How To Avoid Purchasing a Used Car With an Odometer Rollback

Purchasing a used vehicle is an excellent way to save money. A used car, on the other hand, may contain hidden dangers. Most people believe that a vehicle’s odometer will show every kilometre it has ever travelled; however, this isn’t always the case.

When purchasing a used car, one of the most important value factors to consider is the odometer reading. As a general rule, a car with fewer kilometres has a potentially longer lifespan than a car with more kilometres. Australians now drive an average of 19200 kilometres per year. So, a used car with “average mileage” that is about five years old has been driven approximately 96000 km.

We have been in the automotive industry since 1984, ranging from apprentice to master technician, workshop foreman, controller, service advisor and service manager, in numerous premium vehicle businesses. We have built a level of loyalty that in the 21st Century is vital. After all, customer service and care is a point of difference.

We hope we are able to help you out with your needs. Our business is also known as Prepurchase Check.


 

Advantages of low-mileage used cars

In theory, the lower the odometer reading, the longer the engine and most vehicle components should last. When the car’s odometer reaches six figures, oil leaks may begin to appear, as well as the eventual wear out of some critical and expensive parts, such as the timing belt.

Low km cars are generally more appealing to buyers because there is perceived value in an older car with lower than average km’s, implying an easier resell with more interested buyers.

While scheduled maintenance can be costly, general ongoing repairs and maintenance costs can be lower in vehicles that have less wear and tear due to extensive use. This is probably the most significant advantage of purchasing a low-kilometre used car. Nothing is worse than having a car that requires expensive repair after expensive repair due to heavy use over its lifetime.

How can I tell if the odometer on a vehicle has been wound back?

A physical inspection alone can make it difficult to determine whether a vehicle’s odometer has been tampered with. There are, however, some checks you can perform:

– Check to see if the vehicle has its original parts, such as tyres and brakes, if it has very low mileage.
– Examine the overall condition of the vehicle, including wear and tear on the accelerator and brake pedals.
– Compare the vehicle’s odometer reading to any inspection or maintenance records available to the current owner.
– Check the original export/deregistration certificate or obtain a copy from a third party if you’re buying an imported vehicle from Japan.
– Look for crooked, widely spaced, or misaligned numbers on the odometer.
– Check that all of the screws are the same size and that the dashboard has not been removed or replaced.
– Carry out a CARHISTORY or at least Google search on the registration/VIN and see it shows up with varying km or prior sales/auction history with greater km recorded.

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The image above indicates that the car’s odometer show 181758km in March 2018

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But in 3,5 years later, in October 2021, the odometer show 160861km.

 

After you’ve completed a physical appraisal of the vehicle of interest, have it inspected by a licensed motor vehicle mechanic.

Examine the distance travelled

A car typically travels 15,000 kilometres per year over the course of its life. Many people sell their car when it is six years old because buyers are often put off by purchasing a vehicle that has travelled more than 100,000 kilometres since new.

So, if the car is seven years old but the odometer shows less than 50000 kilometres, that should raise red flags. That’s about 7000km per year, which is on the low end of the likely range. You should ask the buyer why the odometer reading is so low after all that time. For a variety of reasons, the buyer’s explanation could be perfectly reasonable. Perhaps the car has only ever been driven to the next suburb for shopping, school, or work.

Examine the vehicle’s logbook

Examine the dates and odometer readings for each service. The logbook could have been tampered with. Look for dates that appear to have been overwritten or kilometres with digits that appear to have been erased. Check to make sure
the VIN in the service book looks legitimate and matches the car. Work your way through the list of scheduled services, calculating whether they’re about a year apart on average, and checking the odometer reading on each occasion. If the car only travels 7000km or some other low number between services, it is most likely a genuine low-kilometre vehicle. Check to make sure there are no pages missing.

 

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The images above indicate that there were 2 pages missing, pages 19 and 20.

Typically, service technicians will place a reminder sticker on the top of the windshield to remind the driver when the next service is due. It’s also worth double-checking that this corresponds to the logbook.

