The time has come for you to buy the used Toyota of your dreams. You have done your research, decided on a suitable Toyota model range and acceptable mileage and now you are scouring the web and phoning around for the best second-hand deals.
On popular used Toyota models, such as the Toyota Corolla, Toyota Hilux, Toyota Fortuner and Toyota Etios, you may find many different options to choose from. But how do you decide and what should you look out for when you find a few Toyota used cars that fit your budget?
In recent articles we discussed the mechanical signs that you should look out for when shopping for second hand cars. Here, we will discuss the cosmetic cues that you should look out for when buying a second-hand Toyota.
Shine a light on it
When inspecting your prospective Toyota, make sure to do it where you have ample light. This will help you to inspect the paintwork, the shut lines on the doors, the fitment of the body panels, the windscreen and the other vehicle glass.
At your local Automark dealership, the team will usually inspect every vehicle that they receive under bright lights or direct sunlight. This means that you can trust that your Automark sales advisor will have had a good look at the car that you are interested in.
If you want to buy the vehicle privately and the seller only wants meet you at dusk or after hours, make sure to bring a bright torch or insist on seeing the vehicle in daylight.
The do’s and don’ts of dings and dents
When you have a look at your prospective purchase, you can expect to see the normal signs of wear and tear on the bodywork and glass.
This may include small chips, dings or dents in the bodywork of the vehicle or small chips in the windscreen. It is completely normal for cars to have a few small chips or dings from shopping trolleys in malls or the door from an inconsiderate driver in the next parking bay.
At Automark, the team will make every effort to remove the most perceptible dings and dents from the vehicle. They will share with you what they have done, and you can also discuss the possibility of further cosmetic repairs if you decide to buy the vehicle.
What should not be on any car that you inspect, is structural damage or poor workmanship. Tell-tale signs of poor repairs or bigger damage to a vehicle include doors and body panels that are skew or misaligned, paint that is poorly applied or even show signs that it has run before it dried.
You can often find signs of poor repair work on a vehicle by looking underneath a car for paint that has spilled on unpainted areas, such as the chassis or on the door rubber seals. Also look at the unpainted areas in the engine compartment for signs of paint overspray, which most likely happened when the vehicle was repaired.
If you are busy inspecting your used Toyota for purchase, you should also look for paint colours that does not match. This may be a sign that the vehicle has been poorly repaired and that the repaired did not do a good job of matching the new paint to the existing paint.
If you buy your vehicle from Automark, an Automark representative will share with you if your prospective Toyota has been in an accident. This should not discourage you from buying it, provided that the repairs to that Toyota has been done well and by an approved Toyota Repair Centre.
Interior wear and tear
We all have a friend that seem to be extra-hard on their car. From slamming the doors too hard to leaving empty takeaway packaging in the car for ages, these owners are also the most likely to skip a service, abuse the car or simply not take good care of it.
So, when you look around at used Toyotas or you have a specific pre-owned Toyota model in mind, have a look at the interior of the car. While all used vehicles have wear and tear, it should be appropriate for the age of the vehicle and the number of kilometres that the vehicle has travelled.
When you inspect the interior, look for tears or cigarette burn marks on the upholstery. Are there scratches on the plastic dashboard? Is it more evident than it should be in a car of this age?
You should also have a look at the vehicle carpets and see if they are perhaps more worn than you would expect. Are the edges curling around and what is the state of the upholstery around the carpets?
Glass, and while you are at it, wipers
When you have a look at that second-hand Toyota of your dreams, don’t forget to inspect the windows for chips and damage.
It is completely acceptable for a vehicle such as a used Toyota to have very small chips and abrasions from many kilometres on the road, but larger chips should have been repaired to prevent it from cracking later.
Also make sure to inspect the rubber mouldings around the windscreen. The windscreen, especially in safe car like a Toyota, works to not only keep flying objects out of the cabin but also to contain the explosion of an airbag. This helps to make sure that the Toyota airbag does what it is intended to do – to save your life in an accident.
If the previous owner has replaced the windscreen, but did a poor job of it, then you will see it in the uneven moulding of the epoxy around the windscreen. Make sure to look out for it!
And while you are staring at the glass, lift the windscreen wipers and inspect the state of the wiper blades. Make sure they are not cracked or torn.
Trust the Automark team
Your local Automark specialist will tell you that it is often the small signs of wear and tear on a Toyota that tell you a lot about the general condition of the vehicle and what is happening in the engine compartment. If you find a Toyota that is in good cosmetic shape, the chances are that it is also in good mechanical shape.
Every Toyota used vehicle specialist at Automark has been specifically trained to inspect used vehicles, find signs of damage or repair and make a good judgement about the quality of the vehicle.
That is why it makes sense to buy your next used Toyota at an Automark dealership. Not only do they specialise in used Toyotas, but they will have inspected every Toyota personally and they will help you make an informed choice!