Purchasing a car is exciting. The thrill of driving away with a new set of wheels should be a great experience. But sometimes, the excitement becomes too much and can lead to not noticing simple faults with the car before you purchase it.

Used cars are more prone to having minor faults such as scratches and dents, yet they still should function properly. It’s not fair to purchase a car only to find out when you drive away, there are several faults that can increase the cost of the vehicle. Fortunately, most of these can be spotted before you purchase the vehicle — if you know where to look.

Checking "little things" before purchasing a used car is important.
Checking “little things” before purchasing a used car is important.

Here are four common areas consumers forget to check when buying a used car and how to spot a fault:

1. Spare tyre and changing equipment
Poor tyre maintenance provides the biggest likelihood of causing an accident. Always check the condition of the tyres on the used car and make sure there’s a replacement spare.

The spare wheel for your car should be located beneath the flooring of your boot. Equipment such as jack handles, lug wrenches and a locking wheel-nut adaptor should also be included.

2. Heating and fans
Improper heating can adversely affect a vehicle more than you think. Whether your car is overheating in the summer or too cold in the winter, checking the heating system when buying a used car will help to prevent spending money repairing the components. To check the system, simply turn on the heating and air conditioning while test-driving to determine if it’s working properly.

3. Locking system
You should confirm the locking system is working correctly. Ask the current owner how many keys come with the car and if they have so you can check if they’re working properly.

If the vehicle has an automatic locking system through a key fob, the car should lock or unlock when you press the buttons. If the vehicle requires the key inserted, make sure it works properly.

The internal locking system should also be checked when viewing the used car. This can be done by sitting inside the vehicle and locking from inside.

4. Clutch
When you’re test-driving the car, you should check if the clutch is working properly. Generally, a problem can be identified if:
• Excessive noise is audible when the clutch is lifted;
• The biting point feels too high;
• The clutch doesn’t release fully when lifted.

A properly working clutch is imperative. If you suspect issues, have it inspected by a trusted mechanic before purchasing the vehicle to avoid additional repair charges when you’re the owner.

To reiterate, with several quick spot checks before purchasing a car you can determine if it’s wise investment and you minimize future problems.

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