Before buying a used car, it is imperative that you check it out in person and take it for a test drive. This will not only give you the best indication of whether it’s right for you but also allow you to assess the current condition. Undertaking an HPI check is always advisable for your peace of mind and to highlight any potential issues. But a cheaper alternative is a CarVeto vehicle check. Data is almost identical but half the price of HPI. However, one aspect this won’t cover is the car’s technology, and there are various features it is essential to inspect.
Even if you’re looking to purchase a second-hand car that’s over a decade old, it will still have some basic electrical features you need to check. They may not be as advanced as an in-built sat nav or climate control, but if they don’t work it can prove incredibly annoying. The basic electrics to inspect include:
- Electric windows Ensure these all go up and down smoothly. You don’t want to overheat in summer.
- Dashboard: Ask about anything that’s lit up or any of the symbols which you don’t recognise.
- Lights: For any that don’t work see that it’s just the bulb that needs replacing.
For those who spend a lot of time commuting or just generally driving solo, the radio needs to be working. Make sure it turns on, the volume controls work and it’s possible to change station. The same goes for the CD, MP3 player or whatever entertainment system is installed in the vehicle. Those which have a TV screen or infotainment panel, look for scratches and chips which could affect its performance.
The majority of new cars now include Bluetooth connectivity, allowing drivers to stream their music or answer phones hands-free when behind the wheel. Try and connect your phone if this feature is offered or enquire about why it won’t allow it if it’s not working. Look to see if there’s an obvious place for a hands-free phone attachment too.
Air conditioning is a necessity, both to keep cool in the summer and warm in winter. It can be fairly cheap and simple to repair but still give it a test as you don’t want to buy a used car not knowing that it’s faulty. Heated seats and steering wheels should be checked out too, as it’s all well and good advertising them but not if they don’t work properly.
Problems with any of the electrics or technological features can be used as a good price negotiation point, so always make these checks when inspecting a used car for sale.