Whilst we know how important it is to know a car’s VRC (if it is a car bought in Ireland) or V5C (if the car is imported from the UK) and ask for a NCT Certificate if the car is more than four years of age when we are planning to purchase a vehicle, it is also important to pay special attention to the vehicle itself. This means checking the exterior and interior as thoroughly as possible and making sure that everything is in good working order and is in its proper place.
Checking the exterior of the vehicle: what to look for
When you have already checked the vehicle’s papers and other documents, you should take the time to check both the inside and outside of the car. When it comes to the exterior of the vehicle – what should you look for?
When you have scheduled a car check, take a measuring tape, torch, and magnifying glass with you. Also, when checking a vehicle, it is better to take your time with it and do it during the daytime. The vehicle should be dry as well as clean because dust and dirt can easily hide any damage.
With the use of your magnifying glass and measuring tape, check if there are any uneven gaps in-between the car’s panels. The paint should also be even throughout the car’s surface. Look for any hints of spray paint on the handles of the car, in-between the car’s window seals, and in the mouldings. Lift up the carpet on the car’s boot and check if there is any difference in the colour underneath the carpet and the car’s body.
You should also check if the glass panels on the car have the same number or code. If they aren’t the same, is it just for one panel, or all the panels? The codes at the front should be the same, whilst the codes on the back panels should also be the same.
Another thing to check for is signs of welding on the car’s bonnet or boot. Also, you should make it a point to check the vehicle’s tyres and look for any uneven or irregular wear and tear. The tyres should also have a tread depth of more than three millimetres.
The vehicle should also be checked for any sign of rust, as this can lead to issues later on. With the use of your torch, you should check the underneath of the car. If the vehicle is placed on level and flat ground, push the vehicle’s front down at the corner and see how it bounces back up. The vehicle should also be level when checked from the side without showing any signs of tilting.
Checking the vehicle’s interior: what to look for
When checking the interior, you should start with the seatbelts. Do they work well and lock properly? You should also check the functionality of the warning lights for the air bags when the car’s ignition is started. Check if all the interior components, such as the switches, lights, fan and cluster of equipment at the front (including the radio, clock, etc.) work. Look at the car’s clutch pedal – if it shows extreme signs of wear, this may point to the owner’s tendency to ride the car’s clutch or the car’s high mileage.
If you have already checked the car’s exterior and interior and still want to be completely sure about its provenance, you can turn to experts in vehicle valuations such as www.myvehicle.ie to lay your questions (and fears) to rest.