Car Tyre and Boot Check

Car Tyre and Boot Check

Boot and tyres check.

Understanding tyre tread depth law.

 

During the buying process, CarVeto recommends visual inspections of each area of the vehicle. This includes the engine, bodywork, interior, electrical components, tyre checks, boot-well and documentation. You also need to run a history report to ensure the car is genuine and legal to buy.

Our car history check provides in-depth data on the background of a used vehicle. Visit this page to run your own free check. You’ll have the option to purchase our Veto Platinum check for £12.50 that provides all available data on a vehicle from Experian finance, Police markers, DVLA and other automotive sources.

Below is our quick tyre checker and boot-well guide that will help you to make a wise purchase:

 

Guide to checking the tyres on a used vehicle

 

Checking the boot well

Checking the boot area correctly can be as important as the engine. Especially paying attention to the spare wheel or puncture repair kit, wheel brace and jack.

  • Begin by opening the boot and feel and smell for any damp or moisture. If you sense any dampness the black, rubber seal around the boot area may be split/broken. Look at the rubber surround for signs of breakage
    It could also mean the vehicle has been deep valeted and not dried correctly to avoid moisture and damp building up
  • Check the underside of the boot mat as this area often holds water and may need drying out

 

Remove boot mat if possible for the next steps

  • If the vehicle has a spare wheel remove it completely along with all the tools such as jack, wheel brace, spanners etc
  • Look for water inside the boot well (where the spare wheel lives)
  • Examine the spare wheel and tyre. Ensure the tyre is pumped and legal to go on the road
  • If the vehicle is fitted with a “get you home” puncture kit ensure it is operating and ready to use. It is best to test the kit where possible
  • Use the wheel brace and see that it fits the nuts holding the wheels to the vehicle
  • Most modern vehicles are fitted with alloy wheels. Ensure there is a locking wheel nut and it fits correctly

 

Checking the tyres

Driving with damaged, faulty or illegal tyres can result in a roadside fine and insurance invalidation. Consider that tyres are the only part of a vehicle that is in contact with the road.

Tyres that are fitted to a vehicle must be ‘Fit for Purpose’ and be ‘free from any defects which might damage the road or endanger any person’.

Tyres must be correctly inflated too.

‘Fit for Purpose’ means that a tyre must:

  • Be compatible with the types of tyres fitted to the other wheels
  • Not have any lump, bulge or tear caused by separation or partial failure of the structure
  • Not have a cut or tear and not have any part of the ply or cord exposed

Check tyre walls for:

  • Splits, holes or chunks ripped out of the tyre sides
  • Sizes of the tyres – they must all match i.e. 195/55/R15
  • 1.6mm tyre tread is the legal limit (most tyres have a marker to indicate legal limit)

 

You might also check out Merityre who offers some great advice on tyre law.

We offer free guides on each step to buying a used vehicle. Read our last post that describes a car engine check and some common things to look out for before you buy.

The team, CarVeto

 

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Engine Checks

Engine Checks

Under the bonnet

How to check car engine health

 

CarVeto history checks cannot assure the health of a vehicle engine. Therefore, this section provides a vital step to avoiding an unreliable vehicle and expensive repair bills.

Engine checks only take a few minutes to run.

Begin by checking that the engine is cold or slightly warm, to avoid the risk of injury. If the engine is already hot it is worth asking the owner why.

Ideally, the engine will be stone cold to run the most effective engine checks.

 

Oil filler cap and dip stick

Open the oil filler cap and notice any creamy or mayonnaise substances on the inside of the cap.

Pull out the oil dip stick, clean with a piece of cloth, dip back into place and pull out once more. Look for the oil level, oil colour or any unusual creamy substances.

 

  • Expect dark oil on a diesel engine
  • Expect a transparent oil with petrol engine vehicles
    If oil is darkened a little on a petrol vehicle a service may be due – check when the vehicle was last serviced, via the service book.
  • Mayonnaise-type substances in the oil indicate terminal problems

 

If the oil level is below minimum levels via the dip stick it means the working parts of the engine are not properly lubricated and may lead to significant mechanical issues.

If the oil level is above the maximum levels via the dip stick it may indicate the engine is burning oil and the seller is regularly topping up.

