How not to buy a dud second hand car.

‘Don’t make me laugh. You two women going to look at a second hand car, what a joke!’ said my husband at 9.20am Bank Holiday Monday last.

Okay he didn’t quite say that, but his face did, when I told him my daughter and I were going to look at a second hand car for her later that day. I was furious at his sexist thinking, so by 9.30 it was all pictures no sound in our house, after I had told him I knew plenty about cars and his track record wasn’t all that great anyway.

Thankfully my daughter has learned better than myself in her twenty four years, how to ‘manage’ her dad and so the following day she had changed his mind and we were off to see a prospective car. The difficulty was that the car was a private sale, so a bit of a gamble, but we had agreed that we would bring it to a local mechanic before buying. What could go wrong?

On arrival to the housing estate we saw the seller sitting in the car. Laughing we wondered if he even lived there.
Warning number 1. Do not buy a car from someone sitting waiting outside a house for you to arrive.

Not to be put off we said hello. The seller was a man in his late twenties who looked very respectable and was softly spoken. I asked him how long he had the car and he told us three months.
Warning number 2. Do not buy a car off someone who only just bought it themselves.

He told us he’d a van and couldn’t afford to run both.
Warning number 3. Do not buy a car off someone who says they have a van but you can’t see it.

He said he’d just had the car serviced.
Warning number 4. Do not buy a car off someone who serviced it just before selling.

He handed us the key and went to great lengths to show us it opened the doors and the boot.
Warning number 5. Do not buy a car off someone who believes one of its best selling points is that the key opens it.

Not to be put off we said we’d take it for a run and explained we were calling to a local mechanic so off we drove. The garage was less than a mile away but within a short distance I could hear the unmistakable noise of a Jumbo jet following us. As we were nowhere near an airport we were fairly sure it was the car.
Warning number 6. Do not buy a car that thinks it’s an airplane.

Arriving at the garage we parked across the road and introduced ourselves to the mechanic. He was most friendly and intrigued when we spoke of the loud noise we had heard. He told us to drive it in and he’d check it out for us.

So out we went. My daughter waited outside as I got in to drive, but the car wouldn’t start! I tried it three or four times before looking out the window and saying to my daughter,

‘I know some people think we don’t know about cars, but I’m fairly sure this is not a good sign’.photo credit: <a href="">Lambrecht Chevrolet Field</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

The battery was dead. (That is why he was sitting in it when we arrived, keeping the engine running hoping the battery would charge)
Warning number 7. Do not buy a car that wont start.

So our lovely mechanic charged the car battery for us, we texted the owner to explain we were a little delayed due to the car breaking down! Eventually we managed to reunite the wanabe airplane with it’s owner and explained to him that perhaps it was not the car for us.

Later when my OH asked how we got on we explained,
‘We decided not to buy it. We didn’t really like the colour. We were most disappointed that there was no air freshener in it, oh and it broke down outside the garage!’

I think we did a great job and hopefully with our top tips you too can avoid buying a dud car.

photo credit: The New Car 3 of 4 via photopin (license)
photo credit: Lambrecht Chevrolet Field via photopin (license)


29 thoughts on “How not to buy a dud second hand car.

  1. So, so true. And nor should you buy a car off a guy if his sister tells you not to! Sadly I did and three months later the gear stick came out of its socket in the fast lane of the A127…

  2. Must admit, that number 5 thing about the key was pretty impressive. Bet you couldn’t believe your luck when it also had four wheels and an engine. That would have clinched it for me.

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