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If you’ve finally decided that yes, your car does need replacing, you’d be forgiven for thinking that your options are limited.  With a limited budget you wouldn’t have been able to turn anything down years ago but nowadays the choice out there is incredible.  Be it an older car or quite a young one, the used car market is booming and prices are low.  So now is the perfect time for you to spend little on lots.  If you are getting an older car, though, there is a good chance it could have some things wrong with it.  If you have more time than money, then it’s definitely worth investing in something that needs a little attention.  So put your time into rust protection and engine care and save the money for a rainy day.

A Little Bit Rusty

One of the major, if not the major, problems affecting second hand cars is rust.  It doesn’t matter how much attention the previous owner has given it, some cars just seem to be cursed with the rust virus.  It’s worth looking hard at any car you’re going to buy: surface rust may be easy to spot and rust protection on these parts is easy enough but in harder to get to places rust can spell disaster.  Any rust on the underside of the car or under the wheel arches can be a major problem, so make sure to check them thoroughly before you buy.  Small specks can be treated and rust protector applied but anything more major than that could quickly get the better of the bodywork.  So with a used car, don’t check the engine first and don’t check the tyres first, check for rust.

After this, you can then go about checking the rest of the car: does the engine go well, do the windscreen wipers work, is there heating?  On an older car, some of the electrics may have failed but some of it may just need a bit of fiddling on your part.  The most important parts are the structure of the car and the brakes.  It’s no good the engine working if the brakes don’t: it doesn’t matter how rusty it is, you plough into a wall and its game over for the car.  If you have time on your side, then you can work on ironing out any small problems: just like you can liberally apply the rust protector if there is any sign of it on the bodywork or chassis.

One way to extend the life of a second hand car and also improve its efficiency is simply keeping it clean.  Not hovering out the inside, although that may throw up a couple of surprised, but stripping the engine, changing the oil and generally making sure that any moving parts are in tip top condition.  If you do have that time on your hand, for the expense of a day you could save a lot on fuel in the future, just by cleaning the engine and changing the oil and filters.  While you’re under the bonnet, it’s also worth checking around for any rust that escaped you when you bought the car: with an older vehicle it’s certain that some did.  Rust protection is essential in places such as around the battery: if there have been any leaks, then the metal may well have been compromised, so be careful around here and if there is any sign of real damage, then look at strengthening it.  Once all of this is done, you’re going to be left with a second hand car that probably runs better than your old one and cost you next to nothing.  There are plenty of ways to make a saving on the used car market if you’ve got a little spare time on your hands.

If you do have a car that is displaying some signs of rust, it’s important to make sure that it’s not structurally significant.  If it is only a small amount, count it as a warning sign: it’s time to apply some rust protection to make sure that your car doesn’t end up on the scrap heap.