Buying a used car? The pitfalls you definitely want to avoid

Buying a used car can often be quite an adventure. You want a reliable car, but you also want a fair price. One golden rule is that if an offer for a used car seems too good to be true, it usually is. But what should you be looking for when inspecting a car? This crash course will take you a long way.

Check under the hood

Of course, you should pay attention to the condition of the tires, windshield wipers, bodywork, and windows (check for small cracks!), but above all, take a look under the hood. You don't have to be an car mechanic to check whether important things are in order.

• Coolant. Check if the reservoir is filled correctly, up to the marking line. Too little fluid can indicate a leak (also check the hoses, but only when the engine is cold). Coolant helps to dissipate the heat from the engine.

• Oil level. Too little oil may indicate that the car has not been properly maintained. Ask the owner to show you the oil level. The car must be level and the engine must be off for at least 10 minutes. The oil should be between the two markers on the dipstick. It's also always a good idea to be able to inspect the maintenance book or see if the oil change has been done according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

• Engine. Start the engine "cold." If you hear strange noises or hesitations, this could indicate a problem. If you see blue or black smoke, there is definitely something wrong. This means that the fuel is not burning properly or that the engine oil is burning. There may be a problem with the injection system. This must be resolved because it can damage the engine.

• Fuel filter. This component is important because the filter protects the fuel system from harmful dirt. A filter prevents dirt from getting into the fuel and causing damage. Replacing it on time is necessary to protect the injectors. So be sure to ask when the filter was last replaced.

• Leaking oil. An oil stain under the car is never a good sign. But you can also see if there is an oil leak under the hood. Oil loss leads to insufficient lubrication and prevents the engine from dissipating heat. Sometimes the leak is due to a worn gasket or seal. You can check this by looking at the valve cover. Do you see lubricant stains around the area where it meets the cylinder head? Then the seal or gasket is porous and needs to be replaced.

Valve cover

If you buy a well-maintained car, you will enjoy it for longer. If you want to professionally maintain your car yourself, check here which products are suitable for you.