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To see our content at its best we recommend upgrading if you wish to continue using IE or using another browser such as Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome. If you're in the market for a used car and crave reliability above all else then seek out a model from Honda, Toyota or Lexus. One fundamental task you must complete when you view a used car for sale is to test drive it.
The trouble is while most people do test drives they don’t always know what to check!
One of the biggest mistakes you will ever make is viewing a used car and driving it in the dark. Had I seen that during the day, I could have used that as an excuse to lower the price of the car more.
A car might sound good on paper but when you see it in person, it could end up being a different story. There’s also the fact that private sellers may not have insured or taxed the car you go to see. James Simpson University Graduate from Teesside, currently residing in the big city of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. The best used cars you can buy have been revealed by specialist motoring magazine Auto Express. For those hunting for a used car bargain, as opposed to buying a brand new car (which may depreciate in value much quicker) we have rounded up a top ten from the categories on the Auto Express list, ranging from the best family car to the best hot hatch.
The BMW 3-Series line up is top of the charts according to Auto Express, and with lots of them hitting second-hand forecourts, prices are now more attractive than ever. Lesser models in the range are actually more appealing - the 320d for example is smooth and powerful, but offers incredible fuel economy. As the new style Mondeo is only three years old, many good cars can still be found within Ford's dealer network. Auto Express has consistently praised the Focus for its excellent handling and great dynamics, while the wide range of engines means there is something for everyone. The Ford S-MAX has always been slightly too expensive to make it on the Auto Express shortlist for their best used MPV award. The TT is popular meaning they are making their way on to the second-hand market in increasing numbers.
A top-end Mercedes S-Class is the best used luxury model to buy according to Auto Express, and top-end saloons shed their value fast a€“ an early this era S-Class can now be purchased for less than A?25,000.
Most of these luxury cars would have been well maintained and high mileages are nothing to worry about. The launch of a revised model last year has hit prices, so good, early examples with a few miles on the clock can now be yours for less than A?5,000. Practicality, reliability and performance are hallmarks of the latest Golf GTI and early examples are now available for less than A?8,000. It is also cheap to run with a 1.5-litre diesel engine, meaning it is punchy enough to provide a brisk pace. Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons to cut petrol prices, but as campaigners ask 'who is fleecing the motorist' should costs be lower? Whether customers are purchasing a vehicle for the first time or whether they have had experience with automobiles in the past, it is essential for each buyer to check a car's engine when searching for a used car.
One of the most simple and easiest things to do when searching for a used car is to check the odometer. Another step that buyers can take is to lift the car's hood and check for any indication of poor care, such as dents, damage, or rust. Buyers should make sure that they test the vehicle by driving it on both town or city roads and on highways. A car's instrument panel should not have any warning signs that indicate that the engine needs to be checked or that the oil pressure needs to be adjusted, for example.
Once drivers have finished test driving a vehicle, they should park it in a level spot and, once again, open the hood.. When taking a look at the engine, prospective buyers should consider whether the engine itself looks clean. Bulging gaskets, loose wires, and stripped or dry and cracked belts are all signs of a bad engine.
If a vehicle presents itself as not having any problems that a buyer is not willing to assume responsibility for, the car's history records should be checked. If a seller states that repairs have been done, buyers should ask for the receipts and records of such work. Lastly, once drivers have decided that an engine is satisfactory, given the above criteria, they should consult a third-party mechanic.
Though it may not be obvious to some buyers, eBay can be used as a resource with helping to check a car engine while buying a used car.
So much of checking a car engine when buying a used car can be done by novice customers as long as they are knowledgeable about what is normal and about what can indicate a problem in an engine. Check whether you can change into all gears smoothly and easily without any grinding or requiring excessive pressure on the clutch, if test driving a manual. As you’ll be spending an extended period of time in the car while test driving it, make sure to test all of the interior features that the vehicle has to make sure they work.  Look over and check features like the windows winders, sunroof, windscreen wipers, interior blowers, air conditioning (if installed) and heated windows which are essential on frosty days. Buying from a dealer or car supermarket with a warranty in place can also help minimise problems after you’ve bought, as cars often undergo pre-sale tests to resolve any mechanical issues.


