Your easy DIY guide to spotting the best high quality used cars on the market


Your easy DIY guide to spotting the best high quality used cars on the market

Buying a used vehicle can yield some substantial cost savings compared to buying new, provided of course the car is in good cosmetic and mechanical condition.

Although it's likely that individuals more experienced with cars typically have an advantage in recognising warning signs, there remains a possibility that they might miss an important clue.

We’ve compiled an easy-to-follow list of items to be on the lookout for when shortlisting your next used car since it’s crucial to be aware of potential issues or even inaccuracies from what was described or advertised by the seller. Let's explore the key Do-It-Yourself inspections for your next used car hunt.

Exterior Red Flags

Naturally, the car’s exterior is the first point of contact with the car. First impressions do count for a lot so it’s prudent to examine the general condition first and how much it differs from how it looked when brand new (an internet search or two might help to build up a reference).

Pay attention to the paint quality, looking for excessive swirling, colour mismatch, clear coat failure, or in the case of rubber or vinyl trim, tired or faded material. And the same goes for the car’s headlights enclosures. Cloudy (more opaque) or yellowed enclosures indicate  a car that had prolonged exposure to direct sun. They need to be clear for light to be sharply projected onto the road.

All this might indicate a less than careful owner and a poor maintenance habit that could spell deeper issues. Elsewhere, though it doesn’t necessarily mean a serious accident, multiple uneven panel gaps could point to a shoddy repair.

Wheels and Tyres

While we’re still on the exterior, take a look at the car’s tyres. Keep an eye out for wheels fitted with tyres from different brands and, worse, tyres from brands unknown (or less reputable) manufacturers - another indicator of a frugal maintenance habit.

Another primary concern is the age of the tyres. Prioritise checking the manufacturing year indication to verify if all four tyres were produced in the same year, indicating whether they were recently replaced and replaced together.

Also look for scuffs on the alloy wheel itself. ‘Curb rash’ on the outer perimeter suggests an owner that wasn’t very careful while behind the wheel.

Engine Bay And Starting Up

Next, it’s time to ‘Pop The Hood’. With the bonnet open and the engine (hopefully) in full view, check for general cleanliness and that all the fluids are at their appropriate levels.

Take a look at the 12V battery connections for possible corrosion and keep a sharp eye for any signs of rust that could betray the car’s water damage, especially in more recessed areas. Flash floods are a fairly common, seasonal, occurrence in Malaysia, so it’s important to stay away from cars that have this potentially catastrophic damage marker.

If possible, it’s also worth starting the car up and listening for any odd noises. Hopefully the car runs smoothly, even if only at a standstill.

Interior And Test Drive

For a lot of used cars, a clean and well kept interior is the surest way to determine its true condition as the defects and wear incurred within the cabin isn’t as easy to fix or obscure.

Be on the lookout for interior plastics that arediscoloured, faded or cracked. These are tell-tale signs that the car has spent an excessive amount of time in direct sun. Also observe the car’s upholstery condition and signs of friction along the driver’s side seat bolstering, an indication of the car taking many short journeys.

While finding wear and tear is inevitable, it’s important to weigh its extent against the car’s age, use context, and condition as described.

The same tell-tale signs of flood damage can be visible along the metal seat adjustment rails and mounts, so don’t forget to look in the nooks and crannies.

That said, the real litmus test for a car’s condition is the test drive as most issues will make themselves known here, particularly pertaining to the engine, transmission, and suspension. Take note of anything unusual and don’t be shy about bringing up your observations with the seller.

Choose peace of mind with CARSOME Certified cars

At the end of the day, even if you’ve been thorough in your pre-purchase DIY inspection, there’s always the chance that a certain problem with a used car doesn’t become obvious until you’re well on your ownership journey.

Depending on the whims of fate, fixing these issues may end up costing you a bomb and without a car while it sits in the workshop. So, why not take the guesswork and anxiety out of the equation with CARSOME Certified, where each car is put through a stringent 175-point inspection that covers the exterior, interior, underbody, and road test to rule out major accidents and flood damage.

CARSOME Certified assures top-tier used cars by subjecting vehicles to a rigorous 175-point inspection that scrutinises their exterior, interior, underbody, and performance on the road, effectively eliminating any potential major accidents or flood damage. They then undergo professional refurbishment to ensure the cars offer optimum functionality, reliable safety, and rejuvenated aesthetics.

On top of that, CARSOME Certified cars are backed by a 1-year warranty as standard as well as a 5-day return policy should you change your mind, no questions asked.

If that wasn’t enough, CARSOME are offering additional promotions for the month of December 2023, offering buyers of Certified cars an extended 1+1 year warranty, a complementary set of TRAPO floor mats, and up to RM1,500 in rebates when you trade-in!