 

Checking the expansion bottle

Once more, ensure the engine is cool or cold before opening the expansion bottle. Expect a transparent liquid with yellow, pink or blue colouration, that signals antifreeze.

  • Look for white, creamy substances again, similarly to when dipping the oil stick
  • Creamy substances within the expansion bottle or its cap lead to terminal mechanical issues

 

how to identify if a car engine is reliable

 

Additional engine checks

Examine the engine block checking for any oil or water leaks. Bend down under the front bumper and look under the engine for evidence of oil or water leaks. Look at the ground under the engine for any dried oil stains that could indicate an oil leak.

 

Battery check

View the battery to see if it looks recently replaced.

Most batteries last about 5 years. You may also see a battery looking glass that should signal a green colour. A green display indicates the battery is in good condition. A black display indicates the battery is near its end of life.

 

Final engine checks

Start the engine from cold listening for any churning, chiming, knocking or grinding noises. Anything that sounds out of the ordinary. Problematic engines may make unusual noises from cold.

Whilst the engine is running turn the steering wheel to full lock. Ensure there are no squeaking or whining noises whilst turning the steering wheel. Such noises can indicate a leaky or broken steering rack.

Read our last post about car dashboard warning checks

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Car Buying Guide Part V.

Car Buying Guide Part V.

How to check car electrics before you buy.

Dashboard warning lights and their meanings.

 

In just a few minutes you can check every electrical item on the vehicle is working correctly.

This is an important series of checks as dealers are less likely to agree to electrical repairs compared to mechanic ones.

The adage goes, ‘sorry, that is not covered by our basic warranty’.

Below is a full list of electrical components. Certain items will not be fitted to all makes and models:

Begin by starting the vehicle to ensure all the dashboard lights illuminate and switch off in around 5 seconds of a running engine.

Pay attention to:

Engine management light | ABS Lights | Airbag Lights

warning lights including ABS, engine management and glow plug

 

These are the more common warning lights for faults and costly mechanical repair. Should any of these lights remain illuminated after a few seconds of starting the vehicle, there is likely to be a significant mechanical issue.

After an ignition test switches the engine off but leaves the ignition on. This allows you to test electric items while ensuring the vehicle battery is reasonable. If the battery is poor and about to fail it’s likely to do so after these tests are carried out.

 

Ensure each of the following is working correctly:

  • Electric windows front and rear – also check windows on their independent switches
  • Electric sunroof
  • Electric mirrors
  • Electric seats
  • Heated seats
  • Central locking and remote central locking
  • HornSide lights and headlights and main beam
  • Wipers front
  • Wiper rear
  • Hazards
  • Any additional features the vehicle may have

 

Restart the engine and test all features listed below:

  • Power steering is light
  • Air conditioning runs very cold (wait up to a minute for ice cold air) If the air-con is not working a re-gas may be required. If not, the condenser may be faulty which can be costly to repair.
  • Electric handbrake
  • Fog lamps front and rear
  • Stereo system / Bluetooth etc
  • Sat nav
  • Cruise control illumination (depends on make and model of vehicle as some may need to be at speed for a warning light to activate)
  • Cigarette lighter for the USB port
  • Fuel gauge
  • Rev counter
  • Dashboard background illumination lights

 

In last weeks article, we demonstrated how to perform a car mileage check via a visual inspection (this is secondary to our online mileage check)

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Car Buying Guide Part IV

Car Buying Guide Part IV

Car mileage verification.

How to identify a used car with hidden milege issues.

 

CarVeto searches and returns mileage check data from the DVLA MOT history database. Whilst the information provided is accurate at the time of record there are instances where mileage can be artificially corrected to increase vehicle value.

Consistently ask the question: “is the interior and exterior of the vehicle in keeping with the claimed mileage?”

CarVeto records an average of 1 in 15 vehicles carrying a mileage discrepancy.

Potentially, the vehicle you plan to buy may have mileage issues that are hidden from your CarVeto check.

Is the vehicle in keeping with age and presented mileage?

If the vehicle appears overly worn or tatty it may have a discrepancy.

Vehicles with 40,000 miles + should show signs of wear. Expect the odd stone chip, scratch or age-related scuff. Higher mileage vehicles will display more cosmetic defects.

