If you’re not mechanically-savvy, you may unknowingly purchase a used vehicle with severe issues. Whether the problem is obvious or not, car troubles can cost you thousands of dollars in repairs. By understanding some of the most common signs of vehicle problems, you can avoid making the costly mistake of buying a car with potentially serious mechanical issues.

At My Next Car Buying Advocacy, we believe in helping all of our clients have an enjoyable, stress-free car buying experience. By offering the tools and resources that buyers need to navigate buying a car, we’re helping our clients succeed. Here are some of the top signs that you should watch out for when buying your next vehicle.

Engine Noise

Irregular engine noise is one of the biggest signs of mechanical issues in a vehicle. While it may seem obvious that an out of place noise is the sign of an issue, many inexperienced car buyers may simply believe that it’s due to the age of the vehicle. Common noises that should be of concern include squeaking, banging, grinding, sputtering, and irregular noise patterns.

Some of these noises can be masked when the engine is already warm. Before starting the engine feel the bonnet. It should be cold. If it is not, there could be a starting problem the seller isn’t telling you about.

These noises can indicate one of many issues that engines face. A car’s engine is one of the most expensive parts of the vehicle to repair, so always take caution when considering purchasing a vehicle that exhibits strange engine noises. A complete engine replacement may very well cost more than what you paid for the entire vehicle.

Battery and Electrical Issues

If you notice any issues with the electrical system, it may be a sign that there’s a battery problem. Flickering lights, inconsistent power throughout the vehicle’s electrical components, and issues with starting the vehicle are some common signs of battery problems.

Fortunately, if it is just a battery issue, replacing the battery costs very little money and takes just a few minutes. If it’s an issue with starting the vehicle that isn’t fixed with a new battery, it could be a sign that the alternator is bad, which is a much more expensive repair.

Bad Odours

Aside from bad odours that may linger inside of the car from the previous owners, there are a few odours that you should watch out for that come from the car’s interior components. Any burning or melting plastic smell is a sign of a serious issue, and you should turn off the car immediately.

Burning or melting indicates an electrical malfunction, such as an exposed wire or a shorted circuit. These issues are dangerous, and continuing to drive the vehicle can lead to further damage.

A mouldy or damp smell may indicate that water has got onto the car through the body or windscreen. If the carpet smells or is damp then it may affect the underbody and you would look out for possible signs of rust forming. Replacing interior items that are damaged such as carpets and interior upholstery, can be just as costly as mechanical issues.

Scraping or Grinding Sounds

Scraping or grinding sounds can indicate one of many issues. The most common cause of a scraping sound is a worn out brake pad. While relatively simple and inexpensive to fix, you should always thoroughly test the breaks before purchasing the vehicle, and if you do notice the sound, try to negotiate the brakes being repaired before you finalise the purchase.

Go for a Test Drive

The best way to identify the potential mechanical problems when intending to purchase a car is to go for a test drive on both local roads and highways. In different environments, you can get a good feel for how the car responds and performs. On local roads, you can feel how the car shifts and responds to sharp turns. You’ll also get an idea on the condition of the brakes with stop-and-go driving conditions. With a trip on the highway, you can see if the engine runs smoothly or not. While on a test drive, keep your eyes and ears open. Make sure to note any unusual engine or brake noises, and whether or not all of the electronics in the car are working properly.

To supplement your test drive do some homework and research beforehand on the specific car or model you intend to purchase. By reading reviews you can do a bit of detective work on industry and consumer reviews on the make and model to help uncover possible defects or even common problems. You can easily do this by researching online.

My Next Car Buying Advocacy

These are just a few of the more common signs that a vehicle is having issues – if you notice any of these signs, you should reconsider your purchase. We also recommend to our clients to consider undertaking a pre- purchase inspection as part of the buying process by a reputable service provider such as RACV, VACC & Repco or similar type providers.. These providers thoroughly inspect the car and provide a comprehensive report that would identify any potential problems and helps reduce the risk in purchasing a car. Just because a car seems mechanically sound doesn’t mean that it is.

If you’re new to buying a vehicle or you just want a trusted partner to help you with your next purchase, trust the team at My Next Car Buying Advocacy to be there for all of your needs. From the initial car search to the day you get your keys, we will partner with you every step of the way.

Combined with our knowledge, research and taking the time to understand your car needs, we will find and buy on your behalf, the Right Car for you and your family at the Right Price that will suit your budget.

“Right Car”means buying a car that reflects your individual or families current and future needs. Its features match your prioritised needs in relation to lifestyle, safety, carrying capacity, running costs and options within your budget.

“Right Price” doesn’t mean the cheapest price. The cheapest cars usually have travelled high kilometres, have little or no service history or can even be an Economic Repairable Write-off. The “Right Price” means buying and negotiating the best price for the safest, quality car within your budget that has a full service history, travelled low kilometres for its age, is accident free, is in excellent condition, has a Road Worthy Certificate and has passed a PPSR check.

For more information on how we can help, contact the teamat My Next Car Buying Advocacy today.

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