Dave's Opinion

Be sure to read this before you regret buying a used car

Be sure to read this before you regret buying a used car

Whether you’re getting ready to buy the first car of your life or the last, the event will always be exciting. You want the best for your money and the seller wants the most money for what he has. Huge contrast. Now I’ll show you some tricks and gear that will make your decision easier. Let's get into it!

Based on what to choose an ideal model?

I don’t want to bother anyone with statistics on which engine is more durable or with which gearbox will you more problems. Just think deeply about what your plan is with your car. Obviously, if you’re looking for something rare, you won’t always have a lot of choices, but if you’re looking for a reliable car for everyday use, I suggest mass cars. A larger selection is more likely to have the right car for you.

Collection of information

You mustn't make a decision based solely on the look or on the statistics. Your car will be a very important part of your life and it is more uncomfortable if it breaks down. Read more information and tests online. A lot of magazines and blogs deal with this topic so they can come in handy for you. Even on Wikipedia, you'll find a lot of useful information. You'll find plenty of youtube videos by searching for your car model. Read the opinions of as many owners as possible. And if you still like the car you looked after, cut into choosing the best one. Use this article as a professional. You may want to write down some factory parameters that you'll need later in this article. Read through it and take notes because it’s worth it.

America's 25 most popular new vehicles in 2020

These will be the used cars of the future...















Ram Pickup












































Grand Cherokee














































Roughly these brands and models have dominated the market for a few years as well. You should choose a not so old used car from these. But of course, I understand if a 70-80s American classic or a 90s Japanese is your dream. I also have one, a 92 Honda Accord.

Possible reasons for selling

If it is a younger model, the main reason was probably the expiration of the warranty. In the case of an object of use, this is completely understandable. For older cars, however, please don’t have any illusions. It’s rare for a car to be sold because its owner simply got bored of it. This is especially true when talking about an older model. But there are gems here in the used car market as well. Now I’ll share with you some tricks so you can find these too. This is how an experienced dealer chooses a car.

Checking the car's history

It's a very important first step to find out who and how the chosen car was used before. The Carvertical's team has put together an ingenious database of used cars found in almost every part of the world for just $15.99. It's also easy to use from your phone, and you can have access to all the car's history on site. You can check them from home based on the license plate or chassis number if the information is given in the advertisement.

And what do we get for our money?

  • Check the stolen vehicle database
  • Check vehicle registration countries
  • See available photos
  • Find out vehicle’s mileage history
  • Find out if the vehicle had any accidents
  • Learn when the next maintenance is due
  • Learn about safety and maintenance recalls

Checking the car's history

This is what a detailed report looks like. From mileage to fracture damage, all important data is accessible. It can save you thousands of dollars if you don’t fall victim to a scam.

Sample report

Layer thickness measurement

Carvertical, while providing an extremely reliable database, is sometimes good to go 110% sure. This is because minor damages are not reported to the insurer, so they are not included in the database. This could be, for example, a shopping cart pushed to the door in the parking lot of a shopping center. Or a rusty part of the chassis that has been repainted. The layer thickness gauge is used to detect these errors. An electromagnet examines the distance between the sensor and the metal so it basically gives tells you how thick the paint layer is. The number is given in microns. The thickness of the paint may vary between manufacturers but even between models, but it must be the same on the entire surface of the car. For example, if the instrument measures 90 microns on the top of the car and 300 on the door. Then there’s a good chance that the door has already been repainted. You need to ask about it because it can be a problem later if it is not professionally repaired. These tools are no longer very expensive today. It is worth purchasing and taking one with you.

Neoteck Car Paint Coating Thickness Gauge Meter Handheld with Backlight LCD Display for Both Steel and Aluminum Base Metal Car 0-1500um

R&D ET330+Zn Car Paint Coating Thickness Gauge Car Paint Electroplate Metal Zinc Coating Thickness Tester Meter Fe & NFe & Zinc

Engine leakage test

Checking the condition of the cylinder head is also possible for any regular customer. The malfunction is caused by an aging piston damaging the cylinder wall. This could be the result of a bad setting or the use of poor quality oil. This can lead to a serious reduction in performance. In a worse case, it can lead the car to stop. In this case, the problem is quite big and the repair will be very expensive. In case of a more serious problem, a slightly bluish smoke can be seen at the exhaust pipe. That car is worth avoiding. The problem is that this smoke is only visible on the first start and then goes away after a few minutes. This is why some dealers warm up the engine before the buyer arrives. If you find that the seller is already waiting with a warmed-up car then it's suspicious. He probably wants to hide something. Sometimes they just want to hide the malfunction of the starter, that’s a cheap part, but it’s a pretty unpleasant experience that your car doesn't start in the morning. But if there's a problem with the engine then it's usually expensive. However, there is an engine leak test compound that eliminates this potential problem for gasoline and diesel cars. Approximately 2ml should be dropped into the measuring funnel and the measuring cone needs to be placed tightly into the water filling opening of the car radiator or into the opening of the expansion tank. It is important to insulate well. After this, let the engine idle for 5-6 minutes. If the blue liquid discolors, there is something wrong. This means that smoke has mixed with the water and the cylinder head is most likely damaged. Buy such a car only if they have included an engine overhaul.

