Shopping around for a used 4WD can be an intimidating experience. All of us work hard for our money, and would like to be certain that our hard earned money buys us our dream ride as opposed to an over priced lemon! So if you’re in the market looking for a used 4WD here are some top tips that will assist you to make the perfect option, and avoid a costly nightmare.
Know what you want
Before searching it pays to actually think about what you want from your 4WD. Sitting down and thinking about how you’d use your 4WD is most likely the easiest way to narrow down the search and develop a car that’s more likely to tick all the correct boxes.
Some decisions to consider:
- Petrol vs diesel
- Coil springs vs ironman suspension
- Auto vs manual
- Leather car seats vs fabric seats
Do your research
As soon as you have narrowed down your search to two or 3 versions, do your research. Check used car sites such as ‘carsales.com’ and get an idea of average cost, kms and requirement for your version of choice. These websites also allow side by side comparisons on attributes so it’s a fantastic means of further narrowing down your choices. Some makes and models have common problems such as transmission, steering, plus it pays to know what to search for. Consider availability of parts and servicing costs for your version of choice. Becoming an expert on the make and model you’re considering will really pay off in realizing the fair market price for your car and understanding the problem areas to be aware of.
Ignore the sales pitch
It is funny the way the bush bashing monster truck can suddenly turn into a “the wife’s after school pick up cab” when the owner is seeking to sell. Have a look at the physical evidence as opposed to taking the word of the proprietor who clearly is considering getting the best price. Ask loads of questions and if there are inconsistencies in the narrative its very best to be cautious. For instance an after school pickup cab shouldn’t have extensive scratching beneath the car.
Look at mechanical work
It can be quite tempting to go straight to your truck with all the mods you could ever dream about. They look tough and so much more capable off road compared to conventional 4WDs. But think about it, generally people get mods to provide their 4×4 a fantastic workout off-road so odds are the altered 4WDs have had more of a beating that your regular after school pickup automobiles. Start out standard and then build up the mods to your own liking. Should you go for a ride that is modified ask to find any applicable warranties and installation receipts, best to prevent those with DIY mods.
Assess under the bonnet
Some crucial check points to consider under the bonnet:
- Check for leaks: especially from critical components like engine components, brakes and transmission
- Assess Oil: Remove the oil filter cap and check for any foamy residue. This can often be a sign of a leaking head gasket and also this car ought to be avoided. Examine the condition of the coolant and make sure it’s not brown and filthy in appearance as not only is it a sign of lack of servicing but also potential leaking head gasket.
- Assess critical systems for wear and tear such as cracking, drying, rust and bad home repairs.
Get down and dirty
4WDs can take quite a beating and can frequently be subjected to extreme external conditions such as water, sand, flood, severe corrugations etc.. Have a good look under the vehicle can frequently be an excellent way to uncover serious off-road associated harm. Get down and dirty and inspect under the car if possible searching for cracking, significant scratching on the steel bull bar, leaks, and rust. Check the exhaust system carefully for any leaks.
Assess the bodywork
When it comes to body function it pays to test thoroughly. Avoid buying cars that have some sign of a collision or frame damage. The saddle of the automobile shouldn’t be welded but bolted. Check the bolts for signs of scratches signaling alteration or replacement following a crash. Check for any cracks in the bumpers. Crouch behind the vehicle and inspect the side panels looking out for any irregular paint manifestation or irregular surface signaling body work after an incident, even take a look over the top of the car for any damages. Sunroofs can easily get damaged during wild weather, make sure to check that too.
The test drive is generally among the best ways to get a sense of a car and also to pick up on any warning signals. Here are a couple of warning signs to look out for:
- Unusual noises: any odd noises when turning the ignition, turning the steering on full lock, using the wheels or changing gears. Any clunking sounds while turning steering wheel to full lock should set off alarm bells, as repairing the power steering is a costly exercise.
- Warning lights on dashboard: this might be stating the obvious but after turning the ignition test thoroughly for any warning lights on the dash board. The check engine light is never a good sign.
Request to see the books
Do not take the owner’s word for it when they tell you it’s been religiously serviced. Ask to see the service history and assess over the dates and work carefully. Observe how often the work has happened in addition to any significant issues the automobile has had previously. Avoid purchasing a 4WD with no service history or incomplete and irregular servicing. Deficiency of regular servicing may cause pre-mature wear and damage to the 4WD and isn’t worth your money or time fixing.