How to Check Used Car before Buying in Pakistan

Buying a used car might be a very tricky task for many of you because you have to look out for several aspects to keep yourself safe from risks. As the car you are going to buy might already have some hidden costly repair and maintenance requirements or it might have an issue with its registration, documents or due taxes. So it is always a good practice to ask for help and assistance from any of your trusted friend or relative who has enough know how about cars and must have experience of sale and purchase of used cars. He will be very helpful while searching for a suitable used vehicle, checking it physically, checking documents and lastly for negotiating and making a fair deal. You may also hire an experienced mechanic from the nearby workshop to check the pros and cons of the vehicle for you. It may cost you some hundred rupees but believe me it will prove its worth. But you should also have some basic level knowledge of all this. You may visit one of my old post about tips for buying a used car, where I have enlisted a number of very useful tips to keep in mind while buying a used car.
How to Check Used Car before Buying in Pakistan

Careful inspection of all the used vehicles is necessary but for cars older than 10 years, it is utmost essential. In this post, I will discuss only checking the used car physically before buying it. I have categorized this whole process of physical inspection of used cars in the following 10 sections. You may use this as vehicle inspection checklist, Keep a print of this page with you when going to check any used vehicle, tick mark on these points as you check any of these.

Body and Frame Inspection

  • Check for any scratches, dents, corrosion or welds on the car body e.g. doors, bonnet, roof etc). 
  • Check the front area of the car frame under the bonnet for any damage. As if it is damaged it shows a major accident. 
  • Check pillars for any sign of an accident.
  • Check floor from the downside of the vehicle.
  • Check fuel tank for any leakage or corrosion.
  • Check the fitting of doors and bonnet.

How to check Repaint aka Denting Painting of Cars

  • Check for smoothness in paint finish during sunlight. Waves, bubbles and ripples are indications of a repaint.
  • Use a magnet to identify repair work on the car body. A magnet will not fully stick to that part of the body where repair work has been done by filling poutine. By knocking with a finger, you will hear a different sound from the parts which have been repaired.
  • Check rubber and plastic parts of the body for any leftover spray mark ion these.
  • Painters usually don't give much attention to edges and corners so you should carefully check these portions.
  • Please remember that denting and painting work is not found only on older cars but sometimes I have seen denting and painting work on the latest model cars. In such cases, it will cost the buyer a fortune to buy a new model but an accidental car as it will give the buyer a lot of loss.

Engine Inspection

  • Engine and other parts under the bonnet should be clean but never get impressed by a shiny engine look. Normally sellers get the car serviced before selling it.
  • Check for any oil leakage from the engine.
  • Carefully inspect exhaust smoke; if its color is blue, it is burning engine oil and if its color is black it indicates excessive fuel consumption.
  • Engine sound should be good and clear enough.
  • Check for engine vibration carefully.
  • Check engine mounts.

Interior Inspection

  • Inspect dashboard, seat covers, steering wheel, roof poshish, floor mat and door poshish/ panels.
  • Inspect rubber seals of windows and windshield etc.
  • Check meters and dashboard warning/ information lights.

Check AC and Heater

  • Check working of AC, Heater and Fan Blower.
  • Check the condition of condenser and compressor visually.

Check Transmission, Brakes, Radiator

  • Check for any leakage of transmission and brake fluids.
  • Check radiator condition.
  • Check brakes working during the test drive.

Check Mechanically

  • Check the suspension of the vehicle.
  • Check the shocks by pressing on the top of the body with the push of your hands and leaving
  • Check fan and AC belts.
  • Check that all doors are opening and closing properly without any looseness.
  • Check suspension and steering.
  • Check seat adjuster and recliner.
  • Check bonnet, fuel lid and boot release levers.

Tires and Rims Inspection

  • Inspect tires condition; treads and side walls.
  • Look at the tyre stamp to know how old are these.
  • Check rims (if installed).

Check Lights, Indicators, Audio, LCD, Cameras and Electrical Wiring

  • Operate and check headlights (on high and low beam), fog lights, indicators, brake light and interior light.
  • Check audio system, LCD, front and back cameras.
  • Check battery and it's terminal; condition.
  • Check horn.
  • Check wiring condition.
  • Check security alarm.

Minor Inspections

  • Check by operating wipers, windscreen washer, defogger, automatic windows and mirrors.
  • Check whether all buttons of the remote are working properly.
  • Check availability of jack and tools set.
  • Check front and rear windscreen condition.

Test Drive

Last but not least, turn ON the engine and have a test drive preferably on a rough road at an allowable high speed. Most vehicles don't show any sound on carpeted roads but when you drive it on a rough road or off road they proved to be junk. So drive it and listen for any abnormal sound from any part of the vehicle. Also, keep an eye on the temperature gauge while test drive.

Check Vehicle Documents Online

A Qualified Auto Mechanic

All of the above vehicle inspection points are just for help. And if you want a complete inspection, you should get it checked by an experienced and qualified auto mechanic. For computerized cars, and for the engine, electrical and electronics equipment you should get it checked by an auto mechanic.

Extra Tip

Don't only rely on the odometer for the overall mileage a car has run. Instead look at the condition of gear knob, steering wheel and foot paddles. Shaved condition of the gear knob and steering wheel will show the whole story. If gear knob, steering wheel, foot paddles and other knobs are in a bad and deteriorated, it means that this vehicle has spent enough time on the road.

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