Examine the wear and tear

If the vehicle is older but hasn’t travelled far, unusual wear and tear could be a sign that the odometer has been rolled back. Because you’re inspecting other vehicles of the same type, you’ll quickly get a sense of what’s normal wear and tear – the seating, for example, seat belts, carpets, the steering wheel, and frequently used buttons.

The condition of a used car

A used car with 20000 km that has been driven on rough roads will be very different from a used car with 20000 km that has been driven on good city roads. A car’s geographical location can also have an impact on its condition. Potential used car buyers should look for the following features:

– Steering and braking
– Engine and transmission
– Rust indications
– Emissions
– Suspension
– Leaks of oil and other substances
– Acceleration power and pick-up
– Air filters, valves, and so on.

Obtain a vehicle history report as well as an inspection

If the car you want to buy appears to have had a rough life, and the owner doesn’t have a credible explanation for the unusually low odometer reading. Having a mechanic inspect the vehicle through a company will also likely reveal any flaws.

Having a certified mechanic inspect the vehicle will help to reduce the risk of purchasing a car with an odometer that has been rollback. You can also help to ensure that your future vehicle does not have any hidden issues by researching its reported history.

If you are looking for the best pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne, do not hesitate to contact German Precision or Prepurchase Check today!

Source: carhistory.com.au, help.carsales.com.au and mrwheels.com.au

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How to Inspect the Engine When Purchasing a Used Car

The condition of the engine is critical when purchasing a used car because engine problems are costly to repair. Because it is difficult to evaluate the mechanical condition of the engine during a quick test drive, we recommend having a used car thoroughly inspected by a qualified mechanic before signing the contract. Here are some pointers to look for when inspecting a used car for signs of engine problems or a lack of maintenance.It is difficult to assess the mechanical condition of the engine during a quick test drive, which is why we recommend having a used car thoroughly inspected by a qualified mechanic before signing a contract.

We have been in the automotive industry since 1984, ranging from apprentice to master technician, workshop foreman, controller, service advisor and service manager, in numerous premium vehicle businesses. We have built a level of loyalty that in the 21st Century is vital. After all, customer service and care is a point of difference.

We hope we are able to help you out with your needs. Our business is also known as Prepurchase Check.


Here are some pointers to look for when inspecting a used car for signs of engine problems or a lack of maintenance.

Examine service records

Although service records are not always available, it is helpful if the dealer or person selling the car can provide proof that the vehicle has been maintained on a regular basis. Look for oil changes and mileage records if you have access to the service records. It’s a plus if you can prove that oil changes were performed on a regular basis. Oil change intervals range from 5000km to 30000km depending on the manufacturer, but may also be based on time, 6 monthly or yearly, irrespective of km travelled.If the vehicle has been driven for a long period of time without an oil change, the engine may be worn on the inside. It’s also a good idea to know if the timing belt (if the car has one) has been changed, as well as what other maintenance has been performed.

Examine what’s under the Bonnet

Before you start looking under the bonnet, make sure the engine is turned off, the transmission is in “Park,” and the parking brake is engaged. Leaks, the smell of burnt oil or antifreeze, signs of poor quality repairs or lack of maintenance, and ‘racing’ modifications are all things to look for. Before showing a used car to a potential buyer, dealers frequently clean the engine bay. This means that just because everything is clean and shiny doesn’t mean the engine is in good shape. Let’s look at some examples:

Burnt oil smell under the bonnet

Repairing oil leaks isn’t always inexpensive. As the mileage increases, the piston rings and cylinders wear out, allowing more blow-by gases to enter the crankcase. This raises the pressure within the crankcase. As a result, the oil is forced out via various seals and gaskets, as well as the PCV (crankcase ventilation) system. This problem is more common in turbocharged engines. A well-maintained engine is unlikely to have any leaks.

Visible oil leaks

Oil leaks may not be visible from beneath the bonnet, but here’s a tip: look from beneath. Use your phone to take a photo or video. Examine the engine and transmission’s lower parts. Everything must be completely dry.

Leaks of coolant and other fluids

If a vehicle runs perfectly, but there is a coolant leak from the radiator, then this vehicle requires a new radiator at the very least. But a cracked radiator can be a sign of more serious issues. It is best to avoid buying used cars with this type of problem.

