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Secondhand Vehicle
Buying Tips

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Your First Inspection

Know what you are looking for,
do not be pushed into buying
the wrong vehicle.

Keep an eye on older vehicles
on the road, and in parking
lots, this can give a good
idea on which vehicles last
longer. Look at the paint
and for rust.

When checking out a potential
vehicle to buy, the first and
sometimes the only inspection
needed, is to inspect the
inside of the rear of the
exhaust pipe at the end of the

(Gasoline driven engines.)
Check the color just inside
the exhaust pipe, it should
be clean, something like a
neutral light grey and void
of any oil.

The cleaner, the exhaust pipe
looks, the better!

Black and sooty reveals a poor
burn, resulting in poor gas
mileage and poor performance.

This may the only thing you
need to see, before walking
away from the sale.

Black dirty looking exhaust
pipes usually indicates worn
piston rings, damaged valves
or worn valve stems, a costly
repair item!

If the exhaust pipe test checks
out, then follow up with
these other tests.

Check the outer surface of
the exhaust pipes and muffler,
visually inspect for rust
and holes.


Tire wear can tell you a lot,
are they wearing evenly across
the tire?

Rough driving and rough roads
can cause front end damage
which may or may not
be able to be corrected with
an alignment.


First do a visual inspection,
there should not be any oil
on the outside of the shock.

Try rocking the car back and
forth above each tire, one
at a time. The car should
quickly stop bouncing. If the
car continues to bounce
after you let up, the shocks
may need replacing.

Steering Wheel Play

Try turning the steering wheel
left, then right while watching
the front wheel on the drivers
side. If there is excessive motion
in the steering wheel, before the
wheels starts to move, it could
be an indication of worn tire
rod ends. Worn tie rod ends
cause vehicles to wander on
the road.

Check for Wear

Have a good look at the wear
of the steering wheel and the
rubber on the brake, clutch,
and gas pedal. If the speedometer
says 80,000 kilometers and
the wear to the rest of the
vehicle, indicates otherwise,
the odometer may have been
disconnected for a time at
some time.

Finally yet importantly if possible
take the vehicle for a road test.
listen for scraps, knocks etc., no
sound is best, sounds may lead
to where a problem exists.

Try the brakes, hand brake,
turning signal, windshield
wipers, lights and horn.

Take the vehicle down a long
hill, ldrop to a lower gear and
coast to the bottom of the hill,

At the bottom of the hill step
on the gas pedal hard, a blue
cloud behind you indicates
worn rings, cylinders and
valve guides.

Drive the vehicle for at least
30 minutes.

Drive on roads that you use
most often, check for
uncomfortable seats, poor
visibility, and over stiff

Now is the time to detect
any problem, not after you
have paid for it.

By locating any of these
problems, you will be able
to bring it to the attention
of the seller.

You might be able to get
them to lower the price in
order to have the necessary
repairs done.

On the other hand you may
avoid a major headache.

Odometer Reading

Be aware that the odometer
may not be the mileage.

Odometer fraud is more
common than you may

The mileage can be turned
back either mechanically or
by using computer software.

Compare the vehicle mileage
with maintenance records.

Request a history of the vehicle,
this will coincide with the
vehicle VIN number.

If the odometer is mechanical,
all the numbers should be
in a straight line.

Compare the wear of the
vehicle to the odometer

Winter Tires Information

The term snow tire has changed
over the years.

Todays technology has created
snow tires that are quite
different in design and material
from tires of the past.

Years ago the same summer tires
compound was used to make
winter tires, only the tread design
was changed to a more aggressive
tread, for winter conditions.

In the 1980s Bridgestone
introduced a line of tires called
Blizzak tires. These winter tires,
looked like normal snow tires,
but the tread had slits across
the tread blocks.

The tread block is designed with
jagged edges to grip snow, slush,
and ice.

On icy roads a thin layer of water
is produced when pressure is
added from the weight of vehicles
passing over the packed snow.
The water quickly freezes to
produce ice.

Normal all year seasonal tires do
not cope well on ice. The rubber
is very hard and the colder it gets
outside, the harder the rubber

True winter tires are composed of
a softer type of rubber that
stays softer even as the
temperature drops.

All-season tires start to harden
at 7 degree Celsius, while true
winter tires remain flexible to
-30 temperatures.

In the process of manufacturing
winter tires, tiny channels are
built into the tread, called sipes,
this provides a place for water
to go.
The tire then ends up with a dry
tread surface that can grip the
ice better.

There is a drawback to driving
with soft winter tires, the softer
rubber wears rapidly.

The solution is to only use winter
tires in the winter and change
back to summer tires in the spring.

Store the winter tires in a dry
place out of sunlight.

There are two ways to go when
changing back and forth
between summer and winter tires.

You can have the summer tires
removed from the rims each
year and the stored winter tires
placed on the rims each year.

There is a fee, plus balancing
costs for removing the tires.
each year.

The action of changing tires
off the rim each year tends
to damage the tire and
aluminum rims somewhat.

The other option is to purchase
a set of steel rims, have the
winter tires placed of the rims,
ready for use each year.

There is no need to rebalance
the tires each year, and only
an exchange of tires with rims is


True winter tires have a small
snowflake picture embedded
into the side of the tire rubber.

Insurance Rates to Consider.

Credit score:
People with poor credit scores
pay more for car insurance.

Driving record:
Speeding tickets and multiple
accidents raise car insurance

High crime rates boost car

Gender and age
Young drivers car insurance
rates are higher, especially
young males.

Vehicle you drive:
Expensive vehicle are associated
with higher insurance rates.

Repair costs:
Expensive materials used in
the vehicle can add to the
cost of repairs, and
insurance rates.

Claim rates:
Vehicles that have a high claim
rate can have higher
insurance rates.


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