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Do this before you buy your next second-hand car

Having limited your options of used automobiles, you've decided on one of them. For peace of mind, take a few additional precautions before purchasing the car you've been eyeing. While shopping for your next large purchase, keep the following in mind.

Test drive.

The only way to determine whether it's right for you is to take it for a spin. Take it to a speed of 40 to 50 kilometers per hour and smoothly apply the brakes. If the brake pedal vibrates, there must be an issue with the rotors or pads. If the vehicle swerves when you use the brakes, you may have worn steering components or malfunctioning brake calipers to blame for this.

Check the body

Look at the car's surface to see if it has corrosion, discoloration, or scratches, indicating that it has been repainted or subjected to acid rain. Make that the lenses and reflectors are in good condition. The lights should operate correctly, so ask a buddy to check them.

Check the car's body closely for dings, scratches, or corrosion. There should be no noticeable waviness in the paint on any vehicle's body panels. Roughness at the borders of panel joints is another telltale sign. Masking tape residue, often used while painting an automobile, may be seen here. One technique to tell whether a dent has been fixed with body filler is to attach a magnet to it. Magnets won't cling to those with fillers in their bodies.

Gently raising and releasing the driver's door, in particular, will reveal whether the vehicle has been driven often. It is a sign of wear and tear if the hinges of a door seem loose. The same is true for automobile doors with torn or rotted rubber seals. Both are a definite sign that it has been treading the ground for some time. The saddle, which supports the radiator's top and joins the front fenders, should also be checked for damage. Crash damage may have caused the bolt heads at the top of the fenders to be scratched, indicating that they had to be adjusted or replaced.

Scan the engine bay.

A peek into the engine bay may provide valuable insight into the car's structure and powertrain. For example, a welded or bolted frame indicates a front-end accident. In contrast, scratches on the bolt heads in the fenders' upper corners show a front panel replacement or repositioning was performed. Instead of being rusty or milky, coolants should have a green or orange hue. If the radiator has greenish stains, there may be leaks in the system.