Every few years for most people, their car needs to be replaced. There are the select few who buy a brand new car and keep it for its entire lifetime, but their numbers are low  in comparison to the number of people who rely on a good supply of second hand cars.

If you are about to buy a replacement car and are looking for some tips to help you find the right one for you; read on. Here is the ultimate guide to buying a second hand car this summer.

Comfort

If you drive long journeys, comfort could be the biggest factor in your decision. Sporty models, though they are very responsive and handle well, give a firmer ride than touring cars. The suspension is set up so that the car can take corners at high speed and the brakes are often very harsh too, which can lead to a jerky ride around town when the car slams to a halt at the slightest touch of the brake pedal.

Style

Think about the style to suit you. There are cars to suit any personality at www.swcarsales.co.uk and many other places across the country. A single person may opt for a hot hatch, but a family will probably require a saloon, people carrier, or estate model.

Checklist

Buying a second hand car can be risky if you do not know some of the possible issues to look for. Here are some things you should check. Take a torch along with you and never inspect the vehicle on a rainy day.

  • Carry out an HPI check to make sure the car is not stolen and has never been an insurance write off.

  • Check the engine oil using the dipstick under the bonnet. The oil should be black with no bits of metal in it. White or grey engine oil is a bad sign of an engine nearing the end of its life. If the oil is golden and new, this could be a sign that the owner has replaced it in order to hide something.

  • Check that all of the doors fit properly and that the bonnet and boot is aligned correctly. Any misalignment could be a sign of accident damage.

  • Get down onto the floor and check the underside of the vehicle using the torch. Look for rust or bad welding repairs that may have been carried out.

  • Check the amount of friction material left on the brake pads. Renewing them is a cheap job, but you should still know about it.

  • The brake discs should be smooth with no grooves or holes in them. Replacing them can be very expensive depending on the model of the car.

  • Start the engine and, with the handbrake applied, put the car into first gear. Release the clutch slowly to see if it slipping excessively. New clutches are expensive.

  • Test drive the car. Pay particular attention to the steering. If the steering wheel is pulling to one side or shaking, this indicates a problem. If the car wanders on the road and is hard to keep straight, walk away from the sale.

Now you have much more knowledge to take along with you when you buy a car. The risk can never be completely negated, but it can be reduced. A keen eye and sharp senses will help to guide your decision. If it feels wrong, it probably is.

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Photograph from flickr