Things To Check When Buying Used Cars In Ghana

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When buying a used car you need to check lots of things. We are listing some of the major things that you need to check.

  • Never buy from a dealer, always prefer buying from an individual.
  • The reason we have mentioned this particular reason is, individuals generally sell to the dealer when no one will buy directly from them, due to a lot of issues in the car, which are then temporarily fixed by the dealer to get the attraction. The price increase ratio for the same car is about 65%.
  • Dealers get the repaint job done to make it look scratch free and adjusts all the features and functions in such a manner that the test drive is perfect and you do not get a chance to identify the flaws.
  • Dealers sell the car with their added commission and the used car they have bought for 1lac will be sold at 1.3 to 1.5 lac.
  • Also, they use poor quality parts if required to get those replaced, copy or local parts that impact the car’s performance and output.
  • Always check for the shade variation if there are very fewer scratches, to identify the repaint job.
  • Repaint is generally done while the person is about to sell a car or might have met an accident. It is better to buy a car with small dents and scratches than a repainted car!
  • Remove the rubber insulators from the body once you open up the door, you will be able to see some marks if they are at an equal distance it’s fine but if you find those missing there is reconstruction done post-accident.
  • Once you remove the insulators from the door you will see a small body coloured line embossed on the door panels at the edges, if not it’s the accident job done.
  • Applicable to all doors including the boot.
  • Open the hood with the engine running and listen for knocks, ticks or hisses.
  • Lift up the pad or carpet in the trunk and check for rust.
  •  Make sure you drive the vehicle above 80–85 km/hr at some point. Many front-end problems aren’t detectable at lower speeds. Does the front end shake, shimmy or vibrate?
  •  Does the vehicle pull to one side or the other when you accelerate? Find a large, empty parking lot. At 35 Kms per hour or so, let go of the steering wheel; does the vehicle pull to one side or the other?
  • Apply the brakes; does the pedal feel squishy? Does the vehicle pull to one side or the other when braking?
  • Always get new tyres installed after purchasing the car, never trust old tyres.
  • Stand at the rear and observe the tail pipe, ask the owner to start the car. If the car takes a while to crank, it indicates issues with the induction system.
  • After the engine has start, observe for smoke at the tailpipe, tell the owner to give a few hard revs, dense white smoke, blue smoke and black smoke all indicate a set of problems, if observed, wise to walk away. Little steam and trickling water from the pipe indicate a good sign.
  • Now go to the engine and pull out the dipstick, observe the color of the oil. If the oil is dense and sticky, I hasn’t been maintained much, remove the oil filler cap and look for any white residues ( these indicate coolant leaking into the oil galleries), take a sniff if the oil smells like petrol that indicates poor piston rings. A little smell of petrol is acceptable.
  • Visually observe the belts for crack, and while you are at it observe the brake fluid quantity and color. If the vehicle is using dot 4 brake fluid, it should be clear, a yellowed out brake fluid indicates moisture within that can overtime corrode the brake lines.
  • Observe the condition of the battery, a extremely new and shiney battery indicates the vehicle may suffer from charging issues,( confirm with the owner as to why he has replaced it). Corroded terminal and deposits indicate a poor charging circuit or a decaying battery. If possible measure the terminal voltages with a multimeter with and without the engine running. A good system will have 11.7–12.8v without the engine running and 13.7 – 14.5v with the engine running.
  • Take a look at the tyres. All of them should have an even wear. If there is too much or too little wear on one side, it indicates poor alignment of the wheels.
  • Look underneath the vehicle for rust, take a look at the wheel wells too. Open the boot and remove the spare wheel, inspect whether the chassis lines are straight. Form the engine compartment, try to observe the front ‘cross member’ it should be straight without and deformation. The braces in the engine compartment should not have any deformation.
  • Check for any fluid leaks under the vehicle, and take a test drive. Feel whether the steering is responsive or not( a damaged power steering unit costs a lot). Feel the brakes and clutch and listen for any abnormal rumbleing sound or squeaks. Make sure all the warning lights turns off once you start the engine.
  • Check the electronics, power windows, HVAC, wipers, sterio etc. With the HVAC at full speed take a sniff at the vents, a fruity smell will indicate coolant leak at the core.
  • Ask the owner to present the service history of the vehicle. A trip to the local PVD will help you know whether the vehicle has been in any accidents or whether the insurance was claimed .
  • There are a lot of things to check, these were some primary ones. A carbureted vehicle , or one with a mechanical injection pump have different checking procedures for the engine part.
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