1 – Detect a hidden accident
If the car has been in an accident, the buyer must be informed, even if the vehicle has been perfectly repaired, because this affects the price. So many sellers are silent. Only a car expert can detect it by consulting the SIV file (vehicle registration system).
2 – Check the mileage
About 12% of used cars have a tampered meter . This can be detected by checking the consistency between the dates and mileages of the maintenance invoices and the technical inspection reports. Do not rely on the maintenance book alone , which may be backdated.
3 – Test all equipment
It is necessary to check that no warning light comes on while driving and check the on-board computer, the lighting, the central locking of the doors, the windows… To test the ABS, simply brake at slows down at 30 km/h in a car park to ensure that the vehicle brakes without locking the wheels and leaves no long traces of rubber on the ground. In the event of a malfunction, the cost of repair must be estimated and taken into account.
4 – Check the past of the vehicle
Watch out for townspeople! 80,000 km in the city tires the mechanics more than 150,000 km on the road and on the motorway. Test driving as a passenger lets you know how the car was driven. Check if it has been hitched (to a trailer, caravan) as this wears out the clutch. You should also know that cars that have been immobilized for a long time are often sources of trouble. Relying on obtaining the technical control is not enough because it takes place without testing or dismantling.
5 – Examine the exhaust pipe
Many owners of diesel cars have the particulate filter removed to remedy its clogging or boost the engine, without this being mentioned in the technical inspection. To check this suppression, you have to lie down under the car and examine the exhaust line, from the engine to the rear. Also beware of electronic chips that boost the engine or claim to lower its consumption ! It’s illegal. It is better to make it clear in the sales contract that no modifications have been made to the engine.
6 – Be wary of professional guarantees
Manufacturers’ “used” labels are not completely reliable: the cars are impeccable on the outside, but often summarily inspected and serviced. In addition, the warranty includes many exclusions, such as the injection system, pollution control, air conditioning, openings, etc.
7 – Evaluate the quality of maintenance
All revisions must have been made. Many interventions are neglected for economy, such as bleeding the air conditioning and brake fluid, or emptying the automatic gearbox. Finally, special attention should be paid to replacing the timing belt. If the operation is imminent, it will be necessary to take into account its rather high cost, around 500 €.
8 – Detect fouling of the diesel engine
Fouling can be detected during the test if, when accelerating, the vehicle responds in an abnormally sluggish or irregular manner. Other warning signals: lighting on the dashboard of the engine warning light or that of the exhaust.