It’s easy to lose your head when your heart has fallen for the car of your dreams. Sometimes, in the first flushes of love, our sense of judgment goes out of the (faulty) window. Rash decisions are made and before you know it you’re lumbered with a car that doesn’t give you nearly as much pleasure as your first few whirlwind spins suggested it might. Sometimes, a little voice in your ear is needed to keep you on the right side of the road. Well, we are that voice and here are our 5 IDEAL questions you should be asking before buying your next car.

Does the car have a clean history?

First things first, it’s vital to do a vehicle check and look at the car’s history. Once upon a time, this would mean thumbing through documents of biblical depth and questionable authority, but now websites exist on which you can carry out a super-quick search. If there’s a sense of a rushed attempt at sale, or a price surprisingly low, then the car may have been stolen. Websites like www.mycarcheck.com is a good place to check the cars history.  They can also tell you if the car has been in a crash recently, or worse, written off. If so, it’s time to back away, money safely in your back pocket.

How is the tread on the tyres and is the spare, as well as tools, all present and correct?

Legally, 1.6mm of tread is needed and many used cars on the market don’t meet this criteria. A simple kick and a serious look on your face isn’t a thorough enough assessment when making such a big purchase. Ask the seller to do the legwork so you’re not on your hands and knees with a tape measure looking the fool. Also of importance, the spare tyre and all tools usually found in the boot should be present, correct and ship shape. Missing items is not only bad at face value, it is also suggestive of other discrepancies in the car’s maintenance and treatment.

Is the mileage consistent with the wear and tear?

Should there be any obvious visual cues that the low mileage isn’t appropriate to the state of the car, there’s a chance the car has been clocked – that is, the mileage has been deliberately wound back. This is unscrupulous and dangerous, and if the visual signs are there, you should be asking further questions. Again, there are websites with registration checkers just a click away that can settle any doubts you might have.

Are all locks, windows and AC in good working order?

It may surprise you just how many people give a car the-once-over without actually putting the key into the ignition. It’s essential that you check that all locks are working in tandem and that, if applicable, central locking is fully functioning. This goes for the windows and A.C too. So before buying the car of your dreams like one of the many from hire-brid, make sure these all work. Otherwise someone else may be driving of with your dream wheels.

Does it drive off into the sunset?

After all the rhetorical and genuine questions you’ve asked, it’s time to take this baby for a test drive. There really is no better test of compatibility than hitting the open road with your new potential life partner. During the first spin, there are a number of things you should pay particular attention to. Straight off the mark, the temperature gauge, clutch and transmission should be monitored. Bear in mind you shouldn’t just be using your eyes to check; listen, too. Any issues with the engine will be most apparent via the sound its making.

 

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Rachel is the beauty and fashion director at IDEAL. She loves trying new products and is an avid fan of London's fashion, from the high end to the high street.