 

External inspection

Door mirrors

Begin by checking the door mirrors as they give away a great deal about high mileage vehicles.

  • Are the mirrors overly spent from many tens of thousands of miles up and down the motorway?
  • Are they covered in scratches and tiny nicks?
  • Are the mirrors faded or clattered?
  • Are they fixed correctly to the rest of the vehicle?

 

Wheels and tyres

Tyre and alloy wheels or wheel trims can also say a lot about a vehicle. Examine the wheels for curbed or chipped radials.

 

Door locks

Look out for ‘nail scratches’ around the driver and passenger door locks. This may indicate the remote central locking is faulty and can lead to an expensive repair.

Scratches around door locks can indicate a vehicle with high mileage.

 

Windscreen chips

Chips in a windscreen are not always easy to repair, especially with heated front screens where the filament becomes damaged and prevents the vehicle from demisting.

Cracks or excessive chips in the front screen (especially lots of tiny chips) may indicate a vehicle with high mileage.

 

Internal inspection

Compare the outside edge driver’s seat bolster with that of the passenger seat. This area of the vehicle can be one of the first to show signs of excessive wear and tear.

Check seat stitching, dirt and further unusual wear, for indications of excessive car mileage.

 

Carpets

Look underneath fitted mats, particularly beneath the driver’s foot pedals for holes in the carpet.

Also, examine the peddle rubbers for excessive wear or breakage.

New peddle rubbers are an inexpensive replacement for the seller. New rubbers may also be an indication of a high mileage vehicle.

 

Steering wheel & gear nob

Carry out a visual inspection of the steering wheel for excessive wear or an unusually shiny finish. Worn steering wheels are an obvious sign of a vehicle that has travelled considerable mileage.

View the gear nob for missing stitching or unusual wear around the stick gator.

 

Seatbelts

Examine the seat belt, particularly the driver’s side, for fraying or discoloured effects.

 

Unusual odour

Check for a smell of damp or mould.

Excessively used vehicles may have suffered considerable water use during preparation/valeting and can be rather difficult to dry out.

You might also look for unusual condensation on the inside of the windows as another indication of deep clean valeting.

The visual inspections listed above are notably helpful when checking vehicle mileage. They are designed to work in partnership with your Platinum CarVeto vehicle check and support a wise vehicle purchase.

Take a look at Part III of our car buyers guide – Car accident report

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Car Buying Guide Part III

Car Buying Guide Part III

How to spot accident damage.

Car damage reports can only disclose information that has been recorded.

 

Accidents and accident damage settled between drivers (without insurance company knowledge) are not recorded in an online report.

 

CarVeto history checks provide background information that is recorded on the MIAFTR Insurance Write-Off database. But, we cannot provide details of accident damage settled without insurance company knowledge.

Although a vehicle has passed our car accident report it may have endured minor or medium accident damage.

 

Vehicle panels repainted or replaced

Highlighting accident damage repair

Inspect nuts and bolts that attach panels to the main shell of the vehicle. Looking under the bonnet you will see arms that attach the bonnet to the rest of the vehicle:

  1. Is paint missing from the edges of the nuts or bolts?
    Missing paint may indicate that a panel has been removed from the vehicle resprayed or replaced.
  2. Check the bonnet, front wings, doors, boot and rear panels

 

how to spot front end damage repair

 

using bonnet attachement hinges to check for accident repair

Most motorists would not buy a vehicle with replaced panels such as a bonnet and front wings. Remember, a car accident check from CarVeto can only report data that is recorded.

 

Door Skin

Open each door and look at the outer seam on the inside of the door checking for inconsistencies between one door and another. Are the doors the same finish on the inside edge? If there are differences the vehicle could have endured a new door skin.

Such damage may indicate accident repair or indicate further damage to the vehicle.

 

how to spot door replacement or door skin repair

 

Wheel arch measurement

Fingers are ideal for measuring the space between the back of the tyres and the wheel arch. How many fingers can fit between the back of the tyre and the wheel arch?

Expect the same finger measurement on each wheel. If there are inconsistencies the vehicle may be out of alignment as result of a front or rear end accident and poor repair.

