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  Used cars 6

We're a long way yet, from being finished with the exterior. Sometimes there is also a sliding- or sun-roof installed. This can be the cause of an unbelievable amount of trouble. My perfectionism, as far as writing this page is concerned, more or less compels me to take a large amount of water and pour it over the car-roof. Any leaks would then be seen in the interior. Quite often it's the roof flow-off piping that is clogged, the result is the same, water in the car.

Then there is also the lighting. A quick switching through the various positions is a good idea. If something doesn't work, it might be wise to calculate the repair cost as being a bit more than the price of a new bulb. If that's all that was wrong, the previous owner would surely have fixed it himself, don't you think? Check to see if there are scratch marks on the coverings, because nowadays, these are like to be made of plastic.

Let's not forget the reflectors, which in former times may have been rusty and nowadays, they turn "blind" (dull), which is not only bad for the light performance, the MOT won't accept it either. You can't imagine how rare it is, to get these reflectors as a spare part, and how much you would have to pay for a complete new headlamp nowadays. By the way, the indicator lights also have reflectors and if there are some on the side of the car they must also function correctly.

Plastic parts can also show small cracks. Give it a thought, even at a "paint-doctor" you'll seldom get away with under €150. There are certain protruding parts which often get knocked about, e.g., the wing mirrors, you can sometimes see them on parked cars, sadly hanging by their cables. Some have even been provisionally mended with adhesive tape. Have a look at any standard spoilers, front and back. How easy is it to make contact with the sidewalk or even a hump in the road?

We now have a general impression of what the bodywork is like. Let's have a closer look. What do the gaps between the doors and the bonnet/boot lids look like in relation to the rest of the car-body? Are they evenly spaced or do they differ on either side? Do they close gently and do they also stay closed? Do you have to slam the doors/lids closed?

If you really want to be sure, you could jack up the car on one side and then open and close the doors once again. Indeed, some convertibles and some other cars as well would not pass this test even if they were brand new. Should the car have any chrome fittings, e.g., bumpers, it would be interesting to see what condition they are in.

Finally, we'll see if we can find any evidence of a possible accident or even just a respray. Moreover, it is important to have a witness or to get it in writing, that the car is accident-free. We've already mentioned the paint-layer measurement. If you can't do this, at least pay attention to traces of paint on the rubbr seals or even on the fittings. Sometimes all is well, indeed, the seller has forgotten to clean the paint-spray from the tyres.

There is also the question of whether one should view the car together with the former owner or without. If together with the person is possible, this would definitely be an alternative. One should take someone along anyhow, who can be of assistance during the inspection. If the car is as good as it appears, the previous owner doesn't have to make any kind of show. If it's not paticularly good, the listing of the defects and possible repairs can help to get a lower price.

One thing has to be emphasized, one is not under any obligation to buy. To show one's feelings is nice, but caution is sometimes more practical. If something has come to light (picture 1), one shouldn't ignore it out of hand. 07/13               Top of page               Index
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Translator: Don Leslie - Email:

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