How to Buy a Used Car
Nearly everybody buys a used car sooner or later, as a primary vehicle or as a second car. Indeed , three out of four sales today are used cars, and they're not cheap junkers either—the average price now is $ 5500, about half what a new car costs. Make the wrong selection and a major investment can be lost the moment you drive off the lot.
There is far less chance of this happening to you if you know: when to buy, where to buy, how to examine the car, how to conduct your own road test, and how to bargain over the price.
When to buy
Shop during the day. Lighting makes cars gleam like jewels at night. In daylight they look dull , but realistic.
Don't shop in the rain. It can mask liquids that might be leaking . If possible, shop in the winter when supplies are high and demand is low.
Where to buy
Shop the suburbs. In more affluent neighborhoods cars are more likely to have been well cared for.
A private owner normally sells a car for less than a dealer does, but almost always "as is," with no guarantee. That's an acceptable risk if what you're looking for is a cheap second car to "drive to the station. "
Even though a used-car dealer generally charges more, you can often get some type of limited guarantee. This is often a 50-50 plan, in which you each pay half on repairs for a period that may range from 30 days to a year. Ask the dealer about the availability of an optional service policy.
Used-car dealers often claim to have gone over the car, and many have. But remember that small dealers often buy cars that are auctioned because nobody else wants them.
Some experts feel that a new-car dealer is the best place to buy a secondhand car, especially if you're laying out a large sum for a late model. Some of these dealers offer extensive guarantees, such as one on the "drive train," which covers any problems with engine, transmission, drive shaft and differential. Expect to pay for this, as well as for the markup. But if you shop soon after the new models have arrived, when a dealer has a lot of trade-ins tying up his profits, he might deal. The visual examination you've found your dream car, and can hardly wait to get in and roar away. Wait.
First, look for any flaws or ripples in the body that might indicate a past accident. To see if a car has been repainted, look under the rubber seals around the door or under the chrome trim. Repainting may mask deep flaws.
Check the odometer for total mileage, and then compare that figure with any stickers still attached to door posts. It's illegal to change odometer readings, but it happens. If there are no stickers, be a little suspicious. Check pedals and controls: wear on these parts should agree with the mileage. If they are brand new, be suspicious. If they are worn out, beware.
Check that the doors, hood and trunk all open smoothly and close with solid sound. Sight along the sides of the car from 30 feet away to be sure that the rear and front wheels line up.
Look under the car for fluid leaks. Except for condensation from a working air conditioner on a hot day, no car should ever drip anything, any time.
Now sit in the driver's seat and try the controls. The car should fit you—it should be comfortable. Check seat adjustment, door locks, window-raising mechanisms, horn, lights, directional signals, radio—all accessories.
Start the engine. It should turn over quickly and then settle down to a rather fast idle. Give the engine a moment or two before you press the accelerator a bit. Watch for smoke from the rear. Blue smoke might mean a complete engine overhaul, black a maladjusted carburetor.
White smoke can be. Ignored if the engine is cold, but once it is warmed up, white smoke can mean a leaking head gasket: expensive. Reject this car.
After the engine has warmed, shut it off, and then go wipe your finger inside the tailpipe (making sure it's not too hot). The residue should be whitish-gay. If you get a black, oily mark, refuse the car—it's probably an oil burner.
Restart the engine and check the oil in an automatic transmission. It should be clean and clear, with no burned odor. The test drive
The salesman may try to convince you that a short drive around the block is enough. Wrong. Make it clear that you plan to road test the car, and if he isn't happy with this look elsewhere.
The test route you have mapped out should include dry city streets, a freeway, a hill, a bumpy road and an empty parking lot. All gauges(计量器) should read steady and normal throughout the test, especially oil pressure and engine heat. If not, don't buy the car.
Drive to a traffic-free city street on your predetermined route and then accelerate smoothly to about 35 miles per hour. The automatic transmission should shift without jerking and with no noise.
Slow to about 7 m. p. h. by gently applying the brakes. There should be no noise, no sharp sound or grinding. The car should slow in a straight line, with no pulling to the right or left.
Pick up speed to about 15; then making certain nobody is behind you, hit the brakes hard! The car should come to an immediate stop without making noise or swerving.
In an empty, level parking lot, brake to a complete stop. Shift into reverse and back up at about 4 m. p. h. , brake to a halt, shift into forward, etc. Do this four or five times to test the transmission. All shifting should be smooth, with no noise or hesitation.
Accelerate up a hill to about 40 m. p. h. The car should not labor. If it does, you could have a rotten transmission. Go back down the hill. Stop halfway, shift into neutral and set the parking brake. The car should remain stationary when you take your foot off the brake pedal.
Drive the car over the bumpy road, up a hill, and on the highway. Rarely will a car be perfect. However by now you should have a pretty good idea what needs to be done. How to bargain
Use what you've learned from the visual exam, test drive and outside mechanic to get the price down. Have a maximum figure in mind, based on your inspection and on current prices from a used-car guide. Start your bidding lower than that. When you have nearly arrived at a price, get the seller to throw in certain repairs. It may be cheaper for him than further price cuts.
1. Following the instructions here will help you make a good selection when buying a used car.
2. Winter is a good time for purchasing a car because there is little rain in winter.
3. You are more likely to pay less to a private owner for a car of poor quality.
4. Refuse the car if you find any signs of a past accident in the visual examination.
5. Don't buy the car if there is white smoke coming out of the rear because it is probably an oil burner.
6. At certain speeds in the tests, a good car should not make any noise when the driver brakes either hard or gently.
7. If you are patient and careful enough, you will certainly find a perfect used car.
8. The last step before you make a decision to buy a car is______.
9. Besides all gauges, the two very important systems mainly examined in the test drive are______.
10. According to some experts, the best place to buy a second-hand car is______.
答案：1. Y 2. N 3. Y 4. NG 5. N 6. Y 7. N
8. to bargain over the price 9. brake and transmission 10. a new-car dealer