When purchasing a new or used car you will want to ensure that it is not only right for your driving needs and style, but also of the best quality. It’s no good splashing out your savings on a vehicle which is going to require hundreds of pounds on repairs less than a year after buying it. There are a number of factors you need to check before, some which relate only to used cars while others are important for both new and second-hand models.
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Research the Brand and Model
The days of Skoda having one of the worst reputations of almost any car manufacturer on the planet may be over, with it voted one of the most reliable car brands in the UK. However, there are still plenty of other car brands out there which attract a poor reputation when it comes to the quality of their vehicles.
It is important you research the brand and model you are after, reading a variety of reviews from both knowledgeable sources along with actual drivers. For new cars, these will give a good representation of the brand and exact model’s quality, rather than the more biased descriptions available on their websites.
Follow a Checklist
Before going to view any used car, you should create a checklist to take with you. This needs to include any specifics which you require from a fresh vehicle, along with some essentials:
· Tyres: Check the tread is legal (minimum 1.6mm) by putting a 20p between and ensuring the outer band is not visible, and that a spare tyre is present.
· Aesthetics: Inspect for any scratches or marks. Superficial damage can be used as a price negotiation point and touched up.
· Locks: Test the locks, that the spare key works, the boot and petrol cap.
· Lights: Turn on and off to make sure they work.
· Safety: Ensure seat belts are in good condition, air bags are present and so are all head rests.
All the essential paperwork should be supplied by the seller to ensure you are legally buying the car and to verify that it is a quality vehicle. This includes the V5C registration document which holds information about the car and person it is registered to, along with an MOT certificate for any car over three years old. These can be used to verify that the car is what it says it is and to view if it has encountered any problems in its history.
One of the easiest ways to ensure a second-hand vehicle is of good quality is to take out an official HPI Check when performing a car check. This will highlight any discrepancies, such as if the car has previously been recorded as stolen, as an insurance write-off, scrapped or encountered problems with its MOT history.
Eighty valuable data points about the vehicle are highlighted, so you can make an informed decision about its quality and whether to go ahead with the purchase. Hopefully it will meet your expectations and the seller’s description so you can do so.
Finally, before buying any car new or used, you should take it for a test drive. With a new car this will give you the best sense of its comfort and quality, from the interior to how it performs on the road. Consider the steering, acceleration and cornering, making sure you go through all the gears to get the best feel for it.
The same is true for used cars, though you should pay closer attention to braking, engine noises, the clutch and oil levels, as these may be damaged or in worse quality if the car has been mistreated. Drive for as long as you need to get the best sense of its quality.
Follow these steps fully and the new or used car you buy should match the quality you expect.