Low oil level, contaminated oil

Checking the oil condition on the dipstick can reveal a lot. The engine must be turned off in order to check the oil. Set the parking brake, but be cautious because some engine parts may be hot. The owner’s manual in the car contains instructions for checking the engine oil. If the oil level is low, it indicates that the engine is consuming oil or that it has been a long time since the last oil change. When the engine’s oil supply is depleted, it wears out faster.

Check under the oil cap while the engine is turned off

Remove the oil filler cap while the parking brake is applied and the engine is turned off. Take care, it may be hot; use a towel or rag. Examine it with a flashlight. Some engines have visible internal components. If you aren’t sure about performing this test, it is best to hand it over to your mechanic.

Keep an eye out for performance mods

If a vehicle has been modified for performance, proceed with caution. Modifications, when done correctly, can improve the performance of a vehicle. Poorly done engine mods, on the other hand, can cause a slew of issues, especially if parts that were originally on the vehicle are no longer available. If the vehicle has been modified, it has most likely been raced or otherwise abused.

Is there a timing belt on the engine?

Some vehicles use a timing chain rather than a timing belt. Timing belts in most cars need to be replaced between 90000km and 18000km, but also sometimes time factors come in and maybe 4-8years irrespective of km. A timing belt replacement costs between $800 -$1800 in a 4-cylinder engine and $2000 to $3500 or more in a 6 cylinder engine. If the car you want to buy has a timing belt, find out if it has been replaced. When a timing belt is replaced, some mechanics apply a sticker to the engine. A timing belt is hidden under the covers and cannot be seen under the bonnet. Your mechanic will need to remove one or two covers to inspect its condition, which is not always easy. Checking the service records to see if a timing belt has been replaced is a more realistic option.

Many hidden problems can be revealed by a cold start

Starting the engine cold is the best way to detect hidden engine problems. It might be a good idea to arrive at the dealer a little earlier than your appointment time to accomplish this. You will also know if the battery is in good condition, because if the battery is old, it may need to be boosted in order for the car to start. When starting the engine, keep an eye out for engine noises and smoke. Look for another vehicle if the engine rattles or makes other loud noises, or if there is blue smoke coming from the exhaust. The blue-grey smoke from the exhaust of the car in the photo, for example, was visible. It also smelled like burning oil. Blue smoke indicates that the engine is burning oil.

Test drive

When you start the car, all of the warning lights on the dashboard should turn off. If the engine symbol (Check Engine) light or Service Engine Soon light remains illuminated, the engine computer has detected a fault.It could be a minor issue, but it could also be a costly one. There is no way to know how serious the problem is unless the vehicle is properly diagnosed.

During the test drive, keep an eye out for engine noises, vibration, a lack of power, or any other issues with driveability. When the engine is started, it should run smoothly, with no shaking or hesitation. There is a problem if you notice the engine hesitating or stumbling when accelerating. Idle speed should also be consistent. Test drive the vehicle for as long as possible; problems may not be apparent after a quick drive around the block. It is advantageous to be able to test drive in all modes: acceleration, deceleration, stop-and-go traffic, and highway cruising.

Keep an eye out for the engine temperature displayed on the dash. After the engine has warmed up, the temperature gauge should remain in the middle of the scale.
Even if everything appears to be in order, we strongly advise having the used car thoroughly inspected by an independent mechanic before purchasing.

If you are looking for the best pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne, do not hesitate to contact German Precision or Prepurchase Check today!

Source: samarins.com

 

The Checklist You Need When Inspecting Used Cars

When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, a Used Car Inspection Checklist is an excellent choice. To avoid purchasing a used car that will leave you stranded, we recommend thoroughly inspecting it on your own and/or requesting a professional used car inspection.

Follow these 9 steps to ensure you cover all of your bases and find a vehicle that is worth your money.

When Conducting a Used Car Inspection, Use These steps to check a car.

We have been in the automotive industry since 1984, ranging from apprentice to master technician, workshop foreman, controller, service advisor and service manager, in numerous premium vehicle businesses. We have built a level of loyalty that in the 21st Century is vital. After all, customer service and care is a point of difference.

We hope we are able to help you out with your needs. Our business is also known as Prepurchase Check.


