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10 things to do after buying a used car

Each motorist asks questions: What to do after buying a used car? How to check? Who to contact? What to update? What is important to consider? In this article, I’ll try to have your attention to 10 important things you should do after buying a used car.

after buying a used car

Technical inspection after buying a used car

You can check the car yourself or seek the help of experienced friends. But in this case, there is a high probability that some nuances are overlooked (twisted mileage, technical damage, etc.), because defects are often hidden. Therefore, it is better to bring the car to a car service for technical inspection after buying a used car.

The services use the equipment necessary for diagnostics and a set of tools. Wizards will lift the car on the lift, diagnose the chassis, determine the freshness of the paint with a thickness gauge, etc.

A place

Do not go to the service that the seller advised. Sometimes services cooperate with sellers and deliberately withhold the truth from buyers.


Be prepared for the fact that the verification will take from 1 to 4 hours. But you will be confident in the car, find out about possible problems.


Tanya bought a six-year-old car. After a couple of months, I had to change the racks – then on Priora, it cost $100. A little later I had to replace the brake discs – another $150. There are more expensive things. For example, you will need to replace the suspension parts, or even to straighten the body (if the car got into an accident. Prepare for the wallet to go on a diet. 

Legal review

If at the purchase stage you neglected to check the history of the car, be sure to do it after completing the transaction. It is better to immediately find out about problems than to detect them by accident, for example, when registering a car in the traffic police.

It happens that the car is not registered due to the fact that it is pledged, arrested, stolen or disposed of, and the new owner did not even know about it. Other not very pleasant surprises may be twisted mileage, unpaid fines, work in a taxi or participate in a serious accident.

Now we’ll understand in detail what actions to take after buying a car. We turned to experts, a detailed educational program came out of their opinions.

Learn about a car’s past life

Check which oil was poured when. If the oil turns black, it means either it has not been changed for a long time, or the engine is quickly contaminated and has problems. In this case, do not delay the trip to the car service. The sooner you see a problem, the cheaper it can be.

Find out when at what mileage the timing chain or timing chain changed. In case of a broken belt, you may encounter an expensive motor repair. Open the service book, see when checking for valve clearances is recommended. If you leave them unchecked, some of them may burn out, which will entail engine repair.

Inspect car independently

Do not be lazy to inspect a used car inside, outside after purchase. Check the level and condition of technical fluids, uniformity of rubber wear, serviceability of light devices, “wipers”. You may not have noticed before the purchase that the tilt wheel does not turn. A trifle, but it will be necessary to restore order.

Inspect the car in the workshop

If a used car was inspected in the service before buying, you should once again contact the auto repair shop, but already to others. So you can objectively evaluate information about the condition of the car before and after the purchase. Servicemen will fix the discovered problems right away, or at least you can order the necessary details.

Using a lift or a pit, a specialist can carefully inspect the vehicle’s suspension, check the consumables, the muffler, the fuel lines, and also evaluate the condition of the drive shafts and the steering. In some car services, the master after checking issues a sheet of technical condition with inspection results and comments.

Some companies make a living by being ready to send specialists to a convenient place and time. Auto technicians will conduct on-site diagnostics.

An important point of on-site diagnostics is a visual inspection of the vehicle’s interior, during which the expert checks the secondary signs of a“ wound ”run, such as a worn-out pedal or gearbox.

Test drive

Usually, a bona fide seller will let you drive before buying. Therefore, a test drive is necessary before the purchase. This will help:

  • check driving performance;
  • evaluate manageability;
  • check brake system;
  • evaluate battery performance;
  • hear extraneous noise;
  • detect leakage of liquids.

If greasy plaque constantly appears on the windows, sound the alarm. This may be a leak of antifreeze or antifreeze. Fluids will enter the interior from the radiator of the stove, which is located under the panel.

Check electrics

Checking electrics is very important after buying a used car. Comprehensive diagnostics include checking the electrics of a used car, as well as the originality of the mileage on some brands of cars. You can do it using a special device – a scanner. There are different types of scanners – universal, simpler, and professional, which are more expensive, but the test results give more accurate.

An experienced auto mechanic will check the ABS unit, airbags, as well as the engine and gearbox control unit. It is important to monitor the operation of these systems, electrical problems are more serious than mechanical ones.

If any of the devices work only from knocking, contact an auto electrician. This is a clear sign of poor wire contact. In this case, the electric element begins to heat up and may cause a fire.

Rate the work of the “stove”

It happens that a car was bought in the fall or winter, and there are problems with blowing warm air through the windows. Do not go to the service immediately to repair the heater, change antifreeze and rinse the stove. Pay attention to the cabin filter, which, possibly, no one has ever changed before. Air through such a filter no longer just passes.

Raise the hood

We do not recommend doing this yourself if you do not understand how it works under the hood cover. Better attract experienced friends or car mechanics. But raise the hood immediately after buying a used car.

Focus on the specialist carefully inspecting the engine compartment, checking the level and condition of technical fluids in the car. And also, for example, I determined the percentage of water in the brake fluid in order to understand whether it needs to be replaced or not. Also, a car mechanic should listen to how the engine works, if it doesn’t “troit” – this may be the result of serious damage.

Look in the trunk

Check the spare wheel to see if it fits the car for damage. Is there a key to the secret nuts, if any, are installed on the machine. Look in the trunk after buying a used car.


If the steering wheel is crooked in a used car, the rubber wear is uneven, the car is not steadily controlled or throws along with a rut, then the installation angles of the wheels do not correspond to the factory ones. The reasons:

  • lack of control and prevention of the collapse;
  • suspension repair without subsequent adjustment;
  • car participation in an accident. So, the body may not reach the control points, or the geometry of the suspension elements may be violated.

If a car has got into an accident, in a car service they may say that it is impossible to make the alignment. Look at the suspension options for tuning versions or cars of the same model range with a similar suspension. Competent car mechanics will adjust the levers and racks to the most demanding taste. A suspension device that has been tuned allows this to be done.

Take a sniff

It is always important to take a sniff after buying a used car. If it seems that the cabin smells of gasoline, oil or exhaust, if a car with HBO, then gas, you must contact the service station. The smell of exhaust is due to an unpressurized exhaust system. The smell of gasoline is often associated with fuel leakage, leaks in fuel lines. The smell of gas comes from a leak through the gearbox or hoses.

Leave documents at home

The main thing to do after buying a used car is to close the glove compartment for an insurance policy, driver’s license and other papers on the car.

Do not carry documents on a car with you, do not store in the glove compartment (this applies to TCP). The title is needed only for the sale of a car. In-car services and traffic police, it is not required. You must carry the rights and technical standard with you, but pick up from the car. In the event of car theft and stop by traffic police, the criminal will not have a chance to get out.

Instead of a conclusion

It turned out 10 points. Repeat for fixing. Important:

  • learn about the past life of a car;
  • inspect the car;
  • conduct a test drive;
  • check electrician;
  • evaluate the work of the “stove”;
  • look under the hood;
  • check the “reserve”;
  • toe-in;
  • smell the smells in the cabin;
  • leave documents for the car at home.

Based on these simple rules, you can easily determine the “nature” of your car and timely warn of dangerous nuances.

>>Also read: Car rental tips for New York City

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