5 Things To Do After Buying a Used Car
There are many reasons to buy a used car, most of all to save thousands. With just a few steps taken when you have just gotten your “brand new old” car, you will have a sturdy machine that you can rely on:
1. Get it licensed and properly insured.
Depending on the transaction procedure for used cars where you come from, the first thing to do after you buy the car is to have it licensed and insured so that it is legal to drive the car on the road.
Where Automology hails from (Malaysia), the road tax paid for the vehicle is still valid until the stipulated expiry date, even after the transfer of ownership; the vehicle’s insurance, on the other hand, is attached to the owner’s name, so you’ll have to purchase a new policy.
2. Get it inspected by a trusted mechanic.
While it is ideal to do this before buying the vehicle, if you couldn’t drag along a skilled mechanic to check the car before purchasing it, do it immediately after. Have all major systems—ie. transmission, suspension, engine, brakes, etc.—inspected and any repair or maintenance work identified. Find out are what your rights—in your neck of the woods—if you discover a pre-existing defect that was not disclosed to you by the seller.
Fortunately for us, our Malaysian law requires all vehicles to undergo an inspection at a PUSPAKOM (a sort of national vehicle inspection company) centre before transfer of ownership is allowed. Still, if you have a trusted mechanic (always built a relationship with your car doctor), it’s good practice to let him conduct a thorough inspection of the cars that you are thinking of buying. (Pay him for his time, of course.)
3. Change all filters and fluids, and some parts.
It’s unlikely that you will get your car’s (actual) service history, so it is best to assume the worst maintenance and driving habit of the previous owner(s). There are the oil, engine air, cabin air and fuel filters; coolant, transmission, brake and power steering fluids; maybe even the worn-out windshield wipers, spark plugs and coils, tyres, and timing and serpentine belts. So, at this point you are thinking: “If I had money for all that, I’d have bought myself a brand new car.”
Ok. Point taken.
And this is why it is important to build a relationship with your mechanic so that he can advise you which, after the initial inspection, to prioritise.
4. Clean it thoroughly, inside out.
While the car is at the workshop getting its fluids changed, use an engine flush to remove gum, grit, varnish and other combustion by-products. This build-up occurs even in engines that have had regular oil changes, and even more so in those which haven’t. Of course, we recommend the Engine Flush product by our sponsor X-1R, which can even flush out microscopic metal particles, and leave behind a preventative and protective layer.
Read about it on X-1R’s website: A Cleansing Flush!
And of course, you wouldn’t want to breathe in/sit on/touch the former owner(s) dead skin and snot, which have likely formed an invisible layer on the interior of the vehicle, clean as it may look. Give the vehicle a fresh, clean start to its second life by giving it a thorough wash, vacuum, wax and polish. Maybe even have it professionally steam-cleaned to remove stubborn stains, kill all those nasty germs and eliminate other nastier stuff (especially in the back seat…EEEWWW).
5) Drive it to know it.
It’s time to take your new old baby on the road!
We assume that you had test-driven the car before buying it, but some issues do not come to light until after you have driven it for a while. Be alert towards strange sounds, excessive exhaust smoke when you start the car or accelerate (by looking at your rearview mirror), unusually strong vibrations, etc. It’s time to learn to learn your car’s new quirks and what it needs. Even used cars can serve you for a long time, with a good preventative and maintenance habit.
Read how to do that from the guy who has driven his car for over 3 million miles: