How To Choose a Good Used Car – Part 1

Previously, I posted about How Newly-Employed Can Save Money on Their First Car.

In the article, I suggested that one way to do it is to buy a used car.

Now, used car are aplenty in the market. One can simply goes to websites classifying used cars and make a list. But, how do we really choose a good one?

To separate the good ones from the flocks would be another level of research. One have to look into details purely external and also under the skin.

Well, anyone who posses a good sight and not blind are able to pick a car that looks good to the eye. But, appearance can be deceiving:

  1. Paint quality – is there any bubbles, scratches, cracks or rusts on the paintwork? Cracks will reveals clumsy putty works and also a clue to a car’s accident history.

    Too thick a putty. This bad repair job cracks easily later in the car’s life. Severed panels should be replaced as a whole.
  2. Lights conditions – does the lights have cracks, yellowish or contains water? Is it modified in any way or changed to aftermarket ones? Do all of them works fine?

    Faded headlamps hinders night visibility. You can always fix this permanently later, but why trouble yourself if you can ask the owner to do it before selling?
  3. Glasses and tints – cracks and bubble in the tints? Does the rubber moldings intact? Any signs of overflown sealants? These indicates replacement had been made and vital to it’s longevity in weatherstripping functions.

    Cracks and Stars usually resulted in windscreen replacement. While, Bull’s eye and chips doesn’t propagate further, they usually can be repaired.
  4. Tires and rims – threads are okay? Any rims with scrapped looks? There are 4 digits number on the tire that indicates it’s age. Anything beyond 2 years, need to be changed or need special attention.

    Yep, it is simply that
  5. Underbody – means the underside of the car. You may want to bend over or lay on the floor where the car is sitting to see the underbody with a torchlight. Any evidence of rusts? Especially for cars located primarily on coastal cities and flood prone area, these are important as coastal winds brings salty vapors and salty vapors invites rusts.

     photo IMG_1808.jpg
    Obvious rusts means the car won’t run for long
  6. Interiors – special attention to the carpets conditions and also seats. Do the carpet has any consistent stains that might indicate hard use or been in flood? Seats fabrics are clean? Pay special attention to smokers owners and owners with small children.

    This picture might be too obvious. Even after cleaning, some traces of mud can be a good clue of where the car had been.
  7. Engine Bay – There’s too much to see and to tell. I might have to write a whole post only about this.
    There’s too much to see here. We’ll talk about this later.


To conclude our part 1, there’s so many telltale signs what the car had been to investigate and gauge the owner response to it. Early detection of these will land you a good car to use for years to come, before you yourself finally sell it.

Stay tuned for Part 2. We’ll be discussing about how to check if our car is good under the skin.


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