 

measuring wheel arch spaces to determine if a car has suffered accident damage repair

 

Panel space

Imagine you were running a marble along the seam of adjoining panels i.e. bonnet to the wing. Would the marble disappear due to the space being wider at one end and thinner at the other?

Differences in adjoining panel space may indicate the panel has been removed and replaced due to poor accident damage repair.

 

car panel guttering width check

 

Sand texture to panels or windows

Gently rub the palm of your hand across windows and body panels to feel for a sand or gravel type texture. Rough textures upon the outside of a vehicle may indicate resprayed panels where paint has over sprayed and blown against other parts of the vehicle.

 

Colour match

Glance the sides of the vehicle (in direct sunlight if possible) to see if panel colours are a perfect match.

Metallic colours and especially silver can be challenging for a cosmetic body shop to match exactly. Off colour panels may be an indication of damage repair.

 

Rubber seal overspray

Examine the black rubbers that seal the doors and boot shut. Rubbers can be found attached to the body of the vehicle upon opening the doors.

Look for paint over sprayed on the black rubbers for indication of cosmetic repair.

 

checking car door rubber seals for oversprayed paint from a repair

 

Headlight mismatch

Standing in front of the vehicle, compare the front headlamps and see if one is obviously newer than the other.

Whilst a faulty headlamp can be replaced it may also indicate front end side damage that has been repaired.

 

Visual inspections are crucial when buying a used car. Ensure you run your own checks before you buy and do not rely soley on our car accident report. Take your time to ensure you make a wise investment.

Read part II of our car buyers guide – buying a used car from a dealers

The team, CarVeto

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Used Car Buying Guide Part II

Used Car Buying Guide Part II

Guide & tips on buying a car from a car dealership

Things you probably didn’t know about the motor trade

 

Car dealer facts

  1. As a rule of thumb, car dealers work to a minimum of £1,000 profit margin per vehicle they sell. This should be Net Profit after basic associated costs that may include:
    Preparation
    Warranties
    Advertising
    Insurance
    VAT
  2. Dealers can earn money in several ways:
    Profiting from the vehicle they are selling
    Profiting from extended warranties, finance packages and insurances
    Profiting from any part exchange vehicle that is included in a deal
  3. Many dealers buy vehicles from an auction, prepare as necessary, advertise and sell for profit
  4. Dealers are working in a competitive industry with profit margins being squeezed due to competition and private car buyers making the most of car auction purchases

 

 

Motability vehicles

There are pros and cons to a Motability vehicle purchase:

Pros

  1. Such vehicles are serviced under contract at supplying dealers
  2. Vehicles tend to be sold at lower mileages due to restrictions

Cons

  1. Motability vehicles can suffer excessive wear and tear due to wheelchair use and/or vehicle adaptations. A driver with physical impairments may result in a vehicle that has suffered unusual wear or stress points such as torn seats and dented/scratched door panels
  2. Excessive wear may result in a Motability vehicle selling at auction for a reduced price. Many dealers are attracted to this type of vehicle and attempt to buy for considerably less than average market value. Such cases may lead to excessive cosmetic or interior vehicle repairs. As mentioned, imagine how the vehicle appeared prior to preparation

 

 

General tips when buying from a dealer

  1. Be mindful of exaggerated part exchange valuations as they can indicate a vehicle as overpriced or has hidden issues. Dealers avoid giving away unnecessariness without good reason
  2. Where possible, view the vehicle without calling in advance to see if it is still for sale. It is best practice to hear an engine from stone cold before you buy it. A dealer may warm the engine first if they know you are on your way to view
  3. Be knowledgeable by having a list of comparative cars to view. Quickly let the dealer know you have other vehicles to view before you are prepared to buy
  4. Ask to be left alone whilst vetting the vehicle, to minimise distractions
  5. Buying a vehicle is often one of the biggest investments you can make. Take your time, research and take precautions always
  6. When part-exchanging an old vehicle ensures you complete the V5C yellow slip ‘notification of sale to a motor dealer’. Include the dealer business name, address, date of sale and VAT number. As the registered keeper, it is your responsibility to notify the DVLA that you are selling to a dealer

 

Read the used car buying guide Part I

The team, CarVeto

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