Combustion Leak Tester Kit CO2 Petrol Head Gasket Test Fluid Block

Checking fluids

If you have already opened the car hood, it is worth checking the oil level, coolant level, brake fluid level and servo oil level. These are the true signs of how caring the previous owner really was.

Compression measurement

We can also assess the condition of engines that have run a lot. The fit and cleanliness of the moving parts in the engine are very important factors to keep the engine strong. If the components in one of the cylinders do not work properly, a loss of compression will occur and the engine will be weak and run unevenly. This can even be caused by ignition but can be a bigger problem as well. This is only recognized by hearing from very experienced mechanics. I'd rather suggest you take a compression meter with you if you want to go for sure. This is already a much more complicated operation and many people will probably not take this step. The video illustrates this process well:

Engine Cylinder Compression Tester

OBD reader

In the case of modern cars, a built-in computer can also provide interesting information about the condition of our car. For example,  the true mileage, electronic control malfunctions such as ABS, ESP, or the condition of the catalyst and so on. Bosch has the most professional tool for reading these DTCs but it's an extremely expensive tool. Several semi-professional gadgets on the Internet can get not all but a lot of information from this computer. I suggest the following devices, which can be a good choice in terms of value for money. Check to see if the car you are looking for has an OBD connector. This is typical of cars manufactured in the United States since '94. Remember that a merchant can also have such a reader. They may have deleted the DTCs. So we also have to check with our device how many miles ago were the DTCs last read. If this is a big number then it hasn't been deleted. If it's suspiciously low, you may want to be careful and ask why.

OBD Reader

Checking the inside

Here, too, can be many signs. In the case of a car that has run a lot, it may not be so surprising that the buttons are a bit worn, but in a car that is a few years old, it can be surprising. The disappearance of the pictograms on the controls, the wear on the shift knob or the shift boot, the wear and tear of the seats all say that the car may have traveled more miles than we might think. In the case of a female owner, the gloss of the steering wheel and shift knob may be caused by the hand cream. Or the wedding ring can cause damage as well. Let's check the car generally. The condition of the buttons, leather, fabric and plastic surfaces. Also, check the condition of the upholstery. And don't forget to check if anything smells inside. If you think that the interfaces in a 2-3-year-old car shouldn’t be worn off, you’re right. In the case of a 15-20-year-old car, wear and tear may already occur, try comparing the condition to the mileage.

Checking the inside

Try all the extras

It’s quite awkward when the car's AC, that you bought in the winter, doesn’t work in the summer because forgot to check it. Ask for all the extras in the car and see if they really work. Even the simplest things like power windows, rear view mirrors, headlights, audio. Seriously, every little thing, because later you lose money with it if you don’t pay attention. With Carvertical, you can query all the original extra equipment that the car has based on the chassis number, so you can easily check the entire list. Or it may turn out that the seller false promised something.


Checking the tires’ condition

Many people forget this, though I believe in safe traffic. The condition of the tires is an important consideration for me. There is a small centimeter measuring tool to measure the tread depth (standard thickness). The scale on the device tells you what condition the tire is in. Such a small detail but it still matters.

wheel tester

wheel tester

Don’t be lazy to look under the car

Oh yes! From the outside, everything looks nice, but the bottom is… Rusty exhaust pipe, worn shock absorber, rusty sill and dusty lifting point, oil leak. Are you sure you want these problems? I'm sure not. Either look under the car in overalls or look under with a phone or a mirror as much as possible.

Rusty exhaust

Test drive

Listen to sounds and movement. If the car is swaying or the running is unsure? Then there may be some problem with the suspension. If it is too loud, there may be a problem with the muffler. If the power is also unsure, sometimes twitching, there may be a problem with the engine or the exhaust pipe. Trust your guts and pay attention to every detail.

Test drive

Seller’s reactions

The seller's reaction can also tell the truth. If they are phlegmatic or arrogant then you should avoid them and the car as well. If they don’t let you look at things in/under the car then it is also suspicious. If you see on their facial expressions that your detailed questions bothering them or the use of tools, possibly the Carvertical report, then there are chances that they want to hide something from you.


Be on the lookout and find the used car of your dreams. Be prepared, gather as much information as possible about the car, and review everything. It is in your best interest to get the best for your money and not be scammed. Use the Carvertical app and get the diagnostic tools so you can be prepared to make your choice. Good luck!

Some used car search sites I usually use:

If you might like to DIY in the garage too, I recommend the Hynes installation instructions:

Car parts webshop:

Dave's Opinion
Hello, I'm Dave!

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