The idea is to identify any faults with the vehicle and use that knowledge to barter on the price. For example, a dealer may have to move the car if it’s blocked in so that you can test drive it.
Interests in the automotive industry and technology, and blogging about things which I feel would interest the readers of the world wide web.
Category A and B shouldn't be on the road and are illegal to drive, so avoid and report these cars.
The whole range has been given a spruce-up lately, but even purchasing one of the earliest 2005 variants won't look out of date. The car is relatively cheap (between A?5,000 - A?8,000) for a solid build quality and it has a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty, which can be transferred from owner to owner - making it a great town car.
But that's not a bad thing, Auto Express state, as the dealer network has a reputation for top-notch customer service. That doesn't mean the old Mondeo is a bad second-hand buy, as it is incredibly cheap and widely available.
These will be covered by the company's used approved scheme, which offers a two-year, unlimited mileage warranty and two years of pan-European breakdown cover - both a year longer than is the norm with rival used schemes.
Used Focus values have been falling steadily and with a new Focus on the horizon, prices can only get lower.
But after four years in new showrooms, and the arrival of a facelifted model, the people carrier's prices have finally tumbled . The first generation models now offer serious value for money (starting at A?14,500) and the TT offers a wide of engine choices. Main dealers are the obvious place to look for newer models, but it's worth shopping around online for an earlier version.
Ex-professional limos or hire cars are worth seeking out - they will have been looked after and are fantastic value. Skoda's family model is a consistently strong performer in our Driver Power reliability surveys. These enthusiasts tend to cherry pick the cars they sell and make sure they're in good condition beforehand. They credit it as having great handling and safety, whilst having a practical interior, whilst offering affordability (prices range from A?4,000 to A?12,000).
Reliability hasn't always been a strong point for Renault, Auto Express claim, but the Clio finished in a mid-ranking 54th place in their Driver Power 2010 reliability survey. The car may seem perfect, but without a dependable engine, it will likely serve as nothing more than a driveway decoration. If the engine has powered the vehicle for more than 100,000 miles, that car's lifespan is most likely coming close to an end, and it is often not worth the cost of buying a used car if it has very high mileage.
Start the vehicle and pay close attention to see that it starts properly and without any stalling or hesitation. They should take notice of any abnormal vibrations or whether the car seems to have trouble accelerating or decelerating. Many salespeople will try to talk the customer out of their concerns with these hazard messages, citing a default with that particular model and stating that there is no issue. Oftentimes, dealerships and private sellers will remove any previous signs of leaks or buildup by steam cleaning the engine. Usually, timing belts need to be replaced every 60,000 to 100,000 miles and are an added cost of buying a used vehicle when the buyer is expected to replace it. Prospective buyers can request a report of the vehicle's history using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
A record of regular oil changes is a great tool in allowing customers to feel confident about a used car. This mechanic can perform an inspection and be able to tell a driver whether the engine is in acceptable condition, and if their inferences regarding the engine were correct. Research is incredibly important when making any major purchase, including searching for a used car, so you can search for reference tools, such as car engine guides on eBay.
I bought the car, and it was only some weeks later when I washed the car that I noticed a bad spray job on one of the panels! Prices are now as low as A?7,000, although that will for a car that has had a higher average mileage.
A water-tight service history is essential, although private buyers will sell their cars for less than dealers.
It has a large 580-litre boot which expands to a vast 1,620 litres with the seats folded flat. Excellent customer service and Skoda's superb approved scheme mean dealers are worth a look for a nearly new model. They're usually small outfits, too, so they rely on recommendation for repeat business and good service is a generally a given - just don't expect too much flexibility on price. Luckily for those who are not automotively inclined, checking an engine is very systematic and can be done by following a number of simple instructions that pertain to different parts of the engine or to specific occurrences. Sometimes if drivers know that they would like a certain model of vehicle, it is helpful to test drive several on the market (both new and used) to compare the way that each one runs and to know if any aspect of the vehicle seems abnormal. Unfortunately, if a car is up for inspection and those hazard messages do appear, it is the responsibility of the owner to fix the problem so that the message is not present.
