Checking a new car at the showroom like a pro

Checking a new car at the showroom like a pro

Checking Paintwork

From the very beginning, thoroughly inspect the car from all sides at different angles. This approach will allow you to see dents on the body or heterogeneity of the paintwork (LCP). Any of these defects are direct evidence of mechanical damage to the body part.

Suppose the manager assures that such an effect is observed due to the peculiarities of the lighting or for other reasons. Likely, he is just trying to mislead you, and the car’s body already had a dent most of all. To be sure of this finally, use a thickness gauge. Then, try it on paintwork on different body parts.

The permissible difference in the thickness of the factory paint should not exceed 10 microns. Therefore, if any of the parts were repainted, its indicators would differ from the numbers obtained when checking other elements of the car almost a couple of times. In addition, when checking the thickness of the paintwork on such a part, the indicators of the device will differ by tens or even hundreds of microns.

Body condition analysis

After working with the thickness gauge and making sure that the paintwork of the car is in order, proceed to the next steps of the check, namely:

● Measure the clearances between body parts. If the slots are uneven, this body element is not installed at the factory but manually. This means that earlier, such a part was damaged and removed for repair or was replaced with a new one.


● Check the absence of backlash and squeaks. To do this, open and gently close all doors, the hood and trunk lids one by one. If the salon staff likely removed any element, it is not installed ideally, noticeable when using it.


● Pay attention to the sealed seams. They must be uniform and perfectly flat. Such a seam can only be made in the factory. If any of them differs in color or is done inaccurately, it was applied by hand outside the factory that is assembling the model.


● Examine the bolts on the body. When assembled at the factory, they are usually painted in body color. If you find that one part is screwed on with unpainted bolts, and all the rest are painted, then this element of the car was not installed at the factory.

Also, pay attention to the optics. The headlights must be perfectly level and free from cracks. Next, examine the bumpers and skirts of the car. There should be no scratches, chips or other damage at the bottom of them. Finally, none of the car doors should protrude beyond the body or be skewed. Only in the absence of all the listed defects can you be sure that the car is not everyday life and is fully assembled at the factory.

Checking external assemblies, components, and consumables

First, make sure that all the equipment and options you ordered are installed on the car. It is better to check the availability of systems and components against a pre-prepared list. This way, you will not miss anything. If something is missing from the list, ask to install this equipment immediately. Next, inspect the following elements of the car:

● Wheels. Would you please pay attention to their diameter, as well as the quality and condition of the tires? They must be new. Now you need a pressure gauge. Tire pressure must correspond to the indicator specified in the car’s manual. Typically, the rate is around 2.2 atmospheres.


● Optics. Ask the manager to turn on the low beam, high beam, headlights, and daytime running lights one by one. Inspect the front and rear lights when operating in each mode.


● Locks. Test the operation of the central locking system, lock and open the car doors, hood and trunk one by one. Make sure they all work correctly.

Pro-tip: Before walking into a showroom, ensure you know the basics of tires. You should also know what kind of tires you want. For example, light commercial vehicle tires, or SUV tires, etc.

Then look under the hood. Pay attention to the quality of the fastening of the battery terminals and the date of manufacture of this unit. It must coincide with the year of manufacture of the car itself. Inspect hoses and connections for integrity and leakage. Check the oil level in the engine, gearbox, the presence of brake, windscreen, coolant, etc. All containers and units must be filled with working substances within normal limits. If you notice that the liquid has been underfilled or poured more than necessary, ask to put it in order.

What to do if defects are found?

If you find non-critical damage, you have the right to demand a discount from the salon. As practice shows, persistent buyers manage to reduce the price of a new car by 20% in such cases. If the managers refuse to discount, or you do not want to buy such a car, ask for another vehicle. In case of critical breakdowns or damages, a discount is out of the question. Ask to be shown the vehicle.

Do not hesitate to be picky when buying a car. Feel free to ask the manager not to interfere with your inspection, especially if you notice that he is trying to distract you. When inspecting the body, generally ask the employee to move away from the car since he may try to cover up the defect. Perseverance, confidence, and meticulousness will be decisive factors in the analysis of the condition of the vehicle.

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