What to Do Before You Buy a Used Car: A Checklist

There is a lot more to buying a used car than checking for scratches or rust and any funny noises during a test drive. At least it should be! While Gumtree has tens of thousands of high-quality second-hand vehicles to choose from, you should always do your due diligence to be absolutely sure you are getting what you think you’re getting.


Here is a checklist of everything you should do before purchasing a used car.


  • Check the condition of the gas pedal, brake pedal, carpeting, leather seats, and upholstery.
  • Make sure essentials like the owner’s manual, and spare tyre are present.
  • Check for any panels of the exterior where paint does not 100% match the rest; this could indicate an accident that the current owner has not disclosed.
  • Inspect all four tyres for any uneven wear on the inside or outside edges; this could indicate an alignment issue.
  • Inspect the vehicle’s oil using a dip stick; the oil should be the colour of honey and should have a translucent appearance.
  • Look for any fluid leaks under the hood.
  • Inspect the transmission fluid; this fluid should be red and translucent.
  • During the test drive, listen for a clunking sound when you put the transmission into gear or let your foot off the gas; this could indicate u-joint problems.
  • If possible, drive on the highway and pay attention to any vibrations; if you feel any, take note of what speeds you felt them at. Vibrations could indicate tyre balance issues.
  • Take note on whether the shifts during the increase or decrease of speeds are smooth or jerky; a jerky shift could indicate transmission problems which can be costly.


Now that you have the knowledge, it’s time to browse! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android) and don’t forget to use your location settings to find a new ride close to home.

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