|HOME | PERSONAL FINANCE | LIFESTYLE|
|March 13, 2000||
A guide to buying used cars
If you think buying a brand new car is tough, then it is 'one season' for those hunting in the second-hand car market. Here are a set of guidelines to keep in mind when taking your pick.
What is a second-hand car?
But akin to telltale signs in the used car, the automobile could also reveal a few more traits of its previous owner(s). An unhealthy driving habit of the previous owner could prove disastrous to the future life expectancy of the car in question. Be that as it may, when you are bargain hunting for used cars, lemons could suddenly rise with alarming regularity as compared to roses. But, since the wallet is a restraint, you might as well grin and bear with it.
What do you look out for?
An important factor to look out for is the pedigree of previous owners. But lay more emphasis on the number of previous owners rather than their professional status. The legacy of professional status stems from a belief that professionals, being rich, would take of their automobiles better. Anyone looking for an explanation to those ads in newspapers about cars owned by doctors, lawyers and engineers need to look no further. But these cars, and less the classifieds, need not be a good bargain at all.
Selecting your car
But if the above method fails, don't fret. A used car dealer should be your next logical stop. The first in this breed is one who trades-in used cars to sell new ones. Even if slightly expensive than the prevailing market price of the same model, a car re-conditioned by a dealer could prove to be a good buy.
In these cases, guarantees on the product, ranging from six months to a year, are also offered as an incentive. This should make your pounding heart take a breather. But if you are still not satisfied, the other type of used car dealer could prove to be useful (pun unintended). Dealers like Popular Automobiles and Sai Services of Mumbai stock used cars, and their turnover rate for stock is also very high. Here automobiles of your choice will surely be available at attractive prices. While there is no "guarantee" attached to such a purchase, you need to take the chance. As these dealers operate on a fixed commission on the "sold" price of the car, a general chat with the owner should be mandatory.
A service history is a "must" for a relatively new car. Find out all you can about the parts that have been replaced in the car in the past. As mentioned earlier, if the paint job covers up an accident, find out the intensity of the same. A major accident or damage could be potential disaster, particularly in cases of small cars like Maruti 800, Omni and Zen.
A cold engine might require a little warming up. Again, some idling can rectify the sputtering of such an engine, which can also let you know of the music being made by the engine. From the driver's vantage point, the most important aspects for you to check out are the engine, gearbox, pedals (for clutch, brake and accelerator) and the steering wheel.
Listen for all the right (and the wrong ones too) noises coming from the engine. A broken-down engine can be easily detected, as can be a healthy one. But an "in-between" engine comes in the grey area. If this problem is with the exhaust or from the fans, it is easily curable. But roll up your sleeves and start bargaining for a lower price, based on the kind of repairs that need to be carried out.
Now for the gearshift. A noisy one (and a difficult one at that) would indicate extensive wear and tear, inevitably leading to expensive repairs. But a good gearbox would engage positively and you can feel it in your wrist.
Acceleration and deceleration are other important aspects. Try picking up speed on a straight road and on an incline, to check whether the engine is running properly or not. Remember that diesel engines are lethargic as compared to their petrol cousins.
And don't ever forget the brakes. Slam them hard at high speeds to check for fishtailing or rolling or pitching. A good car with a competitive braking system should decelerate steadily in a straight line. The quality of the clutch, especially on an incline, is of paramount importance. And so too would be the handbrake.
Test out the potholes for checking out the suspension system. While stationary too, apply weight on the suspension. If it makes too much noise or bounces too much, it could spell trouble. If the remedy is in a few new bushes, then it is okay. But new shock absorbers or suspension system could really set your wallet back. A low battery and bald tyres give you the opportunity to negotiate more. Replacement of both can be a very costly affair.
ROMANCE | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | MILLENNIUM | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK