While it’s nice to dream of buying a new car, many of us can only stretch to a second hand or ‘pre-loved’ car. Though this is never usually an issue, we all have a family member who has bought a dreaded lemon. A car that has so many problems that it’s cost more than the car did new.
As a buyer, is there a way to tell that your future car is a lemon? Well yes and no, here are some of our tips and tricks to finding a gem in the rough.
1. The big culprit are the French - Well actually Europe in general. If you’re looking for a second-hand car based on your personal budget, the rumor is true. European cars break down more often and are more expensive and harder to fix.
This doesn’t just apply to traditionally European brands either. Things like the Holden Cruze may look like a promising car on the surface, but it’s the global cousin to a European designed car that had problems adjusting to our climate.
If you’re looking at European cars, budget to have them in a workshop more often than almost any other car.
2. Service records are your friend – There are a few ways to tell that you are buying a car that has been truly looked after and service records are one. Check the logbook history and the invoices for work carried out and see how often the previous owner had it serviced.
Additionally, do research on common problems a car might have and see if the previous owner has already rectified any of these or if they’ve occurred multiple times. It’s always good to buy a car that has had its common problems fixed but, it is always bad to buy a car that has the same problem over and over.
3. Look at the interior, paint and tyres – It might seem like a silly thing but, people who put top of the line tyres on their car are often people who spent good money on servicing as well (ref. our used car buying tips)
If the paint, and interior is clean, it’s a fair sign that it was often washed and stored under cover. The best tell is actually the roof as this is almost impossible to clean and is often the place where child related accidents go. If the roof of the car is a regular Jackson Pollock, it may have had a hard life.
4. Look underneath the car – Look underneath the car and in the door sills, basically anywhere water could sit or rust could form. This will save you thousands in disappointment. Cars that have been living by the sea are almost always in bad shape compared to city driving counterparts.
These tips might not always guarantee that you get a great car, but they’re a helpful guide to avoiding most of the bad ones. Remember, if you ever have any questions, reach out to our Kashy mechanics.
If you have any questions about this blog post, would like a second opinion from a mechanic or would like to find an honest mechanic in Brisbane, check out Kashy here.