1. Examine the mileage

According to available data, most people drive a car 15000km per year on average. Any more than that will result in the vehicle having higher-than-average mileage for its model year and should warrant a discount compared to its less-driven peers. REDBOOK and CARSALES are two resources you can use to determine the market value of a used vehicle.

2. Examine the vehicle’s history report

Examine the vehicle’s history to see if there has been any previous damage. The seller may have the history report available for viewing. If not, you can purchase and download it online or request it from an inspection company.

The report is a good place to start, but sometimes it only includes information that has been reported. Previous owners may not have reported certain maintenance or claims/damages made to the vehicle. Through our vehicle inspection process, we have additional methods of learning about the car’s current condition.

3. Check for rust and discolouration of the paint

A close examination of the paint job can reveal information about the past. The Colour and quality uniformity of panels should be compared. If the colour or condition of the panels does not match, the vehicle was most likely involved in an accident and some panels were replaced.

Rust – If you notice rust on the vehicle’s bodywork, it could be an aesthetic issue, but it could also indicate deeper issues that are costly to repair. Frame rust, for example, can compromise the vehicle’s integrity and shorten its lifespan. If you notice rust on the vehicle’s body, look under the bonnet and undercarriage for more evidence.

4. Tyre Inspection – Look for signs of wear

A coin tread depth test is a quick way to check the tread on a tyre. Insert a coin into the tread and inspect it – repeat for each tyre. Please don’t forget to bring a spare. If the grip wears out, the tyres may need to be replaced soon, at an additional cost to you. If the tyre wear is uneven, there could be an alignment problem.

5. Undercarriage & leaks on the ground

While you’re looking at the tyres, check the ground and undercarriage for any signs of leakage. Leak repairs can be costly, but they may provide a price break/point of negotiation.

6. Check and Examine

– Examine the oil levels and condition/colour.
Remove the dipstick and clean it. Insert the dipstick once more, then remove it. A light oil colour usually indicates a recent service, whereas a dark or muddy colour indicates that it hasn’t been changed in a while. Plus a stained dipstick indicates less than frequent changes. Add the cost of the service to the price.

– Under the bonnet, look for signs of rust or corrosion.
These indicators provide a good indication of the vehicle’s previous treatment, current condition, and life expectancy.

– Examine belts for signs of wear.
If any of the belts are frayed or torn, they should be replaced as soon as possible.

– Examine the transmission fluid.
Make certain that the levels are high. The fluid should be clear and reddish in colour.

– Fluid for braking.
The amount of fluid left in your reservoir can be used to predict how worn your brakes are. Low brake fluid levels indicate that the brakes require repair. Also if dark/dirty, it indicates it hasn’t been replaced frequently and may have a high moisture content.

– Examine the antifreeze.
Check for oil contamination and that the colour is clear.

– Examine the battery.
Examine the area for leaks, damaged cables, poor contacts, or corrosion.

7. Lights: Headlight, Taillights and Signal Lights

Ensure brake lights, turn signals, headlights, and taillights are all in working order. Headlight lenses should not be hazy. Also, check for all interior lights are working too.

8. Driving Test

Keep an ear out for any unusual sounds or vibrations. Is the engine sounding normal when you start it? Perform any necessary warnings or checks. Do the engine lights (indicating DTC Error Codes) illuminate? When you press the throttle, observe the performance. Is the steering wheel vibrating or leaning to one side?.
Examine how the vehicle handles on various road surfaces. Brakes can give you a good indication of how worn they are or if they pull to one side. Don’t forget to look for the parking brake. If it’s a manual transmission, feel the gear shift to see if it’s smooth.

9. Professional Inspection

If you are unsure about any of the items on this inspection checklist, consult a professional. It’s also a good idea to have it checked out by a mechanic. Any issues that the mechanic discovers can be used as bargaining chips if you decide to make an offer. When compared to the cost of purchasing a problem-ridden vehicle, the professional inspection fee is a small price to pay. Check the comprehensiveness, OBD scan tool, and peer comparison when choosing a service.

 

Download below for the printable version

Used Car Inspection Checklist PDF

 

If you are looking for the best pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne, do not hesitate to contact German Precision or Prepurchase Check today!

Source: cardr.com