What to Look For When Purchasing Old Car?

Discussion in 'Auto & Moto' started by kingusama92, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. kingusama92

    kingusama92Active Member

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    Well, I am looking around for an old car (not too old) between 2000-2005.

    What should I focus on when I am purchasing an old car? For those that have experiences purchasing old cars, are there are specific things you looked out for?

    It's an interesting experience buying an old car. Each car has it's own issues and you don't know what the owner is hiding. As you know, some people can be darn honest, but others are unbelievable liars.
     
    Krissttina Isobe likes this.
  2. Victor Leigh

    Victor LeighActive Member

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    I would concentrate on the condition of the engine. That would the most expensive part to repair. If you are not familiar with engines, take along a friend who knows engines. Test drive the car, of course, before you buy it.
     
  3. Linky

    LinkyExpert

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    I agree. If you are female, take a male along, preferably someone who really knows cars! You have to look under the bonnet (hood), and also to see that it has not been in an accident prior and been worked on (sometime the alignment could be out). Also, maybe give your local AA a call to check that the license is legit and the car has not been stolen.

    Just saying...you never know these days...
     
  4. kingusama92

    kingusama92Active Member

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    Yes, great suggestions.

    Nothing better than taking along my dad with his vast knowledge about cars.

    No doubt, people can't be trusted these days. I will definitely check the record of the car before I make any purchase. I have also heard of their being issues with the odometer being rolled back, so checking the car's official papers is a must.
     
  5. PontusEuxinus

    PontusEuxinusNew Member

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    Run a vehicle history report and test drive the vehicle you want to buy. Do not rush into anything. Check cluch wear if you are buying a manual transmission. Take it to a good mechanic for an inspection before buying. Negotiate the price!
     
  6. stefano13

    stefano13Member

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    Buying a used car always carry some risks - a car might have been involved in an accident in the past, has been poorly maintained or has some hidden problems. However, if you know what to look for, you have a better chance to avoid buying a lemon. Of course,i recommend to have a used car inspected by a knowledgeable mechanic of your choice.
     
  7. Esperahol

    EsperaholActive Member

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    You are going to want to have someone with some experience around when you go to look. You are also going to want to look first at dealerships before you start going to individuals. There are alot of dealerships for old cars that have cheaper cars that work well and since they're an actual business you have a lot more options to ensure you don't get taken for a ride. Or that if you are taken for a right you have more options for reparations.
     
  8. tosaytheleast

    tosaytheleastActive Member

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    If I were you, I would look 70% percent on engine condition and 30% on the outside appearance on the car. If you buy an old car, it is pretty much cheaper already so you can just repaid or improve its appearance. You should concentrate more om how its engine is conditioned. It is best to test drive it first. Observe how smoothly it will run on smooth roads and also test in on rough roads and observe how the body reaction of the car. Better yet, find someone who is an expert about these things, your dad preferably, and let him decide what's the best car for you.
     
  9. fallace

    fallaceNew Member

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    Make sure the engine is running strong (no knocking, or leaks) and that the transmission is in good condition. Those two parts tend to present the biggest issues if anything goes wrong. Don't worry about cosmetic defects, those can be fixed and could lead to some good price cuts!
     
  10. dhintakaMember

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    It all depends, sometimes your friend will recommend buying when you're in need for a car. So if friends recommend, then you don't have to worry much. However, yes you always have a choice to use one of your family members like your dad if you don't know much about cars. Basic rules check registration, how many owners, how many time's insurance has been claimed, so then you will know whether it's been an accidental matter or minor dents repaired. Always your's or your friend mechanic is good to have around when you go to check out the car.
     
  11. Spudfyre

    SpudfyreNew Member

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    I like to listen to the vehicle. If there are any ticks or pings, grunts or groans then I stay away. Head gaskets are the most difficult thing to detect and costly to repair (though simple if mechanically minded). Some test for head gasket issues is blue or white smoke from the tail pipe, dirty brown coolant or open the oil cap and stick your finger in (when the vehicle is cold!) and see if any froth or toothpaste like brown goop is present.
    Rust holes represent a problem, because rust you see is far worse and deeper behind the paint than you can see. Take a stick or something to poke the underbody and if it pokes through, run away. Surface rust is cosmetic, small pits and brown spots. However, they will become a bigger issue and realize that a rusted vehicle is a short term 2-3 year vehicle unless you plan on having it fixed by a professional.
    Accident damage, look for body wrinkles and anything on the frame that looks out of place, like clean metal next to dirty/rusty brown metal. Old cars will squeak, but they shouldn't clunk.
    Look for original parts. Cars that have had transmissions or engines replaced could be a huge problem because that replacement part may be out of a wrecker's yard. Don't think, "wow I have a new engine with only 20,000 Km on it" as any kind of bonus.
     
  12. Zaturo

    ZaturoMember

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    Speaking from my experience of working at an Autoshop, I'd recommend that you make sure the engine block is working properly. The other thing to watch for is how well the ECU or Engine Control Unit works. Then the 3rd and quite possibly the most important part is to check if the SRS has been damaged, otherwise your airbag system will not work properly, if at all. These are the three main things I would worry about. The transmission would be number 4, but that is easier to deal with, I believe. I should also mention that over the years the brake caliper pads wear out so check those too, if you can. Enjoy your experiences :)
     
    #12Zaturo,Aug 31, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2012
  13. Jason76

    Jason76Active Member

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    Well, the things you need to do are pretty straightforward. You have to check the mileage and be on the lookout for schemes to make the mileage seem higher than it really is. Of course, I'm sure you can Google the subject and there will be some blog post about spotting the trick.

    Also, you have to be able to spot damage in the engine and tire area, and if you cannot, then you should at least have access to information on the car's history from people who have worked on the vehicle.

    Finally, spotting damage on the outside of a vehicle and in the seats etc. is a no-brainer. Note, cosmetic repairs can be expensive so don't ignore this last step.
     
  14. Alexandoy

    AlexandoyWell-Known Member

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    We had the experience of buying a used car twice. First is a dilapidated Gemini (I think it is a GM) and next is a slightly used Honda Civic. On both occasions, we had a mechanic with us who checked on the insides of the car, not only under the hood but also under the car – the suspension assembly is expensive. Several times, we had checked on a for-sale car that was faulty with the brakes, another had a leaking radiator, there’s also one with a broken air conditioner. You can miss spotting minor defects like that but a mechanic is trained so it’s best to seek help from professionals.
     
  15. Krissttina Isobe

    Krissttina IsobeWell-Known Member

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    I bought used cars 2x in my life. I know nothing about second hand cars, so I ask if I can bring it to my mechanic to before I buy, both times the owner agreed, so I felt better about buying from the owners. These days because gas is so expensive, I'd wait for car sales. I saw KIA's going for under $100 for monthly payments for a brand new car. I like to get the more modern ones, because they have free charging stations too. Buying new is the best, for the old saying is when you buy used you're buying someone else's problems. Sorry I like new better than used cars. KIA is having an April sale and they've got instant chat to ask questions too.
     
  16. tonyb

    tonybActive Member

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    The main parts of the car to look at first will be the engine. If you do not understand engines then go with an auto mechanic knowledgeable in this area. Another thing you should check is electrification especially for the electrical cars. Ensure the fuses, brain box and other vital electrical components are still intact. Check the chasis, the body parts too. Finally do a test drive before deciding.