you are buying a car with the right finish and the standard equipment that goes with it . In the event of a sale between private individuals, you must imperatively ask for the purchase invoice of the vehicle. In the event of purchase from a dealer, the dealer is responsible for the name of the product sold.

Why buy a used car from a dealership?

As you will have understood, buying a used car from an individual can be complicated as there are so many elements to check.

If you prefer to make a serene purchase without surprises , it is strongly advised to go through a dealer to buy a used car.

First of all, there is a bond of trust between the seller and the buyer . As a used car professional, he will know how to advise you and he will have nothing to hide from you.

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