Choosing a car of any kind is difficult. There’s a lot to consider when choosing the right car to meet your needs and those of your family. From whether the price matches your budget to the sustainability of the fuel source and whether or not your significant other likes the colour, there are a lot of considerations that need to be juggled. And this can make shopping for a new car, any new car, a potential minefield.
When you’re buying a 4×4 however, there are a number of additional considerations to bear in mind. After all, if you’re looking for a vehicle of this kind it’s likely that you have very specific needs. And if you’re buying used (which is likely a far more cost effective option) the issues that need to be borne in mind are multiplied. With that in mind, here are some important things to consider when buying a used 4 x 4 whether buying privately or from a dealership…
Take a close look at the doors
4x4s are robust vehicles which are often used more intensively than, say, taking the kids to school and picking up groceries. As such, you may find one or two nicks and scratches on the bodywork. These little instances of wear and tear are pretty hard to avoid. However, if you take a close look at the doors and realise that they don’t align properly this can be a warning sign that likely means the car was involved in a serious accident. This could make the vehicle more trouble than it’s worth.
Does it have the suspension and ground clearance for off-road use?
There are many, many 4x4s on the market that have surprisingly poor off-road capability. So if you’re going to be traversing the outback in your new vehicle, you might want to take a look underneath the vehicle to see if it has the kind of ground clearance and powerful suspension you need to go off road. You may even want to fit some high performance aftermarket suspension like Ridepro 4×4 Suspension Systems yourself. If you think this may be necessary, it could be a good haggling point.
How many miles are on the clock?
In this regard, buying a used 4×4 is like buying any other used vehicle. While these workhorses tend to be more robust than the average passenger car (and their passionate owners tend to take better care of them) too many miles on the odometer could be a red flag. By and large if a vehicle has traversed over 100,000 miles it could cost you more in repairs and maintenance than it’s worth in future.
Take a look (and smell) of the interior
If your prospective new 4×4 has seen a lot of off-road use, it may have driven through some deep water. If some of that water has made its way into the cabin, it may start to cause unwelcome rusting. Take a look at the floor and look for evidence of water ingress like damp carpet, mould or a musty smell. If possible check the AC and other electrical equipment to make sure it hasn’t been damaged by water ingress.
These 4 simple checks will help prevent you from being lumbered with a lemon.