Moms and Dads

Family-Friendly Tips When Buying A Second-Hand Car

New cars need a bigger investment than most families can afford so, some prefer to buy second-hand cars.

Buying a car is one of the biggest investments a family can make, besides a house. But there is a necessity to do so, especially when they live in the metro or in a part of an area where most public transport doesn’t pass. And when the family doesn’t have the capital to invest in a new car, some would buy a second-hand car instead. Here are some family-friendly tips when choosing a second-hand car:

1. Ask what fuel it uses.

Some dads even ask what kind of fuel and what brand the previous owner filled the car with. Different kinds of gasoline have various octane levels which can either make or break the car. Octane levels are the rating of how fast the gasoline will automatically combust when it runs through the engine. The higher, the more it combusts, and thus, the car becomes more powerful.

Luckily, the Philippines offers both Octane level 95 and 97 with 95 being the average minimum among cars.

2. Take note of the last oil change.

Oil changes happen every 10,000 km and that’s for both engine oil and transmission fluid. If there’s no oil in the engine, the car while running can grind itself to pieces especially if the oil used in the car has deposits and debris left after burning. Always ask the previous owner when was the last oil change and base it on the odometer which measures the over-all distance the car has covered.

But if they don’t know, pop the car’s hood open and check the dipsticks of the engine oil and transmission fluid. The sticks have three knobs on the bottom that measure how much is left and what some experienced drivers do is that they also rub the oil in between two fingers. If the oil is black and it crumbles, that definitely means the car hasn’t had an oil change in awhile.

3. Ask if they ever changed the alternator belt.

The alternator belt is what drives the air conditioning and the alternator which converts mechanical energy into electrical. When the wheels turn, the friction from the wheels charges the car’s battery. When the alternator belt snaps, the driver loses the ability to stop the car because the mechanism that triggers the brakes is attached to the alternator.

Usually, alternator belts fray a little bit when they’re about to give. Always keep a spare in the back.

4. Check the car’s travel history.

City driving is supposedly not as punishing as mountain or long-distance driving. The suspension and shock absorbers absorb all the impact from the rocky and bumpy roads. The travel history also gives us an idea of how worn out the tires are if the suspension isn’t aligned. Usually, there are shops that have the technology to check if our new but second-hand car’s suspension is aligned.

5. Ask if the car has a history with the official store.

Some families find bringing their second-hand car to the official shop too expensive so they outsource the repair work. Asking them if they outsource can also build our network and at least assure us that the car is in good hands. At the same time, it’ll at least provide an idea what’s the usual thing that needs to be replaced in the car.

6. Ask for how many kilometers per liter the car gets.

Gas is not getting cheaper and every driving parent wants to get the most out of their gas. Some cars can hit 10 km/L so long as they’re not in traffic. But other cars like the big SUVs need more gas because they’re heavier. Although families would like to buy big SUVs or vans, sometimes, they might burn more gas than we can afford.

7. Is it comfortable to drive?

Every driver has a preference and many don’t like driving big SUVs and vans because it feels like they’re squeezing a refrigerator through the eye of a needle. Usually, we figure this out by taking a seat in the car and holding the steering wheel. Wiggle a little in the seat or the wheel and if we don’t feel comfortable then, what more in stand-still traffic?

8. Check if it has big storage space.

Storage space is a must for parents who still bring around strollers or who just travel a lot. The trunk or what Filipinos call the baul sometimes has seats that people can pull down to allow other people to sit. But the chairs are also detachable, allowing more storage space. We never know when we’ll change our present mailing address!

Buying second-hand cars have both pros and cons…

The con of buying second-hand cars is if the owner isn’t meticulous or sensitive to the car’s needs then, a lot of expenses for repairs are going to feel like they’re cropping out of nowhere. However, if these second hand cars come from a garage where the owners love their cars like their children, they’ll have little to no repairs. But we have to remember the important part about investing in a car:

“If you take care of the car, the car takes care of you [and your family].”

More about cars?

8 Vintage Cars That Every Dad Dreams Of Owning
LIST: Best Family Cars in the Philippines 2023
5 Tips On How To Help Your Kids In Car Registration

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