Four smart tips for second-hand car buying

When it comes to buying a previously owned car, one of the biggest challenges is getting an accurate read on the quality of the vehicle you’re looking at.

Jeff Osborne, Head of Gumtree Automotive SA, says ideally a buyer should get someone with good mechanical knowledge to check out the vehicle but he has four tips that anyone can use to evaluate safety issues in particular.

  1. Tyres

Tyre wear is inevitable but it’s important to know the line between ‘slightly worn’ and ‘replace me now’. A good trick is to insert a 10c coin between the grooves in the tyre tread – if the lily on the coin is visible then the tyre needs to be replaced immediately.

  1. Windscreen Wipers

Take a bottle of water along to your viewing and use it to wet the windshield. Then turn the wipers on and assess how well they work.

  1. Brakes

When you take a test drive, insist on exploring a variety of terrains to ensure the brakes work on flat roads as well as on hills. If your foot presses too close to the floor when you hit the brakes it’s a clear sign that they need to be replaced.

  1. Headlights & Indicator Lights

Test the vehicle at night to ensure that the lights are bright enough and that the high beam setting works. And make sure you test all the lights on the vehicle paying special attention to the indicators and the brake lights.