If buyers are unsure about what a bulging gasket looks like, for example, they should be sure to search for pictures online so that they can identify this problem.


Having an inspection performed on the vehicle can be costly but could ultimately save customers money, as the mechanical inspector is able to accurately determine the worth of the vehicle. Any supplies that are needed for inspecting a car can also be found on eBay, including flashlights and cleaning cloths.. Doing so not only allows customers to be more informed, but it also facilitates the better care of their subsequent vehicles.
But, you’ll often get a better car going to the Imperial Car Supermarket and other dealers like them.
Potential car buyers need not feel overwhelmed if they follow the tips that are presented in this guide.
If there is any unusual noise, including grinding, knocking, and pinging, they could be signs that a larger and much more costly issue.
However, blue, black, or white smoke most often is a sign that the engine is in need of repair. The lower part of the engine and the transmission may be somewhat wet, but no oil drips should be present. Repairing gaskets can be costly and if they are leaking, it can be a costly process to have to undertake.
Timing belts are usually difficult to view because there is a cover protecting them and obstructing them from view.
If a car has had a history of overheating, it should be avoided whenever possible, as well. Ruling out vehicles with too many miles, vehicles that have been in accidents or overheated, or vehicles whose engines show signs of mistreatment, and having a trained third party mechanic inspect the vehicle are all ways to make sure that the experience of buying a car is an enjoyable one.
They do not have to be expert auto mechanics to sort out the lemons from the true gems, as there are many websites, auto parts stores, car service shops, and online retailers like eBay that can help aid buyers in finding a used car that has a healthy engine. White smoke with a sweet smell, for example, could indicate that the engine has blown a gasket. Prospective buyers should note that if the air conditioner has been running, water coming from the drain tube is to be expected. The dealer could have changed the oil recently, so it is important to take that into consideration.
If there are new spots of silicone in the gaskets or if there are areas that have been repaired (which are known as spot repairs), it could lead to the need for future replacements down the road. Buyers should also make sure that the odometer has not been reset by the seller to mislead them into purchasing a car with fewer miles, and, therefore, less chance of needing costly repairs. This can help you determine whether the automobile that you are interested in is being sold at a competitive price. Customers should remember that signs of mistreatment can manifest in many ways, ranging from the presence of sludge to a tapping sound in the engine. The worst performing manufacturer was Land Rover, with 71 per cent of the vehicles whose owners have taken out a Warranty Direct policy breaking down at least once a year.
Simple steps like checking the odometer,, opening the hood, driving the car, examining the recently driven vehicle, taking a closer look at the engine, and conducting final research can all ensure that a car that a customer is considering buying is worth its asking price.
Buyers should note, however, that pinging and rattling are normal if the engine is a diesel engine. However, if the oil is dark or black, that could indicate negative consumption of oil by the engine.
The engine may even need to be taken apart to replace these gaskets, which can be very costly. Buyers should note, however, that water coming from an air conditioning compressor is very normal if the air conditioning has been running. You can even look for results in your area and possibly find the car that you have been seeking. They should not forget to ask for any paperwork indicating previous work done, including oil changes.
Carbon deposits along the length of the dipstick, which show up as dark stains, is also a negative sign.
In order to check the engine, a flashlight can be shined inside the oil-fill cap to look at the internal surfaces. Following the simple procedures that have been presented in this guide can help to ensure that buyers do not end up purchasing a vehicle with a bad engine.
A light gray colored froth may be a sign of the car having overheated, as water has leaked into the engine, or a gasket could be blown.
If there is any kind of buildup or sludge, it can be indicative of negligence in terms of oil changes and maintenance. Japanese car makers really do deliver on reliability and Honda is exceptionally good at this. Customers should never purchase a vehicle that has overheated, as it can create major problems.




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